Interview – John C. Reilly – His Joy of Acting

Posted: September 29, 2009 in ACTORS, INTERVIEWS

Fantastic Fest Interview: John C. Reilly

by Kevin Kelly Sep 29th 2009 // 8:32PM

Filed under: Fantastic Fest, Interviews

John C. Reilly is one of my most favorite actors working today. It’s to the point that I’ll watch a mediocre film just to see his performance in it. Case in point: Step Brothers. Not that it was a completely terrible movie, but I didn’t love it. However, Reilly does some subtle things in it that just kill me. His added “Boats and Hoes” lyric during Will Ferrell’s heartfelt song in the climax was one of the funniest moments in the movie. Then there’s his brilliant understated role in The Promotion, a film that needs more attention.

But I digress. I met with Reilly after a screening of Fantastic Fest’s premiere of Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, in which he plays Larten Crepsley, a 200+ year old vampire. He’s seen a lot during his lifetime, and he has a jaded outlook on it all. Find out what drew Reilly to the role in the full interview beyond the break, where he also talks about other roles he’d like to take on.

Cinematical: So, you’ve been in a bunch of movies. You were saying you’ve done over 50 movies and not many comedies, and lately you’ve done several.

John C. Reilly: Well, that is what they want to make you know. For some reason it has gotten very popular with studios.

But you have been really good at it. Do you think it is your improv background or do you just take to it naturally?

I guess so. I often played funny parts in serious movies, you know, like kind of comic relief in different things. I don’t know. To me, acting is acting. When the circumstances are ridiculous, then you are in comedy. But in terms of what I do as an actor, it is pretty similar from movie to movie.

You have done period stuff, like for Martin Scorsese, where you have to be in costume. But this is a pretty elaborate costume, the wig, the clothing, the latex.

There was no latex.

There was no latex? Those scars are real?

Oh, the scars. Yeah, I don’t wear those the whole time. Those were latex, sorry.

Is that your biggest transformative role that you have … I mean clothing wise, wardrobe wise that you have been in?

Gangs of New York was a similar level of artifice, I guess. Yeah, I am one of those people who is not very patient in the makeup chair. I have been offered movies like Planet of the Apes and stuff like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and I turned them down.

To be the Grinch?

No, not to be the Grinch. It was one of the Whoville people. But I thought like I would never be able to do it. I could never come in at four in the morning … even on this movie and Marvel. I said to Mike, “I don’t know how you do it, getting here at 3:30 or four in the morning and just sitting for hours and hours and hours.” I would go crazy, literally. There are just too many ants in my pants for that.

What drew you to the role? It is pretty different from what we have seen you play normally.

What drew me to the role was the fact that it was a real person, that he wasn’t some supernatural mystical being that can turn into a vampire bat. The powers weren’t so extreme that it was just another thing altogether, that this guy was a person who was alive in the 1800’s who was essentially about my age. If you account the slow aging, he is forty something years old.

And he was 20 when he has turned to a vampire.

Yeah. So I am like a 40-year-old who has been alive for 250 years or whatever. So that was interesting. And like I said in the earlier roundtable, what that would do to your world view. You must have had really thrilling runs there. And then other times when it was just very dark. You almost wish you were dead.

You do find yourself wanting to know more about Crepsley because you know he has love lost and he is jaded about the world a little bit.

Yeah. I just thought there was a lot of room for interesting character stuff. The books are very plot heavy. And in terms of character detail, a lot of it you just kind of fill in. It says he has a shock of orange hair and that is it. There are no pictures and it doesn’t say exactly.

You said at the theater you read all 12 of the books. So did your agent come to you with this or had you heard about the books before?

No, I hadn’t heard of the books before. My kids are younger, so they weren’t reading these books. But I just read the script, met Paul, [Weitz] and we talked about it. And then I really started to think about the character. And the more I thought about it, the more I thought, “Well it would really be a very interesting guy to play.”

And if these continue, would you be back?

Yeah. I am contractually bound to be back. I really hope it does happen because there are some really exciting parts of these books yet to come. They go on these wild adventures. And once the War of the Scars is reignited between the two vampire clans, it really gets intense in the books, and Darren has to go off and be trained properly to be a real vampire warrior. There is a lot of cool stuff. There are some other really interesting characters that come in. And then Darren has to deal with what it is to be a vampire and go through some of the same heartbreak that Crepsley has been through. And you realize, “Um, if I don’t make this person a vampire too and curse them with this, then I am going to lose them pretty quick.”

Well tell us about the other stuff you are working on. I know you are in The Extra Man. Have you guys filmed that already? Is that done?

Yeah, that is done. They are editing it now. That is with Kevin Klein and Paul Dano. It is based on a novel by Jonathan Ames called The Extra Man about guys that have scored rich old ladies at functions in New York. There is this whole strange new sub-culture there. And then I made a movie with the Duplass Brothers, Mark and Jay Duplass, who did The Puffy Chair. So yeah. That doesn’t have a title yet. That is with Jonah Hill and Marisa Tomei. That will probably come out sometime in January.

A comedy I am guessing?

Yeah. It is kind of a romantic comedy, but a weird one, too.

What do you do onstage at Largo in Los Angeles? You were putting together a big show at one point.

That I think was a variety show that we were putting together that we ended up not doing. We tried more of a production than we were able to pull together at the time. Yeah, it is still something … I am going to be performing music there probably sometime in October.

You perform songs?

Yeah. I know a lot of the musicians that come through Largo. Fiona Apple, Jon Brion, and people like that. Yeah. It is really a special place.

What roles have you not played yet? Is there anything you are still yearning to do? Dramatic? An action role?

I would love to do a western. I would love to play an explorer. That is always something that has really captured my imagination since I was a kid, like James Cook or Magellan or Earnest Shackleton. I have been on kind of an adventure reading jag. There is a great book called The Lost City of Z that is about Colonel Percy Fawcett, and he is looking for El Dorado in the rainforest, the Amazon. Shackleton’s adventures down in the South Pole. I have been reading a lot of stuff like that.

You have kids that are younger. Do you spend a lot of time in their world with their entertainment? What kind of things are they into?

Well it changes as they grow. But lately Harry Potter has been pretty big.

Are they excited that dad is playing a vampire in a movie coming up?

Yeah. They are excited about everything that I am doing.

So tell me more about The Extra Man. It’s a comedy?

Yeah, it is kind of a dark comedy. But yeah, it is a comedy. It is kind of like a Harold and Maude but with two men. Paul and Kevin play these kind of escort guys and I play this crazy eccentric character who lives in Kevin’s building. I am not an escort.

Do you plan to go back to drama anytime?

Well the Duplass Brothers movie is pretty dramatic. There are definitely some serious drama scenes in there. It is like there is funny stuff, but it is more situationally funny. It is not like Step Brothers or whatever. I didn’t make a conscious choice just to do comedy, just like I didn’t make a conscious choice to do any other kind of movie before that. It is just what comes your way, what opportunities you are offered, and what the studios think is a profitable kind of movie to make.

So I am open to whatever. I just like surprising people. I never want to get to a place where people see that I am in a movie and they go see the movie and they expect a certain performance one way or the other. That is just inherently boring to me. I think it is best when people come and they are like, “What is this going to be about?” Like you have no idea and you are surprised by the story. I am not really the kind of actor who plays himself over and over again.

Do you still do stage work? Do you have time for that?

Yeah. I am trying to put something together right now for the spring in New York. It is a tough time for theater right now because of the economy.

Do you write at all?

Yeah. I have a lot of ideas that I have written for stories. I was very involved in the writing of Step Brothers just because Adam and Will drew me into that. If I ever really get sick of acting, I think that is the next thing I would do is write some things and try to direct some things. It just sort of comes with the job. After you have been making movies so long you just start to see like, “Oh, that is how you do this, and this would be a better way to do this or that.” You start to pick up on the job training.

Your dad ran a textile company when you were younger?

He ran an industrial linen supply company, yeah.

If you didn’t go into the entertainment field, what do you think you would have ended up doing? Was there some other direction you were going?

You know, actually acting turned out to be the perfect job for me, because I had a lot of different interests. I thought about being a priest at one point. I thought about being a teacher. I thought about being a lawyer. But I think acting is probably the best job for me.

Well yeah, because now you get to be all those things from time to time.

Yeah. Exactly. You get to do it for six months, and then when it starts to get boring, move on.

So, what was it like kissing Salma Hayek?

Very soft. She is really, really nice. Actresses that beautiful tend to be kind of a handful. And Salma was so down to earth and really lovely. And you know, whatever. I am not like Brad Pitt in the looks department. So I was like, “I hope you don’t mind me kissing you …” And she was really nice about it. And she made me feel attractive. She was a really wonderful person to hang out with.

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant hits theaters on October 23.

Posted via web from MovieDriver – posterous

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