John C. Reilly is unmistakably unique as a talent, but at the same time he is the perfect everyman as a character. Going from dramatic roles into musicals and comedies, Reilly seems to be able to handle whatever a script can throw at him and do it in a way that is compelling and relatable. It’s no different for his latest turn in the sweetly awkward romantic comedy, “Cyrus” in which he competes against his girlfriend’s 21-year-old son for her affections.
Sitting down to chat about the film, Reilly had no shortage of ideas about what’s funny and why America needs comedies.
In ‘Cyrus’ you play a divorcee who is in a self-proclaimed death spiral. He’s tragic yet hilarious at the same time. How do you balance the two?
One depends on the other really, doesn’t it? In order to get people to feel sadness you sort of have to get them to laugh a little bit. A lot of laughter in the movie comes from recognition like, “Oh my God, I was at the breakfast table with my mom’s new boyfriend. That was weird.”
How was it working opposite Jonah Hill?
Jonah’s a real rascal. He’s really clever and a super intelligent actor. A lot of his comedy comes from calling out what’s really happening in a room. Like, “Dude, your beard looks like a vagina.”
The last few movies you’ve made have been comedies. Is there a specific reason for that?
Studios want to make comedies right now for the most part. And that’s what audiences want to see. I think it’s because there’s so much horrible news. There’s so much anxiety in the air. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to escape or laugh.