Watch our interview with the Cyrus actor

There’s so much to like about John Christopher Reilly.


There’s the sterling work, of course, Reilly making such special early outings as What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993), Boogie Nights (’97) and Magnolia (’99) all the more special. Reilly also took pretty decent offerings – 2002’s The Good Girl, Chicago, The Hours and Gangs Of New York; 2004’s Criminal and The Aviator; 2006’s A Prairie Home Companion – made them pretty near special too.

It was when this critically-acclaimed dramatic character turned his hand to balls-out-on-the-cymbal comedy though that John C. Reilly really began to register with the great unwashed. His loyal companion, Cal Naughton Jr., to Will Ferrell’s racing chump in Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby (’06). His thinly-veiled Johnny Cash troubled country star in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (’07). His childish step-brother to Ferrell’s childish step-brother in, eh, Step Brothers (’08). The man knows how to do funny. He just has to look like he’s not quite sure what his next line is.

“That is my technique, right there,” laughs the 45-year old Chicago-born Reilly. “It’s all in the face. After all my years of training, of doing my time in theatre, in support slots in movie after movie, I finally figured how to get my face on the poster. Look as dumb as possible.”

Having a face so Irish that it would make John Hinde swoon helps too, of course, and Reilly puts it to good use in Cyrus, playing sweet-natured John, the would-be suitor to hot mama Marisa Tomei’s Molly. The comedy comes into in the rather rotund shape of Molly’s son, Cyrus, who isn’t too crazy about having another man around the house.