Friday, June 11, 2010
How great was it that PFS got John C. Reilly to come to the preview screening of his film Cyrus – Really great!
The screening was packed with PFS members who are fans of Reilly’s work and Reilly was laid back with good quips for the audience at the Q & A following the film. (read Q&A highlights below)
I had seen a trailer for Cyrus, but hadn’t read any reviews from Sundance. The trailer led me to believe it was a total comedy, maybe not as broad as Step Brothers, but close. If you’re looking for that type of movie, then you’ll be disappointed in Cyrus, but if you are looking for something much more real and relatable, then you’ll feel like me, pleasantly surprised.
John C. Reilly plays John, a guy in his 40’s who is just mediocre; he even describes himself as Shrek, which is so on target. And as Shrek found his Fiona, John finds Molly (Marisa Tomei) and although Molly stays a sexy, adorable “princess”, not an “ogre” in disguise; she still falls for Shrek/John. And there’s wonderful chemistry between them. Really, even to the point where you could actually picture John C. Reilly and Marisa Tomei being together in real life. But come to think of it, she also had good chemistry with Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler, so I suppose one day she’ll be honored for her body of work, and they’ll say, she showed an amazing talent for portraying women turned on by cartoon-faced men.
Anyway, their romance has only one hitch, a big fat hitch named Cyrus (Jonah Hill), Molly’s 21 year old son that makes Oedipus look like a mere Mama’s boy. He acts like he’s cool with his mother’s new relationship to her face, but despises John when Molly’s not around.
I make light in my description of the plot, but in actuality it’s a thoughtful movie, a snap shot of life. Plenty of women have dedicated their lives to a child or children; and 20 years later find themselves still vital, sexy and ready to date now that their children are grown. Yet, these "grown children" act like babies at the thought of their parent moving on and having a sex life.
Catherine Keener’s role as John’s ex-wife and best friend is bland. Keener played this same type of character in The Soloist with Robert Downey, Jr. ; the toss away aspect of these roles, do Keener a disservice.
Otherwise, I felt the character’s conversations were very natural; which we later found out during the Q&A, that the Duplass Brothers, (director/writers) wrote a lose script and instructed the actors to improvise most of the dialogue. By the way, these are the same filmmakers of Baghead, a unique film to rent if you haven’t yet seen it.
Q: Was Marisa Tomei really that hot in real life? (asked by a woman)
Reilly: Yeees, She’s really hot, I saw her naked body and she saw mine, unfortunately, she’s still recovering.
Q: How long did the little Niagara scene take to film in The River Wild?
Reilly: Wow, your getting very specific, that movie was… I don’t remember how long that scene in particular took, but it was ridiculous how long we spent on the water, they had to helicopter everything in cause the gag of the movie was the canyon would not let us out… but who cares about River Wild, bless your heart, let’s talk about Cyrus.
Q: How does your taste as an actor differ from your taste as an audience member? And do you prefer scripted to improvisation?
Reilly: My tastes tend towards salty. (laugh) I like a lot of documentaries that’s where I feel you learn about the human condition. (some favorites: Food Inc, Grizzly Man, The White Diamond, Stevie)
Reilly cont: In terms of whether I prefer improvisation or not, depends on how well the script is written. If it’s a great script then you don’t need to improvise. This one was crazy, it’s almost all improvised. The script was written, and it was a really great script; the Duplass Brothers worked really hard on it. Then we got to the set and they said, we don’t want to rehearse and we would really like to use the first take of everything you do and we want you to forget the script and not use the dialogue that we’ve written. So we used the script as a kinda blueprint and we kinda just felt our way through the scenes as we got to know the characters and each other better. And so yeah, 90% of what you see is the first take and improvised.
Q: Did that require a lot of conversations between you guys before you got in front of the camera?
Reilly: No. They were very adverse to that. At times, I’d be like, what do you want exactly? And they’d say – just go with your instincts. And I’d feel like, my instinct is to go with what you want. But umm it was a challenge, and at times very uncomfortable, but I’m really glad they insisted working that way, because that’s how they made The Puffy Chair and Baghead.
Q: How was working with Jonah and Marisa?
Reilly: It was really fun, I know Jonah, he had a small part in Walk Hard. (loud clapping from audience) Reilly cont: Apparently a lot of people really love Cox. For those of you who didn’t see the movie, I’m not being dirty, that’s the character’s name.
Marisa and I, we only met one time, and we shot this movie in order, so as you see me getting to know Marisa in the movie, that was really me getting to know Marisa. So I felt really lucky to have that organic process, what you see is what you get.
Q: Can I offer you a Smirnoff Ice?
Reilly: Yeah sure, does it have like jungle juice in it or something? Is this a promotion? Did Smirnoff pay you to come up here?
Q: No. It’s a huge thing going across the country in colleges.
Reilly: Sounds like a promotion, but thanks, I’ll drink it later, it’s a little warm.
Q: Who wrote the music that the character Cyrus was supposed to have written in the film?
Reilly: Mike Andrews. He’s a brilliant musician and song writer who wrote music for Donnie Darko and all the music for Walk Hard.
Q: I really related to Cyrus, this is my life, this is the story of my life.
Reilly: I came from a family of 6 kids, so I ran screaming and running out of the house by the time I turned 18, so it’s tough for me to relate to Cyrus’ experience. But the movie has appeal for a lot of different people. Older people do relate to bringing a sexual partner into the house with children at home. (audience silence) it got real quiet (laughter). And younger people, well, I asked this guy who was driving us around at Sundance what he thought of the movie and this guy said: “There were many times when I came home from college and my Mom would be dating some dude and it was really awkward. First I wanted to pretend it wasn’t happening cause you don’t want to imagine your mom having sex with anyone, and secondly, I didn’t know if the relationship was going to last, so should I be nice to the guy?” So anyway, it struck a chord with him and I’m glad it struck a chord with you.
Q: Have you heard Paul F. Tompkin’s impression of you?
Reilly: I’m friends with or thought I was friends with Paul Tompkins and I have not heard this alleged impression. But very few people do an accurate impression of me, Leo DiCaprio is the only one I’ve ever heard really nail me, and he did it when he was 17 years old! (pretend outrage) I was like, How dare you, rats! I’ll hear Paul’s impression of me when he has the guts to do it to my face.
Q: How do you choose a script?
Reilly: Do you have a script that you’d like me to read? Is that where this is going? Are you about to ice me bro? (laughter)
Reilly cont: I usually look for something I haven’t done before, I try to surprise people, try to do something different than the last thing I did and try to work with people that seem really inspired and enthusiastic about what they want to do, cause then your in good hands.