Things I’ve Learned: John C. Reilly

With the release of Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, actor John C. Reilly gives his advice to how he has remained so down-to-earth all these years later.

I don’t give a lot of thought or energy to awards. I went so long without any attention at all from those sorts of things that I learned to get my self-confidence and support from other places.

Shoes and costume are a quick shortcut to feeling like the character. They affect how you’re attached to the earth [and] make you feel a certain way; it’s a quick shortcut to what’s essential about the character. In the course of finding the shoes for the guy, what you’re really doing is forcing yourself to focus on the essence of the character.

Generally, an actor’s life is haphazard; you’re looking for the best job going at the time you’re ready to go to work.

How fucking boring would it be to sit at home and watch movies that you were in? That said, early on, you can learn a lot. You can train yourself by watching yourself, and it’s cool getting to see the big picture after having focused so tightly on what you were doing. I always get a splitting tension headache watching myself the first time in a movie.

The most political thing you can do is be the best you can at your job and choose things that reflect your beliefs, that’s how you’ll be the most effective. Every now and then, if there’s something that my participation will give a bounce to, then I’ll do that.

I try to cobble together some semblance of a normal life as an antidote for this lifestyle. You need to go places where every answer’s not “yes.” The business tends to infantilize you a little bit—you’re told where to be, what to do; you’re given your food. I need to temper that with doing my own dishes for a while.

Every actor thinks “There’s no one in the world like me who acts like me,” and you want your work to reflect that.

If you take parts that are the same as other stuff you’ve done, then you’ve only got yourself to blame. It takes a lot of confidence and stamina to say no to things when you want to be working. Ultimately, though, it pays off. MM

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.