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John C. Reilly

"Finding His Inner Good Guy"

John C. Reilly is equally adapt at comedies like Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox, and Step Brothers and dramas like Gangs Of New York, Chicago, which garnered him a Best Supporting Oscar nomination, and The Hours. Now Reilly takes his talents to the animated realm as the titular character in the Disney film Wreck-It Ralph.

It was mentioned that this wasn’t the first time John has done voiceover work.

“Not quite like this, not at the scale of this, but yeah, I was in a movie called Nine, that was kind of a post-apocalyptic story for like older audiences,” he recalls, “Actually, Jack Black and once recorded a whole animated movie on spec.”

“They were just trying to get the money together.” Reilly adds, “And all the characters were designed and everything, and the script was written, but yeah, and then it went nowhere. But it’s still recorded out there somewhere.”

Reilly talks about how he was involved with the film early on and work with the animation team.

“[Director] Rich Moore was really nice that way,” Reilly says, “He really included me in a collaborative way as a director, got me to come into story meetings and you know, solicited my ideas. Not that any of them are used, no, some of them, some of them were. And he really encouraged me to take a personal approach with the character and improvise a lot.”

“And I encouraged him to have the other actors in the recording studio, which I guess is not such a common thing with animated movie,” he continues, “Usually you record separately and then they splice it all together. But I thought, with someone like Sarah Silverman or Jack McBrayer or Jane Lynch, like those guys are really nimble improvisers and very witty people so we’d be able to throw some stuff back and forth, and yeah, definitely.”

Reilly was asked how he managed to maintain the balance of keeping

john_c_reilly-wreck_it_ralph-1

John C. Reilly

"Finding His Inner Good Guy"

the film engaging and funny for adults while appealing to children at the same time.

“It wasn’t really my balance to maintain,” he says, “But I don’t know, I think you’d be surprised at what kids understand. I mean, I brought a bunch of kids to the movie the other night and they saw that meeting, which I was concerned actually, when I saw that in the script, because it wasn’t in the original script, I thought, Oh, gosh, like, do we really want to go to this 12 Step place with kids? Isn’t that like a little bit, you know, adult for kids?”

“And they’re like, ‘No, no, it’ll work. It’ll be great.,’” John adds, “And the kids see that almost like counsel circle at school where we sit around and my wife pointed out something to me this morning, she’s like, “It’s so funny when Ralph goes to the party, he’s not invited, and then he comes in and then he makes a mess of it, like as soon as he walks in.’ And she said, like, “Little kids can really relate to that, because it’s like you’re trying hard not to break something and then you make a mistake, or you lose your temper and you’re just trying to…’ You know, it’s such a precarious balance as a kid, keeping yourself in control and being able to handle things or not mess stuff up, and then the regret of messing stuff up, and I don’t know, it seems to be working for all audiences, which I’m sure the marketing department is just over the moon about.”

Wreck-It Ralph tells the story of the title character, a villain of a 1982 video arcade game called Fix-It Felix Jr. who becomes bored with his job, so he escapes from his game world to become a hero in other ones, unintentionally causing chaos to the natural order of things. John talks about what made him want to

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John C. Reilly

"Finding His Inner Good Guy"

do the film.

“The script?” Reilly replies, “I don’t know, it was just the chance – I mean, let’s face it, it’s not like every day someone’s coming to me, saying, ‘Oh, do you want to play the lead in a Disney animated film?’ You know? So just the pedigree of the studio and Rich’s work, he did The Simpsons and he worked on Futurama, like I knew he was a really talented guy. Phil Johnston, who wrote the script, he and I had just worked together on Cedar Rapids, and he’s another Midwestern guy like me, so I knew, like, we were going to be able to work together in a great way. It took me a little while to sign on. Even having said all that, it took me a little while to sign on, because I wanted to make sure I was going to really be able to believe in the project, and be able to really put my heart into it, instead of just kind of plugging in, like a hired hand kind of thing,. I’ve been offered a lot of animation in the past and it just seemed really kind of like a boring day at work, actually. You go in, a lot of times they don’t even give you the whole script, they’re like, ‘Yeah, just read this page. Don’t worry.’ Like ‘Faster,’ ‘Slower,’ ‘Okay, now a funny one.’ And then you go home and all the creative part is done without you there. And you don’t get to meet the other actors, and all this stuff, so I passed on a lot of stuff over the years.”

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