John C. Reilly Speaks About What He Looks For In a Script

It’s difficult to find many acting stars with a resume as varied as John C. Reilly.

Though most recognizable by the average moviegoer for his comedic appearances in the Will Ferrell comedies Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Step Brothers, and numerous Funny Or Die clips, Reilly has received most of his praise for his more serious roles in films like Boogie Nights, Hard Eight, Cyrus, and Terri, the latter of which recently opened on July 1.

With such a broad range of films Reilly has to have a unique selection process, which he spoke about in a recent interview about Terri with Gothamist.

“You pretty much go by instinct when you’re reading a script, whether it grabs you or not,” Reilly explains about choosing his next role. “If it seems like the dialogue is written in such a way that it sounds like people actually talking as opposed to screenwriters doing exposition about what’s supposed to happen in the story. It’s a knack not everyone has, but it’s the first thing you look for. That the dialogue seems believable, if it seems like something that will be a challenge, if it’s something different than what I’ve done before. Just trying to keep mixing it up so that people don’t see it coming, you know?”
Curiously though, it’s not just realistic dialogue that Reilly looks for — which is surprising because of his hilarious ability to adlib, as seen in the outtakes of his Will Ferrell comedies — but also a particular piece of costuming: the shoes.  Reilly goes on to add, “The clothes make the man to a certain degree. At least I feel the clothes have a lot to do with the performance.”  I’d assume the prepubescent clothing of Reilly’s character in Step Brothers really helped him get into character, then!

Terri, which first appeared earlier this year at a number of film festivals including Sundance, is currently playing in New York City and Los Angeles area theaters.

For more on Terri, check out our interview with the director, Azazel Jacobs!

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