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John Christopher Reilly (born May 24, 1965)[1][2] is an American actor, comedian, singer, screenwriter, and producer. He made his film debut in Brian De Palma's war film Casualties of War (1989). He then gained exposure through his supporting roles in Days of Thunder (1990), What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), and The River Wild (1994). Reilly collaborated with Paul Thomas Anderson on the crime thriller Hard Eight (1996), and the dramas Boogie Nights (1997) and Magnolia (1999). For his performance in Chicago (2002), Reilly was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and the corresponding Golden Globe Award. He worked with director Martin Scorsese on both Gangs of New York (2002) and The Aviator (2004).

John C. Reilly
JohnCReillyJune09.jpg
Reilly at the 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival premiere of Ponyo
Born John Christopher Reilly
(1965-05-24) May 24, 1965 (age 52)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Alma mater DePaul University
Occupation Actor, comedian, singer, screenwriter, producer
Years active 1989–present
Spouse(s) Alison Dickey (m. 1992)
Children 2

In 2007, he starred in the comedy Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, garnering him a Grammy Award nomination and a second Golden Globe Award nomination for the song performed in the film, "Walk Hard". Reilly starred with Will Ferrell in the Adam McKay-directed comedies Talladega Nights (2006) and Step Brothers (2008) He voiced the title character in the commercially successful animated film Wreck-It Ralph (2012), and appeared in the superhero film Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), as well as Sing (2016), and Kong: Skull Island (2017). Since 2010, Reilly has been starring in the television series Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule,[3] playing the titular character that originated on Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!.

Reilly performs with his band John Reilly and Friends and worked as a stage actor in True West (2000), for which he was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play.

Contents

Early life and educationEdit

Reilly was born in Chicago, Illinois,[2] the fifth of six children.[4] His father was of Irish and Scottish descent, and his mother was of Lithuanian ancestry.[4][5][6] His father ran an industrial linen supply company.[7][8] Reilly has described himself as being mischievous during his childhood, highlighting an event when he was 12 in which he and his friends stole 500 boxes of Sugar Corn Pops from a freight train.[9]

Reilly, though he no longer professes Catholicism,[10] was raised Roman Catholic[11] and attended Brother Rice High School.[12][13] He is an alumnus of DePaul University in Chicago.[4]

CareerEdit

1989–2003: Career beginnings and critical acclaimEdit

Reilly made his film debut in the Brian De Palma war film Casualties of War as PFC Herbert Hatcher in 1989.[14][15] Although his role was written as a small one, De Palma liked Reilly's performance so much that the role was significantly expanded.[16] He played Buck, Tom Cruise's character's NASCAR car chief in Tony Scott's Days of Thunder in June 1990.[17] That September, he played an Irish hoodlum named in the crime film State of Grace, which starred Sean Penn;[18] Reilly had previously appeared as a monk in the comedy We're No Angels (1989), which also starred Penn.[19] In 1992's Hoffa, Reilly played Jimmy Hoffa's (Jack Nicholson) associate who testifies against him at Hoffa's trial.[20] Reilly appeared in a supporting role in What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), playing one of the titular character's (played by Johnny Depp) friends.[21] His next role was in The River Wild (1994), in which Reilly appeared alongside Kevin Bacon as a pair of criminals who terrorise a family during a rafting trip.[22]

Reilly collaborated with filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson in his directorial debut Hard Eight (1996) as a man in need of $6,000 to pay for the burial of his mother who is taken under the wing of experienced gambler Sydney (Philip Baker Hall).[14][23] Reilly further collaborated with Anderson, playing pornographic actor Reed Rothchild in Boogie Nights (1997);[14] deeply religious police officer Jim Kurring, who falls in love with a drug addict in Magnolia (1999);[13][14] and a cameo in the music video for Fiona Apple's single "Across the Universe".[24] Terrence Malick's ensemble war film, The Thin Red Line (1998) featured Reilly in a supporting role that was written as a larger one, but much of his scenes were deleted along with many other cast members.[25] The following year, Reilly was cast in the romantic comedy Never Been Kissed, playing the role of Drew Barrymore's newspaper managing editor.[26] In Sam Raimi's sports drama For Love of the Game, released the same year, Reilly played fictional baseball catcher Gus Sinski.[27]

The box office hit The Perfect Storm was his only release of 2000 and featured Reilly as a veteran crew member on the Andrea Gail fishing vessel which was caught in the 1991 Perfect Storm.[28] In the Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming directed comedy The Anniversary Party (2001), he played director Mac Forsyth.[29] His first release of 2002 was Miguel Arteta's comedy-drama The Good Girl, in which Reilly played Jennifer Aniston's character's stoner husband who is treated unfaithfully by his wife with a younger man, played by Jake Gyllenhaal.[30] Later in the year, Reilly appeared in three of the year's Academy Award for Best Picture nominees: Chicago, Gangs of New York and The Hours. In Chicago, he played Amos Hart, Roxanne's (Renée Zellweger) trusting husband and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, as well as the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.[14][31][32] Zellweger remarked that "John is so often the best thing about the movies he's in".[33] Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York featured Reilly as corrupt 19th-century constable "Happy Jack" Mulraney, while Stephen Daldry's drama The Hours saw him play the husband to Julianne Moore's character.[33]

2004–2011: Transition to comedy and continued acclaimEdit

 
Reilly in February 2007

Reilly appeared in Martin Scorsese's 2004 Howard Hughes biopic, The Aviator, as Noah Dietrich, Howard Hughes' (Leonardo DiCaprio) trusted business partner. Of the role Reilly said, "Noah was almost a father figure to Hughes... Howard would have a scheme, and it was Noah who had to say, 'We don't have the money.' He was one of his few friends."[34] He played the lead role in the crime film Criminal (2004), with Diego Luna and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Based on the Argentine film Nine Queens (2000), Stephen Holden of The New York Times felt that "John C. Reilly may be one of our finer character actors, but his portrayal of Richard Gaddis, a gimlet-eyed con man, in Criminal allows too many vestiges of the duped schlub of a husband he played in Chicago to leak into his performance."[35] Reilly reportedly quit the 2005 Lars von Trier film Manderlay to protest the on-set killing of a donkey.[36] His next role was in the Jennifer Connelly-led horror film Dark Water (2005) as the manager of a mysterious hotel.[37] Reilly co-starred in Adam McKay's comedy about NASCAR drivers entitled Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby in August 2006 as Cal Naughton Jr., the best friend and teammate of the title character, played by Will Ferrell.[13] The film was successful, grossing $163 million worldwide.[38] He appeared in Robert Altman's last film A Prairie Home Companion that same year,[39] in addition to making an uncredited cameo appearance in Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny as a Sasquatch.[40]

Reilly frequently appeared on the sketch comedy program Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! from 2007 to 2010 as inept doctor and television presenter Dr. Steve Brule. The role led to the spin-off series Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule, which has aired since 2010 and is written and produced by Reilly.[41] In 2007, Reilly starred as the title character in parody bio-pic Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, singing various songs, parodying Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and others.[42] He received two Golden Globe nominations, Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and Best Original Song for the film's title song "Walk Hard".[43] The next year, Reilly reunited with Ferrell to star in Step Brothers, playing middle-aged step brothers forced to live together.[44] Also that year, he was among the many notable actors to perform in the online political musical, Proposition 8 – The Musical,[45] voiced himself in The Simpsons episode "Any Given Sundance" and co-starred alongside Seann William Scott in The Promotion.[46][47] In 2009, he played vampire Larten Crepsley in the film Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant and voiced "5" in 9.[48][49] Reilly starred in the 2010 film Cyrus as a divorcé beginning a new relationship.[50] Reilly received a Satellite Award nomination for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and a Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead nomination for his critically acclaimed performance.[51][52]

In early 2011, Reilly collaborated with director Miguel Arteta for a second time with the comedy Cedar Rapids, starring Ed Helms. New York Daily News critic Elizabeth Weizxman considered Reilly a stand out in the film and he received an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male nomination.[53] Reilly co-starred alongside Ezra Miller and Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton in the British-American drama We Need to Talk About Kevin, based on the novel by Lionel Shriver. His character in the film was Franklin, the father of the troubled Kevin;[54] his performance was described as being "heartbreakingly sweet" by Slate critic Dana Stevens.[55] Next, he co-starred in the comedy-drama Terri alongside Jacob Wysocki, playing a school principal who takes an interest in a teenage misfit.[56] His last release of 2011 was Roman Polanski's black comedy-drama Carnage, which takes place mostly in a single apartment. It also starred Oscar-winners Jodie Foster as his wife, and Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz as another married couple who engage in a conflict after their children get into a fight.[57] Reilly was approached to appear in a production of the play it was based on, God of Carnage, but he couldn't fit it into his schedule and remarked "I think I’ve spent enough time in that apartment".[58]

2012–present: Blockbuster films and other rolesEdit

 
Reilly at the 2012 Comic-Con International in San Diego

Reilly voiced the title character in the 2012 Disney animated film Wreck-It Ralph,[59] which follows an arcade game villain who is determined to prove himself as the hero. Reilly made contributions to the film's script.[60] The film was positively received,[61] with Los Angeles Times writer Betsy Sharkey saying, "The movie's subversive sensibility and old-school/new-school feel are a total kick."[62] Wreck-It Ralph grossed over $471 million and a sequel titled Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 is in development for a November 2018 release.[63][64][65] Also that year, Reilly appeared in Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie as the dim-witted Taquito and made an uncredited cameo appearance in the comedy The Dictator, starring Sacha Baron Cohen.[66][67] He had a cameo in the 2013 comedy sequel Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, playing the ghost of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson in the film's fight scene.[68]

In 2014, Reilly narrated the nature documentary Bears.[69] He played Nova Corps corpsman Rhomann Dey in the Marvel Studios film Guardians of the Galaxy, released in August 2014.[70] Reilly began co-starring in the animated television series Stone Quackers on FXX in January 2015.[71] In addition to voicing the inept police officer Barry, Reilly also executive produced the series.[72][71] 2015 saw him appear in five films: the drama Entertainment;[73] Yorgos Lanthimos' comedy-drama The Lobster as Robert, a man with a lisp who is given 45 days to find a romantic partner or otherwise be turned into an animal;[74] the fantasy horror Tale of Tales, in which he played a king who tries to conceive a child with his queen–played by Salma Hayek–through an unconventional method,[75] and the English dub of the Studio Ghibli animated film When Marnie Was There.[76] Reilly also starred in and co-wrote the television special Bagboy, reprising his role as Dr. Steve Brule in a fictional television pilot for a sitcom created by Brule.[77] It aired on February 21, 2015, with Vanity Fair writer Melissa Locker saying "If you get it, the show is knockout hilarious, but truthfully, it is not for everyone and Reilly is O.K. with that."[78]

Reilly voiced a sheep in the ensemble cast of the computer-animated musical comedy Sing, which was released in December 2016.[79] Reilly appeared in the 2017 monster film reboot Kong: Skull Island, as Hank Marlow, a World War II lieutenant who has spent 28 years stranded on the titular island.[80][81] The actor, who described his character as "essentially a love-letter to Chicago", was singled out for praise for his performance out of what is generally considered to be an underwhelming ensemble cast.[82] Film critic Matt Zoller Seitz noted that Reilly "steals the film instantly and never gives it back" in playing the "wisecracking castaway", and Owen Gleiberman praised his performance for being "terrifically dry and sly" in what could have been a cliché character.[83][84]

Reilly will play Dr. Watson in a comedic adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes stories called Holmes and Watson in 2018; Will Ferrell will play Holmes.[85] He is expected to co-star with Steve Coogan in the biopic Stan and Ollie about the comic double act Laurel and Hardy, with Reilly portraying Oliver Hardy and Coogan portraying Stan Laurel.[86] He optioned the film rights for the Patrick deWitt Western novel The Sisters Brothers in 2011, with the intention of starring as hitman Eli Sisters.[87] By April 2016, Joaquin Phoenix was in talks to co-star in the film with Reilly as his brother Charlie, with Jacques Audiard on board as director and Reilly as a producer.[88] Production took place in the summer of 2017.[89]

MusicEdit

In 1998, Reilly appeared, along with Giovanni Ribisi and Winona Ryder, as Jon Spencer Blues Explosion in their video "Talk About The Blues".[90] In 2002, he played the role of Amos Hart, Roxie Hart's naïve husband, in the musical film Chicago. In 2006, he performed two songs on Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys: "Fathom the Bowl" and "My Son John".[91] In 2007, Reilly starred in the biopic parody Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. In addition to his acting role, he also performed as a vocalist and songwriter on the movie's soundtrack, for which he was nominated for a Grammy.[92] Reilly went on a concert performance tour in the US, performing as his character Dewey Cox in the Cox Across America 2007 Tour.[93]

In 2011, he recorded songs produced by Jack White and released as two singles by White's Third Man Records. The first single features two The Delmore Brothers songs: "Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar" and "Lonesome Yodel Blues #2", both performed with Tom Brosseau. The second single features Ray Price's "I'll Be There If You Ever Want" as well as the country classic "I'm Making Plans", performed with Becky Stark.[94] He also appeared as "future Mike D" in the Beastie Boys' video "Make Some Noise."[95] In 2012, his current band, John Reilly & Friends, was slated to perform in the Railroad Revival Tour, alongside Willie Nelson & Family, Band of Horses and Jamey Johnson. However, the event was cancelled.[96][97]

In 2014, Reilly appeared on the music video for Mr. Oizo's song "HAM" in which he played Father. Directed by Eric Wareheim, "HAM" is an excerpt from the television comedy Rubberhead, which displays sketches from various comedians.[98] In February 2015, John Reilly & Friends performed on NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concert series.[99] In 2017, Reilly appeared on A$AP Mob's album Cozy Tapes Vol. 2: Too Cozy as Principal Daryl Choad.[100]

TheatreEdit

Reilly is known as a versatile stage actor. He has participated in numerous Broadway productions and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for the 2000 Broadway production of Sam Shepard's True West. He and co-star Philip Seymour Hoffman (after starring in Hard Eight and Boogie Nights) were both nominated, alternating between the two lead characters during separate performances.[101][102] In 2005, he appeared as Stanley Kowalski in Edward Hall's production of the Tennessee Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire.[103] Reilly stated in 2010 that he would be very determined to play the lead role of Nathan Detroit if a revival of the musical Guys and Dolls were to occur.[104]

In March 2012, he was featured in a performance of Dustin Lance Black's play, 8—a staged reenactment of the federal trial that overturned California's Prop 8 ban on same-sex marriage—as David Blankenhorn.[105] The production was held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre and broadcast on YouTube to raise money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights, a non-profit organization funding the plaintiffs' legal team and sponsoring the play.[106][107]

Personal lifeEdit

Reilly married Alison Dickey, an independent film producer, in 1992 after their meeting on the set of Casualties of War in Thailand.[108] They have two sons, one born in late 1998, and the second born in September 2001.[109] Reilly practices Transcendental Meditation.[110][111][112]

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1989 Casualties of War PFC. Herbert Hatcher
1989 We're No Angels Young Monk
1990 Days of Thunder Buck Bretherton
1990 State of Grace Stevie McGuire
1992 Shadows and Fog Cop at Police Station
1992 Out on a Limb Jim Jr.
1992 Hoffa Pete Connelly
1993 What's Eating Gilbert Grape Tucker Van Dyke
1994 The River Wild Terry
1995 Dolores Claiborne Const. Frank Stamshaw
1995 Georgia Herman
1996 Hard Eight John Finnegan
1996 Boys Officer Kellogg Curry
1997 Nightwatch Deputy Inspector Bill Davis Uncredited
1997 Boogie Nights Reed Rothchild
1997 Chicago Cab Steve
1998 The Thin Red Line Sergeant Storm
1998 Flaghole Special Unknown Short film
1999 The Settlement Pat
1999 Never Been Kissed Augustus Strauss
1999 For Love of the Game Gus Sinski
1999 Magnolia Jim Kurring
2000 The Perfect Storm Dale 'Murph' Murphy
2001 The Anniversary Party Mac Forsyth
2001 Frank's Book Frank Short film
2002 The Good Girl Phil Last
2002 Gangs of New York Happy Jack
2002 Chicago Amos Hart
2002 The Hours Dan Brown
2003 Anger Management Older Arnie Shankman Uncredited
2004 The Aviator Noah Dietrich
2004 Criminal Richard Gaddis
2005 Are You the Favorite Person of Anybody?[113] Man With Survey Short film
2005 Dark Water Mr. Murray
2006 A Prairie Home Companion Lefty
2006 Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby Cal Naughton, Jr.
2006 Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny Sasquatch Uncredited
2007 Year of the Dog Albert "Al"
2007 Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story Dewford "Dewey" Cox
2008 The Promotion Richard Wehlner
2008 Step Brothers Dale Doback Also writer
2009 9 5 (voice)
2009 Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant Larten Crepsley
2010 The Extra Man Gershon
2010 Cyrus John
2011 Cedar Rapids Dean Ziegler
2011 Fight for Your Right Revisited Mike D (B-Boys 2) Short film
2011 We Need to Talk About Kevin Franklin
2011 Terri Mr. Fitzgerald
2011 Carnage Michael
2012 Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie Taquito
2012 The Dictator Clayton Uncredited cameo
2012 Wreck-It Ralph Wreck-It Ralph (voice) Also wrote additional story material
2013 Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues The Ghost of Stonewall Jackson Uncredited cameo[114]
2014 Bears Narrator Documentary
2014 Life After Beth Maury Slocum
2014 Guardians of the Galaxy Rhomann Dey
2015 Entertainment John
2015 The Lobster Robert
2015 Tale of Tales King of Longtrellis
2015 The Cowboys L'Américain
2015 When Marnie Was There Kiyomasa Oiwa (voice) English dub
2015 View from a Blue Moon[115] Narrator (voice)
2016 Sing Eddie (voice)
2017 The Little Hours Father Tommasso
2017 Kong: Skull Island Hank Marlow
2017 Eddie's Life Coach Eddie (voice) Short film
2018 Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 Wreck-It Ralph (voice) In development
2018 Holmes and Watson John Watson Post-production
2018 Stan and Ollie Oliver Hardy Post-production
2018 The Sisters Brothers Eli Sisters Post-production; also producer

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1993 Fallen Angels Martin Lonsdale Episode: "The Frightening Frammis"
1999 Tenacious D Sasquatch Episode: "Death of a Dream"
2004 Cracking Up Steve Evers Episode: "Prom Night"
2006 Tom Goes to the Mayor John (voice) Episode: "Friendship Alliance"
2006 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: "John C. Reilly/My Chemical Romance"
2007–10 Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Dr. Steven Brule 25 episodes, plus two specials
2008 The Simpsons Himself (voice) Episode: "Any Given Sundance"
2010–11 Funny or Die Presents John / Nikola Tesla 2 episodes
2010–present Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule Dr. Steve Brule Lead role
Also writer and producer
2014 Tim and Eric's Bedtime Stories Jordan Episode: "Baby"
2014–15 Stone Quackers Officer Barry (voice) Main role
Also executive producer
2015 Bagboy Dr. Steve Brule Television special

StageEdit

Dates Title[116] Role Notes
March 22 – September 2, 1990 The Grapes of Wrath Noah
March 2 – July 29, 2000 True West Austin / Lee
April 26 – July 3, 2005 A Streetcar Named Desire Stanley Kowalski
Music videos
Year Title Performer(s) Role
1998 "Across the Universe" Fiona Apple Jukebox Thief
1998 "Talk About The Blues" Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Russell Simins
1999 "Save Me" Aimee Mann Officer Jim Kurring
2008 "Boats 'N Hoes" Himself and Will Ferrell Dale Doback
2011 "Make Some Noise" Beastie Boys Future Mike D
2014 "HAM" Mr. Oizo Father
2017 "Pillow Talking" Lil Dicky God
Web
Year Title Role Notes
2008 Green Team[117] Jim Smegg Video short
2010 Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy[118] Bing Crosby Video short
2016 Pound House[119] Fish Man Episode: "Fish Man"

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Title Award
1998 Boogie Nights Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cast
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2000 Magnolia
True West Nominated – Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play
2002 The Anniversary Party Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
2003 The Good Girl Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Chicago Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated – Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
2005 The Aviator Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2007 A Prairie Home Companion Nominated – Gotham Awards for Best Ensemble Cast
2008 Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Song
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song
Nominated – Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
2011 Cyrus Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2012 Cedar Rapids Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
2015 Guardians of the Galaxy Nominated – Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast

ReferencesEdit

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