December 14, 2011

John C. Reilly CARNAGE Interview slice

Every Auteur has his signature visual fetish. For Alfred Hitchcock it is women in pieces, for Martin Scorsese it is the omnipotent God’s-eye-view of the tracking shot and for Roman Polanski it is the domestic space made wild. So, when development began on an adaptation of Yasmina Reza’s award winning play, God of Carnage, it only made sense for Polanski to take the helm. Carnage, which stars Christoph Waltz, Kate Winselt, Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly, is a brutally funny and subtly disturbing film set entirely within the confines of a slightly bougie New York apartment, detailing the sublimated rage, self-righteousness and self-loathing that come to the surface when two sets of parents who come together to discuss a minor fistfight between their sons.

Recently, I sat down with Oscar nominee Reilly to discuss the film. During the conversation, which he described as one of the most awkward of his entire life, the actor discussed approaching comedy versus drama, how adults can be childish, the Stepbrothers rap album, Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, going to the confessional and more, including how he might not be in Sacha Baron Cohen’s upcoming, The Dictator.  Hit the jump for the interview.

Author’s Note: This was one of the more strange interviews I have ever conducted. Before the camera started rolling, Reilly was relaxed and fun. I commented that I had a Stepbrothers desktop at the moment and he seemed to think that it was actually funny. But then the actual conversation began and things turned into a Tim and Eric sketch with Reilly claiming ignorance of high profile projects that are currently on his docket and shifting uncomfortably in his chair. I suppose if it can’t be a good interview, it might as well be a memorably weird one. Enjoy.

  • :00 – 1:20 Reilly discusses the lack of difference between acting in Stepbrothers and acting in Carnage.
  • 1:21 – 1:37 Reilly gives a very brief update on the Stepbrothers rap album. Says that some of it is written.
  • 1:38 – 2:21 Discussion of We Need to Talk About Kevin and its relation to Carnage.
  • 2:22 – 2:42 Reilly denies being in Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator and claims to not even know of the film’s existence, in spite of the fact that The Hollywood Reporter and dozens of other outlets announced that he is in the film.
  • 2:43 – 3:07 Reilly gives a brief update on Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie.
  • 3:08 – 3:42 I ask Reilly about his most awkward conversation. Answer: this one. Alternately, confession in Church.


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  • Hunter D.

    For the record, Reilly IS in The Dictator, and it IS based on a book written by Saddam.

  • jymmmymack

    I think you might have misunderstood him. It seemed to me that he was “unaware” that it was based on a book by Saddam, and not that he wasn’t in it. He didn’t seem to question what was being said until the Saddam remark (and yes, I am aware that it is indeed based on a book by Saddam).

  • Gavin

    Jesus! This whole interview was just odd. John C Reilly seemed so apprehensive and dismissive. I mean “… why all the focus on youth violence all of a sudden?”, that’s clearly a set-up to a joke. Answering back “I didn’t write the scripts” seems a bit shitty. Maybe he was just having a bad day.

    • Hunter D.

      That wasn’t a joke question, per se. I think it’s kind of odd that he has two films that are centered on youth violence coming out on top of each other.

      I mean, how many movies do you see that *actually* deal with youth violence during any given year? I’m not talking slasher movies or teen comedies with a bully antagonist, I mean movies that deal with real world implications of violent, possibly disturbed young people. I can’t imagine that Reilly never thought about the fact that he was in TWO movies, both of which are Oscar hopefuls, being released back-to-back, that engage the same niche theme. In fact, I would be rather surprised if I was the first person to ask him that question during the junket.

      Sure, “Carnage” is a comedy and, “We Need to Talk About Kevin” is decidedly not. And sure, Carnage is not about the children at all, while Kevin directly involves the youth, but I mean… if you made two WWII films, one an action film and the other a farce and they were coming out on top of one another, wouldn’t it be fair to comment on their similarities and differences?

      But yeah, you could tell a good joke based on that too. Maybe I shouldn’t have lead with the StepBrothers rap question since Polanski’s involvement places this movie in a more “serious” context, as opposed to the silly stuff he does with Ferrell. It’s just that I was talking to Reilly about my StepBrothers desktop background just before the video started, so it had an organic transition. Oh well, at least it was a memorable interview.

  • henri

    great actor,love d him in gangs of new york

  • Ben

    He definitely is in The Dictator: you can see him appear in the trailer (also on the Collider site) – agree with another commenter though that perhaps he was denying knowledge of the book?

    I’m really a big fan of John C Reilly, but I must admit this is an uncomfortable interview, it’s as if he’s bored of the whole thing. I think maybe he’s just one of those actors who hates the press aspect of releasing a movie, especially since he goes on to say he considers an awkward conversation “not what you want to do”. ie. he doesn’t want to be sat in the chair answering questions. Kind of shitty for his fans though.

  • Ryan

    No offense but I don’t think Reilly did anything wrong, these are just terrible and/or poorly researched questions.

    “How does that movie you’re in even exist?” … what? Weird.

    “Will we see any more awkward handshakes in the Tim & Eric movie?” Is this even a question?

    And it’s been well-published that the Billion Dollar movie is finished and will be available on demand in January and in theatrical release in March.

    • Josh

      I agree with you completely. It’s a shame people like this have jobs like this, when you and I could have conducted a better interview from our couches (with no experience)

    • Hunter D.

      A: It is pretty odd thing that a major Hollywood studio is releasing a film based upon a book written by a man that the US spent like half a trillion dollars deposing. In fact, my first question when the film was announced was, “Is this for real?” When I did this interview, there was no trailer, no poster, no real info beyond the bizarre set up. So the loose nature of the question basically, “Why is this film being made, and how did Cohen convince the moneypeople that it was a good idea?”

      B: Reilly played Steve Bruell in Tim and Eric. He had a regular gag where he’d teach ‘handshake etiquette.’ Donno why it’s strange or confusing to ask if he would be reprising his most memorable bit from the series.

      B.5: This interview was done weeks and weeks ago. Well before there was a trailer for Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie. I generally don’t trust a release date until I see marketing materials released.

  • Josh

    I love how the write up totally attacked Riley like he’s this super awkward interviewee, when in fact the guy asking the questions is a shitty interviewer.

    “why have you been doing so many movies about child problems?”. Because he read scripts that he liked and wanted to work with and some of them just so happen to have been of similar nature. What else do you expect him to say? “well I work on movies like that because I had such a tough childhood and I think I’ll go into all the juicy details of my personal life with you, the interviewer, whom I’ve just met”……… nope, not gonna happen.

  • patrick

    I feel the need to leave a comment because I was taking a crap while reading/ watching the interview.

    Interviewer was bad. john c reilly isn’t that funny in the first place. i only came to read this to see if there is any info on tim and erics billion dollar movie, which we got no info on because reilly sucks. and he is doing even more dumb roles.

  • Paul

    Hunter makes me feel uncomfortable too. :\

  • Jusitn

    Wow… well that was weird. What an awful interview. I would have just got up and left if I was John.