10/12 - Although I think of John C. Reilly as having transcended the "Oh...THAT guy!" status of more obscure character actors, his name still elicited that response from a few festival goers when I mentioned attending the Tuesday morning "conversation" with him at the CIFF this year. For me, Reilly will always be a significant player, having been featured in a couple of my favorite pictures, Malick's The Thin Red Line and Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia. More recently, Reilly turned in an excellent performance in the Mark Duplass picture Cyrus, and almost single-handedly saved the comedy Cedar Rapids from complete obscurity. I hadn't considered what a diverse crowd Reilly would draw, as he is most popularly known for a few pictures that I haven't seen (I'm not playing movie snob here, because I'm certainly not above seeing Talledega Nights or Step Brothers--I just haven't seen them). The questions ranged from people requesting advice from obscure Reilly characters to details about working with specific directors.
Reilly is at the fortunate point in his career of being able to work with directors that he admires (he says he keeps a list), and in this year's CIFF he has checked one of those names off the list, the director of Ratcatcher and Morvern Callar, Lynne Ramsay. The new film from Ramsay, We Need To Talk About Kevin, featuring Reilly and Tilda Swinton, is being billed as a "psychological thriller" that "crescendos to a chilling, unforgettable climax" and screens at the fest this Tuesday at 7:54. Reilly is a graduate of the DePaul University Theatre program, and was interviewed by one of his former instructors. His presentation was part of the ongoing "Chicago Connections" programming this year at the CIFF.
Speaking of Chicago connections, I think I was one of the only people crowded around after the event that day who noticed that Chicago cinematography legend Haskell Wexler (also being honored at the fest this year) was one of the camera men buzzing around John C. Reilly on Tuesday morning. Reilly casually patted Haskell on the shoulder as he exited, and with all the attention on Reilly I had the honor to talk a while with a film maker I have admired for many years, and whose rare and influential directorial effort Medium Cool I have screend numerous times in my film course. Haskell shared with me some research suggestions on Medium Cool, as well as some information about his recent shoot in Northern Ireland. More to come on Wexler and his career in a few days...
Up Next: An American indie shot in Southern Illinois, Brian Jun's Joint Body