A showdown between two kids about eleven, in a local playground. Swollen lips, broken teeth... Now the parents of the "victim" have invited the parents of the "bully" to their apartment to sort it out. Cordial banter gradually develops a razor-sharp edge as all four parents reveal their laughable contradictions and grotesque prejudices. None of them will escape the ensuing Carnage.
Carnage stars Academy Award-winner Kate Winslet (Mildred Pierce, The Reader) and Academy Award-winner Christoph Waltz (Water for Elephants, Inglourious Basterds) as husband and wife Nancy and Alan, opposite Academy Award-winner Jodie Foster (Panic Room, The Silence of the Lambs) and John C. Reilly (We Need to Talk About Kevin, Magnolia) as Penelope and Michael, respectively.
Yasmina Reza joined Roman Polanski in adapting her play The God of Carnage for the screen. Said Ben Said (The Witnesses, Love Crime) produced the film through SBS Productions.
Carnage is a French-German-Polish co-production between SBS Productions, Constantin Film Produktion and SPI Poland. Other production credits include: Pawel Edelman (The Ghost Writer, The Pianist) as director of photography; Academy Award-winner Dean Tavoularis (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now) as production designer; costume designer Milena Canonero, Academy Award-winner for Marie Antoinette, Barry Lyndon and Chariots of Fire; Academy Award-winner Didier Lavergne (La Vie en Rose , The Ghost Writer) as make-up designer and Hervé de Luze (The Ghost Writer, The Pianist) as editor.
Academy Award-winning director Roman Polanski directs Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, John C Reilly and Christoph Waltz in Carnage, the screen adaptation of the smash comedy play The God Of Carnage by Yasmina Reza. The bitterly amusing story of two families who become locked in a showdown after their children are involved in a playground squabble, Carnage shines a spotlight on the risible contradictions and grotesque prejudices of four well-heeled American parents.
Shot in real time as the four adults meet to settle the dispute, Carnage pits power couple Nancy and Alan Cowan against the liberal writer and campaigner Penelope Longstreet and her wholesaler husband, Michael. Unpredictable and shocking, the film hilariously exposes the hypocrisy lurking behind their polite façade.
Hailed by the critics and public alike, the play enjoyed sell-out runs in Paris, London and on Broadway after its premiere in 2006 and won a slew of awards at both the Olivier Awards and the Tonys. As soon as he saw the play, Roman Polanski knew it would make an exciting film. "The tone of the play was hilarious and the pace fast-moving. What particularly attracted me was the real-time action. I'd never made a film without the slightest ellipse and I don't remember ever seeing one either".
Polanski brought on the author of the play, Yasmina Reza, to adapt it for the screen. Originally set in Paris, the play's location was moved to New York when it was transferred to Broadway in 2009. It is in Brooklyn that Polanski chose to set his film adaptation.
"The spirit of the play seemed to me more American than French and Brooklyn would be a likely place for this kind of liberal family to live".
The director also wanted to remain faithful to the play's real-time setting where the action unfolds over 90 minutes without breaks and in one location - despite the challenges that would mean. "It's a challenge to make a film in real time, without a single ellipsis", says Polanski. "Ever since I was a child I enjoyed films that evolved in a single location far more than action films. I like the sensation of the proximity to the characters, similar to the feeling to be found in Dutch paintings such as Van Eyck's The Arnolfini Wedding, where the artist gives the spectator the sensation of being in the room. I've made films before set in an enclosed space, but not as rigorously self-contained as on this occasion, so that was a new experience".
Polanski then assembled his cast - Academy Award-winner Kate Winslet (Mildred Pierce, The Reader) and Academy Award-winner Christoph Waltz (Water for Elephants, Inglourious Basterds) as Nancy and Alan Cowan, opposite Academy Award-winner Jodie Foster (Panic Room, The Silence of the Lambs) and John C. Reilly (We Need to Talk About Kevin, Magnolia) as Penelope and Michael Longstreet.
All of the actors were required to be on set all day, every day, throughout the shoot, as they all feature in every scene. "To film in that way you must have actors who can live with each other", says Polanski. "The four characters they were playing were of such different traits and types. It was a stroke of luck that these four actors could function so well together, in complete harmony. It just doesn't happen on every production!"
Kate Winslet describes investment broker Nancy Cowan as "an extremely busy working mother, who constantly feels desperately guilty about not being present enough in her child's life and yet has very forthright opinions about motherhood and parenting when in fact she's clutching at straws. Although she loves her child, there are certain areas where she doesn't really know what she's talking about".
For Winslet the play's success resides in how its universal themes are couched in humour. "It's a window on so many of our worlds", she says. "It's about the complexities of parenting, it's about how children should be raised, it's about the endlessly complex dynamic that is marriage. And to have turned it into a comedy in the way that Yasmina did is even more enriching and enlightening for everybody. To be able to laugh at ourselves, to be able to make fun of the human condition, is the thing that no matter what language you speak or which country you're in or what your personal circumstances are we've all experienced in some way".
"It's very real", continues Winslet. "For example, in the school playground when you're negotiating with other parents there's always an air of 'I have to be nice to you even though I hate your guts.' There's always glossy air of making nice, a fakery that goes on which is part of how you operate as a parent when you're trying to protect your child".
The actress also responded to the piece's savage depiction of how our lives are dominated by technology. "It shows how easy it is to become disengaged from your own reality. It's as though we've gotta get that quick fix you know to plug the gaps in our relationships. We rely on checking our texts or sending a text back or waiting for that 'brruuupp'. We've all become so accustomed to this way of existing and validating our friendships through those non-verbal connections".
Winslet was enthralled by the multi-layered nature of the piece. "What's fascinating about this is that it starts off being about one thing and it becomes very quickly entirely about something else", she says. "I love that about the story; it's very real but it's unpredictable. You think you're watching one type of movie and actually, it changes very quickly into something very different".
For Jodie Foster, who plays campaigner Penelope Longstreet, it was the ideas the story tackles that provided the strongest attraction. "Although it's satirical and outlandish in some respects, the relationship between the characters have a genuine grounding in real psychology, in family psychology and it's the tapestry of people's lives that I find most fascinating - how they interact with each other, how they drive each other crazy, how they stab each other over and over again, not just in this generation but in the next generation too. Our ideas about morality are constructs and in fact we're all very primitive. We're all monstrous in some ways and if we took responsibility for that we'd probably be better off".
"The question of morality is interesting", Foster continues. "Four people are trying to figure out what's the right thing to do and is the right thing the right thing? As time goes on and they start revealing just who they really are. They become more and more monstrous and I guess that's what makes it funny. They are all polite people, they're all well educated and older and are from upper middle class families and live in a very polite suburb and you'd think that everything would go very well and instead it all goes very badly indeed. "
"It's a comedy of manners and how people lose those manners", says Foster. "What really makes it work is that each character is so well drawn and how different they are. So Kate's character is so good at always trying to be the liaison between everybody and yet we know that's not what she's really thinking, so we watch her cover up by becoming more and more solicitous".
Foster says she felt Penelope was "a very good fit". "She's very politically correct and takes everything way too seriously", says the actor. "She starts out as normal but as the story progresses, she becomes more and more of a caricature of a regular person. The character's relationships have a lot of layers. The problems in our marriage get worked out during this negotiation. She's an uptight woman who works in a bookstore but who's writing a book on suffering in Africa and who can't get that out of her mind. She's appalled by these two people who come into her home who, she thinks, don't seem to care about the plight of the world. Her husband is a good guy and he thinks that my uptightness is little too much and the way he avoids that is by drinking his favourite scotch".
Foster relished the twists and turns in the relationships between the four characters. "For much of the time, it's Penelope and Alan who dislike each other because he's a very cocky lawyer who likes to tease me because he's irritated by how politically correct I am. But soon all four are trading sides and by the end of the film we all hate each other. The story underlines the fragility of relationships and how scarred we all are".
The language also drew in the actress and she was intrigued by how Reza has the characters reveal themselves through coded language. "Penelope tend to continually say "that's disgusting" or "that disgusts me". Disgust seems to be my number one thing. And Nancy keeps saying "naturally" and yet she's the least natural person. Michael is the kind of guy who keeps saying "why can't we all just get along", you know and "why do we have to think about things, why do we have to think about things at all".
For Winslet too, the opportunity to immerse herself in the piece's rich and textural language was an immediate draw. "We hear the characters use really aggressive, robust words as either weapons or ways of explaining their own emotions or their perception of what someone else is thinking", she says. "And none of them take responsibility for the words that come out of their mouths. That's one of the reasons why the story unravels in the way that it does - no one takes responsibility for anything that they say".
John C Reilly takes on the role of Michael Longstreet, a houseware supply salesman with social ambitions. "He aspires to be a class higher than where he came from. His wife Penelope is much more intellectual, she's a writer, she's very concerned with global issues and justice in the world. In some ways each of the characters is a hypocrite who thinks that if only everyone thought the way they thought then the world would be perfect. So Michael puts on his best face for the meeting with Nancy and Alan but eventually he can't take it anymore and explodes. It was a refreshing character to play within the piece. Each of the characters unmasks themselves at a different point in the story. What's brilliant about Yasmina's writing is that just when you think the story is going to end, someone says, no, I'm not leaving yet, I want to say this and that's what keeps this maelstrom happening until it explodes at the end. It's a pretty devastating portrait of American parenting".
Reilly responded to the satire of the piece. "It's a perfect set up for comedy because whenever you put people in a difficult situation and make them behave in a polite way, that's an age old recipe for comedy".
Foster agrees, saying that the team had long discussions on how to get the tone of the satire just right: "Even if the comedy is outlandish you have to ground it in reality. And here, the comedy is grounded in reality even though, being a satire, it's heightened to a point of exaggeration. So for example, when Penelope is asked about Africa hopefully it's incredibly funny to watch this person start to fall apart while she's telling them. It's the earnestness of the character that really gets the laughs. With the Alan character it's his incredible insensitivity that's really funny".
Polanski organised an intensive, 2 week long rehearsal period both for the actors to acquaint themselves with each other and to investigate the tone of the film, a tone that shifts between satire, comedy and drama.
"I always love rehearsal", enthuses Winslet. "It's always such a pleasure to be able to have it, such a luxury. But I don't think any of us could have predicted that Roman had us all learn the entire script, from start to finish, like a play. I was really thrilled that we staged the whole thing because it meant that when we got onto the set we all knew exactly what our positions were. That's helpful to us and to Roman because he can structure how he's going to shoot it. That rehearsal time was a very bonding experience for all of us. It's just so fun to have to rise to that challenge and to be with these actors who are so accomplished and so brilliant and to feel the desire to match each other's ability is really wonderful".
For Winslet, the rehearsal period allowed her to get to grips with the scene that caused her most trepidation, when she embarks on a drunken rant just moments after projectile vomiting all over Penelope's precious coffee table art books. "We all knew it felt a bit like a speech", she explains. "The challenge was making it feel as though it comes out of absolutely nowhere. How we solved that was mostly to do with Roman's direction which was always so bang on. But having staged it in the rehearsal meant we could see what worked and what didn't work and that was a real luxury. I was very relieved when it was done because it was a difficult scene. There's nothing worse than bad drunk acting!"
"The rehearsal gave me a chance to let the ideas settle to find a way for my character to speak the dialogue", says Reilly. "It also allowed us all to find the rhythms and the way we should interact within the confined space of the set. And there was a great exchange of ideas, particularly about the dialogue. Roman was translating from the French original so he would say how a line would be said in French and we would make suggestions on how to make it sound authentically American. And the fact that there were no egos meant that we could have that frankness of communication".
"It's very helpful to be directed by a director who has acted before", continues Reilly, "because not only are they more sympathetic towards actors but they have a good sense of the truth of the moments. Roman has a great innate sense of what it's like to have to act something. So he was as much interested in the rehearsal process, in the organic reality of the reactions and the behaviour as we were. In rehearsal he would always question why we were doing something one way or another".
"I think it's been fun for Roman", says Foster about the rehearsal process. "Most of the direction was in rehearsals and so when the shoot began, most of his concerns were about how the camera would move, what the camera angles were and occasionally very subtle tweaks for us. Roman is a master technician and he's a master filmmaker and he has a very specific style and he's very consistent in the way he works: he puts the marks down and he sets the camera and he's there with his little viewfinder, which I haven't seen anyone use in about 20 years and his is all scratched, it's from when he made Knife in the Water. He has an idea of the look that he wants for the movie but that is also a part of his lexicon too".
Christoph Waltz concurs: "The rehearsal was almost indispensable with this project. It wasn't just so we could get used to each other. It gave us the time to experiment, to try this and that, to reject things that weren't appropriate. On a regular shoot you never have the luxury of time".
"Shooting the film in real time is the great challenge", says Foster. "Whatever transitions are being made they're not being made off camera, they have to be made right then and there and I think that the play is so beautifully drawn that it's kind of been easy to go from one feeling to the next. I've made a lot of movies in one location like this. What always happens when you do a film where there are only four people is that a closeness develops between the actors that you just can't get any other way. This has been the most enjoyable camaraderie that I've ever had on a movie. I genuinely love these actors and I was actually sad about not seeing them every single day".
A director known for his visual panache, Roman Polanski assembled a team of highly-creative behind the scenes collaborators including cinematographer Pawel Edelman and Academy Award-winning production designer Dean Tavoularis and costume designer Milena Canonero.
The brief for his production and costume designers was straightforward. "I wanted realism for the set design and costumes and a contemporary look", says Polanski. "Those were the two notes I gave Milena and Dean, they don't need much advice!"
Almost as important as the four characters was the set. Constructed on the sound stages of Bry-sur-Marne on the outskirts of Paris, the set was created by production design Dean Tavoularis, best known for his collaborations with Francis Ford Coppola on some of the most visually impressive films of the past 40 years including The Godfather trilogy, The Conversation and Apocalypse Now.
Tavoularis designed a floor plan for a set which would be as authentic as possible, where it was possible to walk from one room to another, or to look from one room down the corridor to another, just as one would do in a real apartment. He also designed the apartment so that it would bring an extra dimension to the narrative at key moments. So the bathroom is accessed only by the bedroom which brings a heightened frisson to the scene where Penelope is helping Alan change out of his wet trousers in the bathroom - they have to pass the bed on their way back to the living room.
Tavoularis, who worked with Polanski on The Ninth Gate, had never designed a film of this type, set in one room and with just four characters. "I tried to make it as real as possible. I'm always very concerned about the details of a set because you never know exactly how much the director is going to show, if you're going to see inside the cupboard or inside the drawer. We had food and other items brought in from New York - and specifically Brooklyn - so that the apartment would be as authentic as possible. I was sure that some things wouldn't be seen on camera, but I still dressed it properly for the actors. That's especially important if you're going to be on the one set for the whole film".
His efforts certainly paid off. Says John C Reilly: "When I saw the set, I thought that so much of my work had been done for me. Usually on films, the camera sees what the audience is meant to see so there's only half a set or if you open a book there's nothing inside the book... there's a lot of artifice. But Dean's set was filled with detail. It was completely realistic down to the strange little knickknacks on the shelves. The kitchen was almost functional. It definitely gave us a sense of place".
One of the pleasures for the designer, who had almost retired from the film industry and was enjoying a life as a painter until he got the call from Polanski, was working in France. "I hadn't done a film for a few years and I was astonished by how extraordinary the French craftsmen were. The carpenters, the painters, the prop makers were all of an exceptional calibre".
Teaming up with Polanski again brought home to the designer just how broad the director's talents are. It was often Polanski who would see a way out of a problem, says Tavoularis. "His knowledge encompasses every aspect of film-making, from the design to the visual effects. He would know exactly how to explain how to put something right. He gets to the reality and to the core. He's one of the greatest working directors in the world".
Kate Winslet - Nancy Cowan. Academy Award winning actress, Kate Winslet has brought to life some of this decades most captivating and memorable roles. Her resume consists of critically and commercially acclaimed work as well as a span of awards and honors that illustrate Kate's talent and solidify her a permanent place in cinema history. Most recently Kate won her first Academy Award after a stunning past five nominations, for her role as Hanna Schmitz in Stephen Daldry's 2008 The Reader. An adaptation of German author Bernhard Schlink's best-selling book, The Reader showcased Kate's true talent and artistry as an actress in a leading role.
Kate also won a Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA and Critics' Choice Award, among many others, for her role as Hanna. Kate also starred in Paramount Vantage's 2009 Revolutionary Road, which re-teamed her with Titanic co-star Leonardo DiCaprio. Revolutionary Road, based on the critically acclaimed novel by Richard Yates, was directed by Sam Mendes. Kate won a Golden Globe and received many nominations for her portrayal of April Wheeler.
Kate can most recently be seen starring in Mildred Pierce for director Todd Haynes and HBO. Mildred Pierce is the epic story of a proud single mother struggling to earn her daughter's love during the great depression in middle class Los Angeles. Based on the novel by James M. Cain.
Kate grew up in a family of actors and began performing for British television when she was thirteen. At the age of seventeen, she made an international name for herself in Peter Jackson's feature film Heavenly Creatures. She followed that in 1995 with her role as Marianne Dashwood in Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility. Kate received her first Academy Award nomination for this performance and was also nominated for a Golden Globe. She then went on to win the BAFTA and the Screen Actors Guild Award for her role.
In her next film, Kate co-starred with Christopher Eccleston in Michael Winterbottom's Jude and then as Ophelia in Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet. She next appeared as the amazing Rose in James Cameron's Titanic opposite Leonardo DiCaprio. At the age of 22, Kate received her second Academy Award nomination for this role and the honor of being the youngest actress ever to be nominated for two Academy Awards. In 1997 Kate starred as Julia in Hideous Kinky directed by Gillies McKinnon and in 1998 co-starred with Harvey Keitel in Jane Campion's comedic drama Holy Smoke. Kate also starred in Philip Kaufman's period drama Quills along with Geoffrey Rush, Joaquin Phoenix and Michael Caine.
Kate starred in the Richard Eyre production of Iris in 2001. In her performance portraying a young Iris Murdoch, Kate received a Golden Globe and Oscar nomination. She next starred in Michael Apteds' Enigma, a spy drama about code breakers during early WWII period and The Life of David Gale with Kevin Spacey. Kate then came to New York and dyed her hair blue and orange for her amazing portrayal as the quirky Clementine in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, for which she received Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for Best Actress. She then went on to star opposite Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland, which was named the 2004 Best Film by the National Board of Review.
In 2006, Kate was seen in All the King's Men, opposite Jude Law and Sean Penn, directed by Steven Zaillian. She then extended her voice to the animated featureFlushed Away. Kate finished the year in the romantic comedy The Holiday opposite Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black and also stared opposite Jennifer Connelly in Todd Field's Little Children. Kate received her fifth Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her portrayal of Sarah Pierce in Little Children. This nomination earned Kate the title as the youngest actress to receive five nominations.
Jodie Foster - Penelope Longstreet. Jodie Foster's stunning performances as a rape survivor in The Accused and as Special Agent Clarice Starling in the hit thriller The Silence of the Lambs earned her two Academy Awards® for Best Actress and the reputation for being one of the most critically acclaimed actresses of her generation. Foster began her career at age three, appearing as The Coppertone Girl in the television commercial. She then went on to become a regular on a number of television series, including Mayberry RFD, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, My Three Sons and Paper Moon. She made her feature debut in Napoleon and Samantha when she was eight years old.
But it was her role in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1975), which brought her to the audience's eyes and her powerful portrayal of a streetwise teenager in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976) that won her widespread critical praise and international attention. Foster appeared in a total of four films in 1976, Bugsy Malone, Echoes of Summer, Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane and Taxi Driver, which were all presented at the Cannes Film Festival. Alan Parker's Bugsy Malone, earned her an Italian Comedy Award.
In total, Foster has appeared in more than 40 films, including recent films Nim's Island with Gerard Butler; The Brave One for director Neil Jordan and for which she received a nomination for a Golden Globe Award; Inside Man with Denzel Washington and Clive Owen; the box-office hit Flightplan; Jean Pierre Jeunet's French language film,A Very Long Engagement; David Fincher's box-office success, Panic Room; Anna and the King for director Andy Tenant, Contact for director Robert Zemeckis; Nell opposite Liam Neeson; the comedy Maverick opposite Mel Gibson and James Garner and the romantic drama Sommersby opposite Richard Gere.
Other select motion picture credits include Woody Allen's stylized black and white comedy Shadows and Fog; Siesta; Stealing Home; Five Corners; as well as earlier films such as Tom Sawyer; Freaky Friday; Adrian Lyne's Foxes; Tony Richardson's The Hotel New Hampshire; Claude Chabrol's The Blood of Others, for which the multi-lingual Foster looped all of her own dialogue in French.
For her role in The Silence of the Lambs, Foster was also awarded a Golden Globe® Award, a British Academy Award, a New York Film Critics Award and a Chicago Film Critics Award. Foster received her first Oscar® nomination and awards from the National Society of Film Critics and the Los Angeles Film Critics for her role in Taxi Driver. She also became the only American actress to win two separate awards in the same year from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts - Best Supporting Actress and Best Newcomer honoring her performances in both Taxi Driver and Bugsy Malone.
Foster made her motion picture directorial debut in 1991 with the highly acclaimed Little Man Tate, in which she also starred. In 1995, Foster directed her second film, Home for the Holidays, which she also produced. The film starred Holly Hunter, Anne Bancroft and Robert Downey Jr. Her most recent film The Beaver, which stars Mel Gibson, was released in May 2011.
Foster founded Egg Pictures in 1992 and the company produced Nell (1994), for which Foster earned an Academy Award® nomination for Best Actress; Home for the Holidays (1995); the Showtime telefilm The Baby Dance (1998) which received a Peabody Award, four Emmy® Award nominations and three Golden Globe® Award nominations; as well as USA Films' Waking the Dead, directed by Keith Gordon starring Billy Crudup and Jennifer Connelly. In 1996, Egg presented the award-winning French film Hate in the United States. Egg Pictures most recently produced The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (2001).
Christoph Waltz - Alan Cowan. Christoph Waltz received Academy, SAG, BAFTA, Golden Globe and Cannes Film Festival awards for his portrayal of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds. This fall, Waltz will begin production on Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained opposite Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson. The film is scheduled to be released in December 2012.
Waltz will next be seen in The Three Musketeers for director Paul W.S. Anderson and Summit Entertainment. Waltz plays 'Cardinal Richelieu' alongside an international cast that includes Milla Jovovich, Orlando Bloom, Matthew Macfadyen, Mads Mikkelsen and Juno Temple.
In April 2011, Waltz played the animal trainer in Water For Elephants opposite Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson. Francis Lawrence directed the Richard LaGravanese-scripted adaptation of the novel by Sara Gruen. Additionally, Waltz starred opposite Seth Rogan and Cameron Diaz in Michel Gondry's The Green Hornet.
Waltz's work in European television, film and theatrical productions spans three decades. His motion picture credits include Gun-shy, the Berlin Film Festival entry Lapislazuli, Dorian, She, Falling Rocks, Ordinary Decent Criminal, Our God's Brother, The Beast, Berlin Blues and Angst. On television, he appeared in the Adolf Grimme Award-winning films "Der Tanz mit dem Teufel - Die Entführung des Richard Oetker" and "Dienstreise - Was für eine Nacht Dienstreise". For his work in "Du Bist Nicht Allein" - "Die Roy Black Story", Waltz garnered Bavarian and German TV awards and the RTLGolden Lion.
John C Reilly - Michael Longstreet. Academy Award and multi-Golden Globe nominee John C. Reilly has made an impact in both the comedic and dramatic worlds of cinema. He has received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for "Best Supporting Actor" for his standout performance as "Amos Hart" in the Academy Award®-winning film, Chicago. Additionally, for that role, he was named "Best Supporting Actor" by the Las Vegas Film Critics and was nominated by the Chicago Film Critics in the same category. That same year, Reilly starred in two other Academy Award®-nominated films; Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York and Stephen Daldry's The Hours, making it the first time that a single actor had been part of three of the five films in this prestigious category.
Reilly's other Golden Globe nominations were for Columbia Picture'sWalk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story for "Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy" and "Best Original Song - Motion Picture", for Walk Hard which he co-wrote. Furthermore, this song was nominated for "Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media" at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards.
John can be seen currently in Terri which premiered at this years Sundance Film Festival. He also recently co-starred in Cedar Rapids opposite Ed Helms. In 2010, Reilly released Cyrus opposite Marisa Tomei and Jonah Hill, earning him an LFP Spirit Award nomination for Best Male Lead and also a Satellite Award nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy. Directed by Jay and Mark Duplass, Reilly plays "John", a divorced, 40-something who meets "Molly" (Tomei) the woman of his dreams, until he meets her son, "Cyrus" (Hill) who refuses to let him get close with his mother.
In 2008 Reilly reunited with Will Ferrell and producer Judd Apatow in the comedy Step Brothers. Released in July 2008, Step Brothers went to earn over $100 million domestically for Columbia Pictures. Reilly's first film role came in Brian De Palma's 1989 motion picture, Casualties of War. That was followed by appearances in a wide array of films, includingDays of Thunder, Shadows and Fog, We're No Angels, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Hoffa, Georgia, Dolores Claiborne and The River Wild. However, as a regular in director Paul Thomas Anderson's films, Reilly began attracting attention for his roles in Hard Eight, Boogie Nights and Magnolia.
It was in 2002, when Reilly scored well with audiences and critics with acclaimed performances in a number of high-profile films, including The Hours, Gangs of New York and Chicago. His role as Jennifer Aniston's husband in The Good Girl garnered him an LFP Spirit Award nomination.
Other film credits for Reilly include Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, A Prairie Home Companion, Dark Water, The Aviator, Criminal, The Perfect Storm, For Love of the Game, Never Been Kissed, Anger Management, State of Grace and The Thin Red Line.
Reilly returned to his theater roots in 2000 when he starred in Sam Shepard's Tony Award-nominated Broadway production, True West, starring opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman, garnering an Outer Critics Circle Award and Tony Award nomination for "Best Performance by a Leading Actor". In April 2005 he starred in the Broadway production of Tennessee Williams' classic A Streetcar Named Desire. His other stage credits include the Steppenwolf Theater productions of Othello, A Streetcar Named Desire and The Grapes of Wrath where he starred alongside Gary Sinese. In addition, Reilly produced and played the title role in Ionesco's Exit the King at the Actors Gang Theater in Los Angeles.