So far so good: posters and images of his movie can be seen everywhere--bare-chested Dewey Cox, a la Jim Morrison, with a callow expression. And co-writer/director Jake Kasdan has the fortune of telling his story. (Yeah, we know it's John C. Reilly beneath the Buddha beads, but let's pretend it's Dewey for now.)
Director of The TV Set and Orange County, Kasdan does not shy away from comedic material that borderlines on send-up humor, and yet is grounded by an informed, jaded and caustic look at the intersection point where creative types butt heads with larger, corporate institutions. Perhaps his sensibility stems from being the progeny of filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Return of the Jedi (1983) fame.
Regardless, Kasdan's collaborations with Judd Apatow dating back 2000 have given rise to many cinematic side-splitters, including this biopic that's taking the country by storm: Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.
Hollywood.com: John C. Reilly really committed to the music in this film...
Jake Kasdan: In the whole movie! That’s the thing about what John does that is so completely insane--it’s the most completely committed performance of something totally preposterous. It doesn’t matter how ridiculous what’s going on is--he plays it as though it’s actually happening and with the same kind of process and attack that he’d bring to The Hours or a real movie.
HW: Do you feel you built a cast of strong women around John?
JK: Yes, we sort of made the choice early on that we need to surround him with great improvisationalists--and Kristen [Wiig] and Jenna [Fischer] are both hilarious and incredibly good on their feet and could hang with John, scene for scene, and make it better.
HW: Did you have a particular biopic musical in mind when working on this film?
JK: It was the whole genre that was the intention--it seemed like there were a lot of biopics in a short time. It sort of had this funny thing that they would take these different people’s extraordinary lives and cram them into a 90-minute movie that sort of makes these extraordinary lives seem sort of similar, because they have these similar conventions to just bring them into a three-act structure of a Hollywood movie ... These tricks that would recur that we would see [in biopics] how people were solving those problems--we just thought were so funny.
HW: Of all the biopics you've seen, which one stands out to you most--and why?
JK: I saw La Bomba about a 100 times. I don’t know why, I just watched it over and over again. I love The Buddy Holly Story. I think Walk the Line is great, it’s romantic and sweet and the music is really good. The music is always really good is the other thing. I will go these movies the opening weekend any time. When somebody eventually does the Steely Dan biopic, I will be there!
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story opens in theaters December 21st