John C. Reilly
Character actor, dramatic leading man, or hilarious comic foil? With an astonishing range of roles already under his belt, John C. Reilly has played an eclectic host of rich characters to great effect over the years, from seedy ne'er-do-wells, to lovable, good-natured schlepps. The fifth of six children, John Christopher Reilly was born in Chicago, to a father of mostly Irish descent, and a Lithuanian-American mother, and was brought up on Chicago's tough Southwest territory. His father, also named John, ran an industrial linen supply company business. On the amateur stage from age eight, Reilly trained at the Goodman School of Drama and eventually became a member of Chicago's renowned Steppenwolf Theatre. His film break came with a small role in the Vietnam War drama Casualties of War (1989), wherein Brian De Palma liked his work so much during the early stages that he recast him in a major role by the start of shooting as a soldier bent on rape. Reilly gained momentum throughout the 1990s and showed his dazzling stretch of talent in such films as Days of Thunder (1990), Shadows and Fog (1991), What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993) and The River Wild (1994). He became a major stock player in director Paul Thomas Anderson's films, while finding some of his best roles in Hard Eight (1996) as a compulsive gambler, Boogie Nights (1997) in which he played a narcissistic porn star, and in Magnolia (1999) as a compassionate policeman. He went on to earn further critical points for his role of the soldier sent to the front lines in Terrence Malick's war epic The Thin Red Line (1998). On stage, Reilly has wowed audiences in "The Grapes of Wrath" on Broadway, "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Othello" at Steppenwolf, and earned an Outer Critics Circle Award and Tony nomination for "True West" alongside another impeccable character player Philip Seymour Hoffman. Reilly finally received the film recognition he deserved in 2002 with a slew of choice, high-profile parts in The Hours (2002), The Good Girl (2002), Gangs of New York (2002), and especially Chicago (2002) as the put-upon husband, Amos Hart, who is played for a patsy by murderous wife Roxie (Renée Zellweger). For this last part, he received both Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor. Since then his stock has risen considerably, and he has further widened his cinematic repertoire, appearing in everything from dramatic roles - We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011), Aviator (2004) and Carnage (2011) - to broader comic turns - Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007), Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), Step Brothers (2008), Cyrus (2010) and Cedar Rapids (2011). Most recently, he has voiced the lead in Disney's animated smash Wreck-It Ralph (2012). Reilly is married to producer Alison Dickey.