John C. Reilly is a character actor, and while he isn’t known for a specific role, he’s given life to many characters over his long career. From the sidekick to the protagonist, from big studio blockbusters to independent artistic pieces, he values variety, and he’s done it all. And it started in 1989, with Brian De Palma’s war drama, Casualties of War.
Reilly also is an Academy Award nominee for his role in the 2003 musical Chicago and he was actually born in the city of the same name. He is active as a comedian, screenwriter, musician, and producer, but these are all the well-known facts about this great artist and performer. What about the more interesting things that aren’t as well known?
He’s Real-Life Friends With Will Ferrell
Reilly and Ferrell have starred in many movies together and judging by the chemistry between these two hilarious performers, one might guess that their relationship goes beyond the big screen. And they’d be correct! John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell have been best friends for over a decade since they met through Saturday Night Live’s alum, Molly Shannon.
The two men openly talk about their friendship and how much they enjoy each other’s company. Reilly has said the two comedy legends liked each other from the get-go and that the first time they worked together made them realize that their life purpose was to collaborate to make people laugh.
He Left A Set In Protest Because Of A Donkey
John C. Reilly was part of the initial cast for Lars von Trier’s Manderlay, the sequel to the successful Dogville. However, the actor chose to walk off the set, in protest, after finding out a donkey would be sacrificed for a scene. Later, the movie’s executive producer, Peter Aalbaek Jensen, guaranteed that the donkey was old and the killing, accompanied by a veterinarian, was humane. But that wasn’t enough for Reilly.
Although this a well-known fact, John C. Reilly has never publicly talked about it. And he wasn’t the only one to drop out of the movie. Big star Nicole Kidman was initially set to replay her role as Grace, but had to leave the project due to a conflict in her schedule.
He Had To Add His Middle Initial
He is known as John C. Reilly, but do you know what the “C” stands for? It stands for Cristopher, and his middle name doesn’t help differentiate between his and his father’s name, but also from another actor named John Reilly.
When John Cristopher Reilly was admitted to the Screen Actor’s Guild, the organization already had someone with the same name and required Reilly to add his middle initial to his name to set them apart. It worked well for him because he is far better known than the first John Reilly.
He Is A Great Singer
When a comedian sings, people expect to laugh. But in Reilly’s case, they’d be laughing at their own failed expectations because this accomplished musician is actually a great singer. And he can rap too!
Fans have already seen Reilly perform musically in movies like Chicago and the musical biopic Walk Hard, but Reilly also has a band called John Reilly and Friends and they’ve recorded two songs produced by Jack White, and been nominated for both a Grammy and a Tony Award.
He’s A White Sox Fan
As a good Chicagoan, Reilly loves the Chicago White Sox baseball team. He’s been a fan of the game and the team since a kid and used to watch matches with his brothers. Reilly joins the list of famous White Sox supporters that includes President Barack Obama, Michael Jordan, Jerry Springer, and others.
Ironically, in the 2017 movie Kong: Skull Island, Reilly played the role of Hank Marlow, a Chicago Cubs aficionado. Stuck on the island, Reilly’s character reminisces about Wrigley Field and the actor admitted it was funny to pretend to support the White Sox’s rival team.
He Practices Transcendental Meditation
The Transcendental Meditation technique was developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and is a form of silent mantra meditation. John C. Reilly practices it twice a day, every day. He got his inspiration to do so from the movie director, David Lynch.
He Identifies With His Irish Roots
Jonh C. Reilly was born and raised in Chicago by an Irish and Scottish father and a Lithuanian mother. He was raised in an Irish neighborhood on the South Side, and his father was so proud of his ancestry that he made sure the love passed on to the next generation.
Reilly loves the country and has been trying to achieve dual American-Irish citizenship for a few years now. According to DublinLive, Reilly and his family’s best vacation took place in a castle not far from the Cliffs of Moher, and he would love to move to Ireland after retiring from Hollywood.
He Is Happily Married With Two Sons
Reilly doesn’t talk a lot about his private life, but he is happily married to independent film producer Alison Dickey, and the couple have two sons born in 1998 and 2001. Reilly and Dickey met in Thailand on the set of Casualties of War. They were married three years later, in 1992, and have been together ever since.
The two are also producing partners. In 2018, they released the drama The Sisters Brothers, in which Reilly also stars, next to Joaquim Phoenix and Jake Gyllenhaal.
His Son Is A Rising Star
If you’re on TikTok, you probably know Leo Reilly, Jonh C. Reilly’s oldest son. Leo, aka @loveleo, is 22 years old and has almost 1 million followers on the platform. He posts on a variety of topics, but his own musical experience is a recurring theme. Leo Reilly looks nothing like his father, and most of his pictures online are stylish fashion-focused photos.
Leo Reilly has great photoshop skills, works as a fashion model, is signed with Republic Records and has even released two singles.
He Loves To Be Surprising
It’s common in Hollywood for actors and performers to be typecast. Once they do well in one type of role, that same archetype is repeated to exhaustion. But John C. Reilly is one of the actors who has done a large variety of roles and can’t be placed in one box. He’s a well-known comedian, but he’s also a dramatic actor and has even impersonated a Disney animated ex-villain. And this variety in roles is no coincidence.
Reilly likes to explore the whole spectrum of his acting talent and loves to surprise fans and himself with projects that no one would imagine he’d do. His wife, Alison Dickey, also approves of him exploring his talent and showing the world the whole Reilly palette.