Scanner

‘Cyrus’ Features The Year’s Best Romance, Dick Jokes, Shower Scenes

Pin it

Jonah Hill and John C. Reilly"Cyrus," opening this Friday, is a lo-fi comedy-romance starring John C. Reilly and Marisa Tomei as 40-somethings with baggage and Jonah Hill as the mama’s boy who tries to drive them apart. With its endless parade of classic scenes, including one of the best entrance lines in movies (Tomei’s) and the creepiest-funniest shower scene you can imagine, it’s poised to be the word-of-mouth, smaller-scale Hangover of the summer.

I interviewed Hill and Reilly at South By Southwest this year, and had dozens of questions for them, especially about the already much-talked-about scene in which Hill’s character appears to deliberately torment Reilly’s protagonist with a bizarre kebyoard serenade.

"I do play the keyboards, Devandra," Hill explains, referring to me by my John C. Reilly-designed nickname, Devandra Banhart. "The New Age-type World musician was something Mark and Jay [Duplass, the directors] created and I was down with it 100%, but my big thing was I don’t want the music to feel jokey. I don’t want it to feel like you hear his music for the first time and it’s some big cartoonish joke. The joke is how uncomfortable it is to play music for a stranger and look at him in the eyes the whole time and use it as an intimidation tactic."

(The bit actually works, but I won’t give away why. That would be ruining one of the year’s funniest scenes.)

As hilarious as the movie is, Hill says he had to tackle it like a drama out of real life: "I definitely approached this strictly as if everything was seriously happening, never once thinking ‘I should riff a joke in this pocket.’ It was just about riffing on the emotions that come out in a conversation."

Asked if the era of the John C. Reilly leading man role is at hand, the Oscar nominee says, "Is there such an era?" I tell him I think it’s always been. "I hope so, Devandra," he says, not quite believing it. "I like doing parts like this. I think there’s lots of people out there with strong feelings whose stories don’t get told." He adds to the middle-aged guy sitting next to him: "You know what I’m talking about, right?"

Image.