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John C. Reilly Tackles Childish Parents In 'Carnage'

John C Reilly Carnage

Posted: 12/19/11 02:29 PM ET

We've seen him play an emotionally stunted stepbrother and a country crooner on the big screen, but now accomplished actor John C. Reilly takes parenting to a childish level in Roman Polanski's "Carnage."

Reilly stars alongside Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz in the film, which centers around two couples who meet after their sons are involved in a fight. However, as their meeting progresses, the parents' behavior becomes increasingly bizarre, and the entire evening turns into utter chaos. (Warning: Vomit is involved.)

The self-effacing Reilly, 46, spoke to The Huffington Post about "Carnage," being a parent in real life, and his love of French cheese.

"Carnage" is based on a play of the same name. Have you ever see it on stage?
No. I was offered to do it on stage a couple of times but it just didn't work out, which turned out to be a lucky thing because I think Roman [Polanski] wanted to start out with a fresh cast.

Do you think the movie mocks "yuppie" parenting?
I don't know if it mocks it; it's satirical and it looks at the hypocrisy of what people say they are and then the way that they're behaving. That's kind of the heart of a lot of satire. I don't know if it's just yuppies that parent that way.

I see a lot of helicopter parenting these days.
I think you end up making weak kids, but it comes from a place of love, so I have a lot of compassion for it too. I think part of it is the modern world. You have less and less time to spend with your kids because of work, so the time that you do spend with them you want to be perfect. That's idealistic and a difficult thing to achieve.

You have two kids. Have you ever run into parents like that?
No, [the characters in the film] are heightened examples of these people. I think, that said, every parent understands when you start talking about your own children and talk to other people about their children, the stakes gets really high, really fast. It's a very intimate relationship, and most parents have big blind spots about their own children because there's a lot of wistful thinking going on. You really wish the very best for your kids and you hope the very best from them. It's a terrifying thing to consider that kids are going to grow up to be something less than what you hoped for.

The last few years you've become Mr. Comedy Guy.
I got really lucky that those opportunities came along. It's not like I had some master plan. It just came my way like most things in an actor's life.

Please take this as a compliment: You play an idiot so well.
It just comes naturally.

Is "Step Brothers" the film you get recognized for the most?
It depends on what kind of movies people are into. It's funny -- I walk through airports and I can usually tell from the way they look what they're going to say. It's profiling, I guess. Frankly, it also depends what's playing on TV. People watch a lot of TV.

You go back and forth so easily between comedy and drama.
I feel really lucky I'm allowed to go back and forth by the audience. I think part of the reason is I just try to stay under the radar and don't go out very much. I promote movies when I have to, but I think having somewhat of a sense of mystery about yourself allows people to accept you in different types of things. It's very rare; it's not lost on me how rare it is when an actor's allowed to do that.

You shot "Carnage" in Paris. Did you enjoy the food?
Yeah, you can tell by how fat I am in the movie. Lots of French cheese being consumed.

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