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About The Production
"We treated Dewey Cox as if he really existed,” says John C. Reilly, who is Dewey Cox in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. The story of a larger-than-life musician whose songs a nation knows by heart, Walk Hard took director/writer/producer Jake Kasdan and writer/producer Judd Apatow on a journey through the behind-the-music stories of their favorite artists. 

"Judd and I love movies about rock stars. We're both huge music geeks,” says Kasdan. "So we made up a fake music legend and wrote a movie about his life story. We knew basically how these movies work, because we've both seen a lot of movies about rock stars. This character would rise and fall many times, he is addicted to pretty much everything you could possibly be addicted to, is in and out of rehab, has many wives, many children. It would be the world's goofiest American epic.”

"This movie also gave me the chance to do a lot of things visually that I had  never done before, in terms of aping the styles of all the great rock movies. Of  course, there are the big elegant biopics we're playing with...But also all of the great black and white '60s rock documentaries, like Don't Look Back and all the Beatles documentaries that would have been released during Dewey's political period. We also mimicked the heightened performance style of some of the Elvis movies. As one giant homage, these movies are really fun to emulate and play around with, especially when you give life to this truly ridiculous character like Dewey Cox. There's even an animated psychedelic sequence! I called up my friend Geoff McFetridge, who's a brilliant and really funny artist, and asked him to do the world's stupidest psychedelic cartoon. We tried to hit all the bases…”

Apatow and Kasdan had previously worked together on Apatow's television series "Undeclared” and "Freaks and Geeks,” as well as Kasdan's feature The TV Set, but this was their first true collaboration as co-writers and producers. Because the two are good friends, working together came naturally. "Every night, my kids would fall asleep at 10 or 11 o'clock, and I'd call Jake and we'd sit on the phone for a few hours making notes of all the things that make us laugh about those movies,” says Apatow. "‘We should do a scene in an African-American nightclub where the dancing is too erotic.' ‘He has to kill his brother – the brother always dies in these movies.' We looked for funny variations on those scenes, and when we had a ton of those ideas, we sat down and laid it all out.”

At the center of Walk Hard is the man himself: Dewey Cox. The filmmakers knew early on that the part required an actor with both the range and the musical ability to pull off such a classic figure – and from the very beginning, the part was written for John C. Reilly.

Apatow had just finished working on the comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby with Reilly, where he had seen the respected dramatic actor show his comedic talents. Remembering his film-stealing rendition of "Mister Cellophane” in his Oscar®-nominated turn in Chicago and his musical performance in A Prairie Home Companion, Apatow and Kasdan also knew that Reilly had the musical chops to bring Dewey Cox to life. 

"When we decided John would be the person to play Dewey Cox, it focused the whole film for us,” says Apatow. "John has a voice like Roy Orbison and he's built like Johnny Cash. He was a great combination of all these people. We met with him early on – before we wrote the script – and told him a little bit about the outline. Then, when we were done with the script, we gave it to John and we begged and begged and begged.”

"I have a lot of music in my background,” says Reilly. "I play guitar and I've had several bands over the years, both blues and rock. I grew up acting in musicals as a kid. When this movie came to me, it was at a perfect moment in

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