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Casting The Film
At the center of Walk Hard is Dewey Cox: a musical legend, a man whose experiences are the rock ‘n‘ roll lifestyle writ large. The only man the filmmakers ever considered to play this towering figure was John C. Reilly.

"The big surprise for me is how caught up I got in the guy's story,” says Reilly. "It's a crazy funny script – absurd and over-the-top – but I found myself getting totally caught up in it. When you're in it, it's more than just a joke.”

"Just like we did on Talladega Nights, we improvised many of the scenes,” says Reilly. "I think some of my best stuff comes through the process of collaborating on what we all think is funny, the improv cycle that happens on a movie.”

Jenna Fischer, the Emmy-nominated star of "The Office,” takes on the role of Dewey's long-suffering second wife and backup singer, Darlene. At first, though, the actress had her eye on a different role – Dewey's first wife, Edith, who would be played by Kristen Wiig. "I really prepared to play Edith and memorized everything about her,” Fischer says. "But they didn't really say anything much after I auditioned for Edith, and then Jake asked me to take a look at Darlene. Something happened when I read with John C. Reilly and it all came together.”

eilly and Fischer had just finished another film together called Quebec (set for release early next year) and though they had only a few scenes together, they got to know each other well. Both relished the chance to re-team for Walk Hard.

"She's wonderful and hilarious,” says Reilly. "She has the ability to make something very funny, but also the skills as an actor to make the relationship between Dewey and Darlene very real. She just came in to read and we said, ‘That's the character.'”

Wiig, the "Saturday Night Live” star who had previously worked with Judd Apatow in his film Knocked Up, takes on the role of Edith. "She was just great in Knocked Up,” says Apatow. "She turns on a dime better than anyone on screen. She believes in Dewey one minute and in the next, she tells him dreams can't come true.”

The actress, who comes from an improvisational comedy background as a member of Los Angeles-based troupe The Groundlings, loved the idea that Edith Cox would be along for Dewey's bumpy ride from the beginning.

"Edith and Dewey start out at a very early age together,” says Wiig. "She was the second person in America to have a baby at the age of thirteen, I think. When Dewey's career takes off, she is cast into a world of big cities and bigger houses, while Dewey's life enters one of sin and selfishness. It's a fast turn of events for her, and he eventually leaves her all alone for another woman. I guess it didn't help that she never believed in him and always told him he was a failure.”

In casting Dewey's band, the filmmakers decided to go for the best comedians and actors and give them all a crash course in rock ‘n' roll. 

"Saturday Night Live” alumnus Tim Meadows signed on first as Sam, Dewey's drummer and eventual guide into the horrors of alcohol, drugs, and hanky panky found in the rock ‘n' roll lifestyle on the road. 

"I became involved with the movie by accident,” says Meadows. "I ran into Judd Apatow in a parking lot and we just caught up, shot the breeze. The next day, my agent gets a call telling me that Judd wanted me for this role in his new movie as the drummer in the Dewey Cox band.” 

Meadows was soon joined by fellow former "Saturday Night Live” player Chris Parnell as Theo, the somber bass player, and by Matt Besser (from Comedy Central's "Upright Citizens Brigade”) as the lanky guitarist, Dave. The band was set… all they had to do was learn their instruments. Although they would be synching along with the soundtrack, they all wanted to at least look to the world like they knew what they were pla

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