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John C. Reilly Is One Of The Most Underrated Actors Of Our Time

John C. Reilly Is One Of The Most Underrated Actors Of Our Time

The veteran actor is an master of the comedic stooge or the hapless schmuck but rarely takes the leading role.

Dominic Smithers

Dominic Smithers

There is no doubting John C. Reilly's talent as an actor, but does he get the credit he deserves?

Not blessed with the classic good looks often required to land the lead role in a film, the 53-year-old has instead manufactured a niche for himself as the 'go-to sidekick' - often starring as the comedic stooge or the hapless schmuck.

And that in itself isn't necessarily a bad thing, looking back at his catalogue of films, he's starred in some of the biggest and best movies of the past 30 years; Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Gangs of New York, as well as The Thin Red Line and Hard Eight.

He was even in blockbuster musical, Chicago and was nominated for an Oscar for the best supporting actor.

The list of great films he's been in would rival almost anyone in Hollywood, but he's never been a movie star in the traditional sense of the word, never a stand alone lead in a film, instead always part of a couple; even in two of his biggest comedic roles, whether it's as Dale Doback, in Step Brothers, or Cal Naughton Jr in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby - both of which he plays second fiddle to Will Ferrell - he was the bridesmaid not the bride.

John C. Reilly has forged a career as the comedic stooge.

One of the few films where he has led the line was as the drunken country singer Dewey Cox, in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, which is up there with Step Brothers as one of his best roles - but these have been few and far between.

Over the next few months he has several major films set for release, one being Holmes and Watson, where once again he buddies up with Will Ferrell, he is still very much one of two.

So why is it that he's not being given the chance to portray the main man?

Well, according to the man himself, his looks have had a big impact on how his career has gone and the parts he's been offered, but insists he's not bitter about it and he is finally comfortable in his own skin.

Reilly is often playing second fiddle to Will Ferrell.
Step Brothers/Columbia Pictures

Speaking to GQ, he said: "Number one, things like that don't generally come my way.

"I've finally come to embrace that: This is the way I look, I know I don't look like Brad Pitt. I love Brad Pitt. I really do-he's one of my favorites-but I'm never going to be like that guy. I'm never going to walk in that guy's shoes. This is what I'm like, so I'm here. Some people like what I do, and there's something freeing about that.

"As you get older, this business can kind of typecast you or decide what your limits are for you. So as you get into it, and you're not some new, fresh commodity that everyone's excited to re-interpret for their movie, you start to realize, Well, if I'm going to get more interesting opportunities that challenge me, I'm going to have to start generating them."

But with the likes of western, The Sisters Brothers, earlier this year giving him a central platform, and upcoming children's sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2, Reilly says there are signs that his star is rising, finally.

Reilly said: "It's like suddenly chocolate ice cream becoming wildly popular. I've been here all along. I'm a standard flavor that's been available. I'm not a new flavor. Not the flavor of the month. I'm just chocolate. And goddamn! People like me right now."

Featured Image Credit: Columbia Pictures/PA

Topics: TV and Film, US News, UK Entertainment, US Entertainment