A.V. Club: What do you think Marisa Tomei’s character sees in your character?
John C. Reilly: God only knows. I think, not to keep harping on the same thing, on and on, but what she says when she sees me flopping around from person to person at that party where we meet in the movie—she overhears me say something to this girl about how people don’t really see the real me, and I’m actually really fun. I have a lot to give, and I lay my heart out, and then this girl’s like, “I have to make a phone call,” and gets up, and Marisa’s character witnesses that. And so the first thing she says to me is, “I really liked what you said. I think it was really honest and frank.” I think people are like, you get into your 40s—if you’re still looking for somebody, you’ve gone through a lot of different phases of the dating thing, you’re ready to tell the truth. “Let’s not have these illusions. Tell me what’s really going on with you.” I don’t know. I think that can have a real impact on somebody. He’s been working his way through a lot of relationships where people don’t really present their true self up front, you know?
AVC: Something he has in common with a lot of the other characters you’ve played is a vulnerability, and that seems to bring out the maternal side of both Tomei and Catherine Keener’s characters.
JCR: Well Catherine just feels sorry for me. [Laughs.] She’s trying to move on with her life, and I’m like this barnacle on her side who she just can’t help but love. But Marisa’s character definitely—I don’t know. Despite not looking like a matinee idol, I feel like I have a lot to give. I’ve never had any trouble with women. People are always surprised with the romantic aspect of my movies.
AVC: They’re angry that you get the girl.
JCR: “What could she possibly see—that’s not right!”I’m married to a very beautiful woman, and I don’t know.
AVC: What could she see in scum like you?
JR: A lot people like have this weird reaction. “That’s not the way the world works!” It upsets people’s world order, or something. “No, someone who looks like you does not get with someone who looks like her.” Just look around, in life, there’s people who want to date people who look like themselves, and there are people who are just looking for a good fit. And a lot of times, a good fit is someone different than yourself. I’m not one to get too hung up on outside appearances. I find people attractive for more subtle reasons than just the way they look. (via)