Ralph Breaks the Internet is the much anticipated sequel to the 2012 hit Disney animated film, Wreck-It Ralph. The incomparable John C. Reilly returns as the voice of our hero and this time he and his pal Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) break free from the video game world to explore the crazy life of the internet and what it has to offer them.
Our Bonnie Laufer spoke with John C. Reilly in New York about getting the opportunity to play Ralph again and why he holds a special place in his heart. And be sure to read our review of Ralph Breaks the Internet.
Ralph Breaks the Internet opens on Wednesday, November 21st.
ORIGINAL-CIN: Not many people get the opportunity to revisit a character. I would imagine when you found out you’d have a chance to bring Ralph back to life you were ecstatic.
JOHN C. REILLY: “Yeah, it was really cool. This is the first time I have actually made a sequel to one of my films, so I consider it a rare opportunity. I felt really close to Ralph when we made that first film six years ago. I built him from the ground up and he really came from a place in my heart. His sense of humour is my sense of humour, so yeah I was thrilled to be able to get to do it again.”
OC: Seeing how the first film was such a success and audiences really took to Ralph, did you feel a sense of pressure to up your game this time around?
JCR: “I think the pressure is really on the studio and the filmmakers because they’re the ones who have to dazzle people with the new world we see in this movie. I do my part of course, but i felt more like it was a little bit easier in some ways, because I didn't have to figure out all the rules of the universe that they live in.
“We had also figured out the relationship between Ralph and Vanellope, and so in this film it was more of an exploration of their friendship which was pretty fun to do. Sarah and I are pretty close friends and it was fun to get to see her every day and take these characters to a whole new level.”
OC: A lot of actors, when they do voice-over for movies, are stuck in a booth by themselves. But you and Sarah were able to record a lot of your scenes together. How was it working so closely with Sarah? We know that you are a funny guy, but she must have given you a run for your money.
JCR: “Well, yeah I’m a funny guy but looks aren’t everything (Laughs). Sarah is very funny and she has a brilliant comedic mind. That said - although we do a lot of funny stuff like when we’re teasing each other or calling each other goofy names - what we really explored in this movie is the friendship and the intense stuff. Friends aren’t always goofing off. In this one, our friendship is really put to a test. And we explored what a good friend does when one friend is growing in a different direction than them, and how you deal with that.”
OC: How do you define a really good friend?
JCR: “A good friend is someone who is loyal and protective, and someone who says what they say about you the sameway behind you as in front of you. What we show in this film is that the way that Ralph has to be a good friend to Vanellope is to learn to let her go.
“Of course they are going to remain friends and will stay connected, but they are going to spend less time with each other than they did in the past. And it's one of those really familiar moments for people when it's the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new chapter. A lot of time in friendships it takes some adjustment, and those growing pains are what we explore in this movie.”
OC: Most actors typically dress down when they're doing voiceover sessions, but not you!
JCR: “Not me indeed! I like to dress to impress as you can see.
To be honest, I dress like this all the time for better or worse. I feel comfortable in a three piece suit. I'm an eccentric person, what can I say? (Laughs).”
OC: Was there a lot of improvisation when it came to your scenes together?
JCR: “We did do a lot if improvisation, but most of it couldn't be used in a Disney movie (Laughs). We mainly stuck to the script, but sometimes after doing a few takes of what was on the page, we would try it our way just to see what would happen. It was so much fun working with Sarah, we loved having that kind of freedom to try some of our own stuff too.”
OC: As we were discussing, since this film is about letting things go, which one of your films was the hardest to say goodbye to?
JCR: “Well, this one is going to be very hard to say goodbye to, now that I've done two movies with Ralph.”
OC: You might not have to, there could be a third!
JCR: “Good point, but I think before this one, I would say my most recent one, The Sisters Brothers.
“I had to play a cowboy character riding a horse every day being outside in the beautiful landscapes. So that was very hard to leave behind. Not so much the role, but the cowboy life. You know, getting to be outdoors and the unique friendship he had with his horse. That was really cool and such a wonderful experience.
“Having said that, most of the time I'm ready to just move on. You spend about six months obsessing about a character and living in their shoes. Usually after six months, I’m ready to take a vacation or take on something else.”
OC: Speaking of new roles, it’s a good time to be John C. Reilly. You have some exciting films about to open including one where we will see you reuniting with your buddy Will Ferrell.
JCR: “We had way too much fun shooting Holmes and Watson. We shot that in London, England
OC: Has there been any discussion between the two of you about shooting a sequel to your hit movie, Step Brothers?
JCR: “You know, that's just something that other people like to chat about a lot. Funny enough, Will and I don't talk about it very much at all because we're so busy doing other things.
“But you never know. I think we’re going to have to start listening to the world. The world keeps telling us they want another one, so who knows.”
“Our mission was to bring people back to them and help people remember how great Laurel & Hardy were.
“All of their films are actually available on YouTube for free. It’s crazy! So after people are finished reading this interview they need to go watch some Laurel & Hardy on YouTube. They're laugh out loud hysterical.”
OC: One thing that is really fun to watch in the Ralph Breaks the Internet is how the writers and animators take us inside the Internet to show what they think is going on in there. If you could actually go into the internet is there a website that you would want to change or see behind the scenes?
JCR: “That is one of the fun things we play with in the movie, the sort of fantasy version of the backstage of the Internet and what might be happening behind the scenes to make all of these sites, pop ups and viruses work.
“I think I’m happy where I am. I like the real world better than the Internet and would like to focus on going places in the real world where I haven't been.”