John C. Reilly is best known as an Academy Award-nominated actor, but he has proven that he can do a lot more than that. In recent years he has been additionally active as both a writer and a producer, taking a stronger creative role in the projects of which he is a part. As it turns out, this extends to Walt Disney Animation Studios' Ralph Breaks The Internet as well, as while he's not specifically credited in the movie, he was a presence during film's story development, primarily providing basically a first-hand perspective for the titular character. He recently told me,
I contributed a lot to the story on the first movie, and I think it was a good experience for everybody, so they did invite me back again to participate in the story meetings. And I have to say, the older I get, and the more work I do, the less satisfying it is to just job into something - just go in and stay in your lane and whatever. So I was really honored that they let me come into the story meetings on this movie, because mostly I was there to be like an advocate for Ralph.
As noted, John C. Reilly had an "additional story material by" credit on the first Wreck-It Ralph, and evidently it was a positive enough experience that he was brought in to do similar work for Ralph Breaks The Internet. The subject came up earlier this month when I sat down with the actor/writer during the new movie's Los Angeles press junket, when I asked if he felt he had a stronger creative hand in the development of the sequel. He explained that the experience wasn't largely different from the making of the first film, but added that it was ultimately important in terms of his personal investment into the project.
Reilly, of course, voices the titular Wreck-It Ralph in the new movie, and the majority of the narrative is dedicated to his personal growth as a character (along with Sarah Silverman's Vanellope von Schweetz). Rather than just standing on the sidelines and reading lines presented to him in a recording booth, the actor instead opted to get heavily involved with the process and ensure that Ralph's evolution was natural and made sense. Said Reilly,
As the story was developing, they were deciding how it was going to change and what the new dynamics of the story we're going to be. I was the one who knew Ralph the most because a lot of these discoveries that we made about the character came from inside of me, my own consciousness, and my own heart. So that was a really satisfying, satisfying thing.
And it's worth noting that this behind-the-scenes presence isn't just a one-off thing for John C. Reilly. Not many films are developed like the projects at Walt Disney Animation Studios, written by teams and constantly being constructed and deconstructed, but the actor/writer/producer is still finding ways to be more involved with the movies and shows of which he chooses to be a part. That's essentially where his head is at this point is in his career, as he explained,
I try to do it with all my work now these days, either be part of the producing team, or part of the original creation of the script. It just makes for a more satisfying day at work.
You can watch John C. Reilly discuss his behind-the-scenes contributions on Ralph Breaks The Internet and more by clicking play on the video below!
Just a few months ago John C. Reilly was credited as both an actor and producer for Jacques Audiard's The Sisters Brothers, and he's currently developing a new series called Moonbase 8 (which is an original creation). Right now, though, you can Ralph Breaks The Internet on big screens everywhere, as the movie is now out in wide release.