Actor John C Reilly talks about his role in the new comedy 'Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story'.

Can you tell us a bit about the film for anyone who has not yet heard about it?
John C Reilly:
Well, the film is called 'Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story' and it tells the life story of the musical legend Dewey Cox - and I think that by watching this movie, you will come to love Cox - if you didn't already.

Can you tell us a bit more about the character of Dewey Cox?
Dewey Cox starts out as this guy in Springberry, Alabama - a country boy who's interested in music and has had a somewhat troubled past. He gets involved in music and writes a song called 'Walk Hard', which becomes a huge hit, and like in so many music biopics, the road to fame is a rocky one and has its ups and downs.

We have a lot of fun with musicians' stories in general and we try and incorporate a lot of the rock stories that we have heard over the years, and pour them all in to this one character.

Ironically, by the end of the movie, you end up feeling for this guy – you spend that much time with a person from 14 to 72, you end up caring for the guy, despite us taking the p**s along the way. You can't help but feel for the guy who has been through so much.

Can you tell us a bit about your Irish ancestry?
Well, my father was Irish, and I was raised in a very Irish Catholic household in Chicago - but I have never been to Ireland. I am looking forward to it someday. Maybe someone will invite me to a film festival or something - how about it? Show me a little love here! Chicago is a very Irish city, though, and my family has been here for a very long time, and we're originally from the North. I could tell you a really long story about the Reilly coat of arms, but I will spare you that.

JCR: I have been playing music and performing music since I was a child. I did a lot of musicals as a kid - those were the kind of plays that were going on in my neighbourhood. In my twenties I learned to play the guitar. I always had music around me - it was something I always did as a hobby.

I would always bring a guitar with me on location or when I was travelling, and slowly but surely music came into my acting life, going back to 'Boogie Nights' and 'Chicago'. So it started to crop up. If you have any ability, like if you can tap dance, eventually someone will find out and need you to tap-dance in a movie. I guess the word is out that I can play guitar and sing.

What initially attracted you to the project?
Well Judd Apatow ['Walk Hard' writer and producer] asked me to do it – Judd and I had worked on 'Talladega Nights' together, and I knew he was a brilliant comedic mind. It's not every day that someone says "hey, we've written a movie for you - would you like to star in it?", so it was not exactly a tough decision to make.

What was your favourite scene to shoot?
All the musical performances were great as we had a real audience there and so I would get to play other cover songs in between set ups, so that was fun - getting to film the real performance scenes was great.

Can you tell is about the cameos in the film?
We're loaded with cameos in this film. We have some amazing people, from Ghostface Killah to Jack White of The White Stripes - and a lot of people in between. A lot of great comedy actors are in the film - I mean our four Beatles are Jack Black, Paul Rudd, Jason Schwartzman and Justin Long so those guys had a lot of fun. That seems to be a scene people are identifying with a lot - taking the mickey out of The Beatles!

Watch a trailer for 'Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story' here. The film opens in Ireland on Friday 18 January.