When I spoke with John C. Reilly about CYRUS on June 22, 2010, the first thing I wanted to ask him about was why the improvisational style used by the Duplass Brothers was so appealing to him. The script is more like an outline, with the actors creating the dialogue on the spot, and the first take usually being the one used in the final cut. It was the jumping off point for Reilly to muse about acting as self-discovery, storytelling from both sides of the camera, and being both funny and scary at the same time.
A man, a woman, her son. Its a situation of jealous hostility explored many times, but never more honestly, more painfully, or with bigger laughs than in Jay and Mark Duplass CYRUS. Made with an improvisational style that perfectly evokes the awkward immediacy of three people working through a new relationship that changes all their lives, it is designed to cause as many cringes in the audience as belly laughs. But, and this is the real genius as work here, its executed in such assured, perceptive fashion as to render them both equally compelling. And entertaining. Yes. Entertaining.
CYRUS embraces the complexity of relationships involving more than two people as it takes on the unexamined life and the tricky task of working out the difference between growth and stagnation. Disturbing, heartening, and with a cautionary vibe and a compassionate heart, this is a film designed to fuel debate and to provide the blessed release of a good laugh when things hit too close to home.