Holiday Movie Preview

First Listen: 'Walk Hard'

Get a sneak preview of the work of musician ''Dewey Cox,'' played by John C. Reilly in the mock biopic co-written by Judd Apatow, due in theatres Dec. 21

John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer, ... | 'LET'S DUET' Jenna Fischer and John C. Reilly belt out lyrics like, ''In my dreams, you're blowin' me...some kisses'' in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox…
Image credit: Gemma La Mana
'LET'S DUET' Jenna Fischer and John C. Reilly belt out lyrics like, ''In my dreams, you're blowin' me...some kisses'' in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

On an impossibly hot day in downtown Los Angeles, John C. Reilly (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby) stands before a mob of demonstrators, sporting a massive Harry Chapin wig, a suede jacket with fringe, and a guitar. He's playing faux music legend Dewey Cox, who's currently going through a protest period. Reilly launches into Cox's newest song with an unmistakable Dylanesque whine: ''Dear Mr. President...I stand for the midget, I stand for the Negro, I stand for the Injun all hopped up on booze.''

The song is just one of 32 written by a platoon of musicians for the mock biopic Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. That's about two hours of music spanning Cox's career, from Roy Orbison rockabilly to epic psychedelia. (Bits from about 20 tunes, including some co-written by Mike Viola, who's married to an EW photo editor, made it into the film.) ''We really wanted the music to be credible,'' says director Jake Kasdan, who co-wrote the script with producer Judd Apatow, ''so that even within this silly movie, if you weren't listening closely, it would seem like a regular song.''

With the music keeping things real, it's up to the lyrics to bring the funny. Take ''Let's Duet.'' It was originally penned as more of a straightforward love song until Kasdan and Apatow suggested loading it up with double entendres. The result is performed on stage by Cox and his future second wife, Darlene (The Office's Jenna Fischer) to a gentle country melody. It evokes Walk the Line, and begins: ''In my dreams, you're blowin' me...some kisses.''

Not exactly Oscar material — right? Well, A Mighty Wind's Mitch & Mickey made it to the big show, so why not Dewey? ''There was a moment where we thought that maybe, if we play this exactly right, we could actually trick [the Academy] into nominating one of the songs,'' chuckles Kasdan. ''We'll see.''

Click the Play button to hear ''Walk Hard,'' the title song from Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story:




See more from the EW 2007 Holiday Movie Preview:
Inside the making of Sweeney Todd
Johnny Depp: EW's extended Q&A with the Sweeney Todd star
Beowulf: High stakes for a 3-D epic
Mr. and Mrs. Noah Baumbach invite you to their Wedding

Originally posted Oct 31, 2007 Published in issue #963 Nov 09, 2007 Order article reprints