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THE MOVIE: The Promotion

John C Reilly • Seann William Scott • Jenna Fischer
DIRECTOR: Steve Conrad

Seann William Scott and John C Reilly THE CONCEPT:
Mid-level employee Doug (Scott) seems to have landed the coveted managerial post at the new Donaldson’s supermarket in Chicago – that is, until a dubious new employee from Canada, Richard (Reilly), turns up and ruthlessly competes for the position…

U.S. RELEASE: June 6 2008, Limited • Rated: R


Seann William Scott and John C ReillyThe film has a little bit of an outside perspective on America that feels foreign, but really comes from trying to look at the country that we live in like we were visiting it. The movie doesn’t aim at reality, the means by which Doug and Richard tank each other or wound each other are absurd exaggerations of what might happen in real life. So I think by way of exaggeration I tried to find what might be really American about the movie, and then John’s [Canadian] accent does a lot to get us there too. He equips some of the strangest moments bearing down on that accent in a way that draws attention to the fact that he’s a stranger.”

Seann William Scott and John C Reilly“What appealed to me about this movie was the human aspect of it all. It’s not like it’s some film that’s going to change the world, it’s a very simple movie, but a simple struggle that I think a lot of people can relate to, that’s also funny with a unique voice. It was great for me to have the opportunity to play the real guy, the normal guy that a lot of people can relate to.”

“[Steve Conrad’s] writing in general is so unique. He’s got such a great voice, and he has a way of telling very realistic human stories while still being able to be funny. Some people abandon real human detail when they get into comedy, or some writers that can really write for great drama don’t know how to lighten things up. Steve is able to do both.”

JENNA FISCHER (Jen, Doug’s wife):
“I love Seann, he’s gorgeous. If I’m looking at him I need a fifteen minute break before I look in a mirror because it will just depress me! His features are so perfectly, wonderfully defined, he’s like a Greek God. And then he’s funny, warm, earnest, sensitive and sweet, and he’s a great actor. I hope that this movie will launch him into doing other things like this.”

“Jenna, John and Seann have very good instincts for character, and John really has a perverse imagination. He has a super dark place that his brain goes that mine doesn’t go. And he could come up with these peculiarities that never occurred to me, all of which added to that twisted character of Richard, who is ultimately sweet, but he’s a bundle of weaknesses and flaws.”

“I thought the characters of Doug and Richard were really well-drawn, and even though the movie is funny it’s told with so much sympathy. Steve wasn’t out to make fun of these guys. They’re funny because of the circumstances they’re in, but there’s a lot of affection in the writing for the plight that these guys are facing, you know, having to provide for their families, and trying to get ahead in the world.”

“John C. Reilly is so funny. I basically did what was asked of me, I did what was written. John actually rewrote a lot of stuff and added a lot of stuff. I find him to be one of the funniest, if not the funniest American actor. I might be biased because I’m in the movie with him, but I think this guy is amazing.”

“I feel like the movie at the end of the day is about a person taking a small step up in the world. I wanted it to feel significant, but I tried to keep the comedy measured, because at the end of the day I didn’t want the smallness of the [movie] to be overwhelmed by the comedy. I wanted the feeling of accomplishment at the end to feel important and deserved, and I wanted to honor it.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
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Film Review, #697, Summer 2008 cover

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