To star opposite Dewey as one of the many love interests, Kasdan and Reilly tapped "The Office's" Jenna Fischer. "She was just incredibly funny and she and John had great comic chemistry, and were really funny together, so that was sort of a no-brainer. So we were sort of writing it to her."
For Reilly, whose previous roles include supporting characters like "Chicago's" Mr. Cellophane and the dopy sidekick to Will Ferrell in "Talladega Nights," "Walk Hard" presented a unique opportunity.
"I'm sort of pathologically modest. So whenever people try to say like 'Oh you're the big star, the lead, your face is everywhere!' I just go 'Oh I haven't seen the poster, I don't know.' I just think that's better."
Biopics are hardly light experiences, but "Walk Hard" treads the line between comedy and a heavier side. Kasdan refers to the film as a "combination of this very rigid thing and this loose ridiculous thing. That tension is kind of what the movie is like." He reflects that "the most satisfying moments are when we get people to care for a moment and then we take these left turns back into laughter."
This balance puts them into a rarely occupied filmmaking niche, and it is that tension that Reilly and Kasdan hope will hit the jackpot with moviegoers.
"There are a lot of great movies out this year in this holiday season that deal with very serious subjects. Stuff that I think people ought to be thinking about or looking at," Reilly said. Kasdan jumped in: "Not when they come to see 'Walk Hard'!"
Reilly agreed, explaining: "We offer the palette cleanser. Between your war drama or your horrible tragedy, come and enjoy yourselves for a few minutes. We promise you will laugh at something."