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

By Adam B. Vary
Updated November 02, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer, ...
Credit: Gemma La Mana

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:

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

  • Movie
  • R
  • 98 minutes
  • Jake Kasdan