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John C. Reilly does double duty in two buddy movies

The character actor takes on the roles of Watson, Sherlock Holmes' sidekick, and Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel's comedy partner.

John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell in "Holmes

John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell in "Holmes & Watson," at left, and Steve Coogan and Reilly in "Stan & Ollie." Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures/ Sony Pictures Classics

John C. Reilly stars in two buddy movies opening this month, each with an uncommon take on their subjects.

 “Holmes and Watson,” opening Dec. 25, is a raucous comedy about the (usually cerebral) fictional detective Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick, Dr. John Watson (played by Reilly).

 “Stan and Ollie,” a dramedy out Dec.30 in limited release, reveals the serious, real-life relationship of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy (Reilly), the beloved comedy team whose mannerisms and classic routines are painstakingly reproduced.

 For Reilly, it’s a study in opposites.

  “Unlike Holmes and Watson, [the characters Laurel and Hardy played in their films] were often mystified by the people and inanimate objects around them, and they always came up short — just the two of them against the world,” says film expert Larry Wolff of Islip

  For moviegoers, it’s a chance to see Reilly inhabit two very distinct worlds.

'HOLMES & WATSON'

CO-STAR Will Ferrell as Holmes was also Reilly’s partner on the outrageous “Talladega Nights” and “Step Brothers.” 

LOVE INTEREST Rebecca Hall as a female physician wooed during a meet-cute autopsy.

SUITS Tweed. “It’s like the cargo shorts of England,” he said recently.

'STAN & OLLIE'

CO-STAR Steve Coogan as Laurel also appears in “Holmes & Watson.”

LOVE INTEREST Shirley Henderson (Moaning Myrtle of “Harry Potter” films) as Hardy’s devoted wife.

SUITS Fat. Prosthetic jowls and mounds of reticulated foam around the torso required four hours in the makeup chair each shoot day and was so warm they had to plug Reilly into an ice machine between takes.

 Reilly knows he’ll be scrutinized by fans, like the Baker Street Irregulars, the oldest literary society of Sherlock enthusiasts (founded by bestselling Roslyn Estates author Christopher Morley in 1934).  Or Sons of the Desert, an international Laurel & Hardy fan club named for one of their popular films, with a LI tent, or chapter, led by Wolff and Lake Ronkonkoma resident Dennis Carter Jr. (Meets six times a year at the Community Presbyterian Church of Deer Park.)

“Laurel and Hardy were not just two actors hired to work together to make a movie,” says Carter. “They were friends having fun, making people laugh.”

Such camaraderie fuels all buddy films.

“We’re having a great time,” said Reilly, speaking of his reunion with Ferrell in a recent interview. “If you can engineer a job where you get to work with your actual friends, it’s a great thing. I highly recommend it.”                      

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