John C. Reilly on ‘Moonbase 8’s Dim-Witted Trio of Astronauts

Moonbase 8 - John C. Reilly
Merie Wallace/SHOWTIME

John C. Reilly was stoked to suit up in space gear for Moonbase 8…until he had to wear the costume under the blazing California sun.

“[I was] like, ‘I have to sit down and drink some cold water or I’m going to faint,'” he recalls. It’s the kind of expectation-vs.-reality scenario his character, Robert “Cap” Caputo, could easily find himself in on the workplace comedy. Cap and fellow inept NASA astronauts Michael “Skip” Henai (Fred Armisen) and Scott “Rook” Sloan (Tim Heidecker) bumble through life in a simulated lunar colony in Arizona to prepare for a mission to the moon. Reilly, who created the series with his costars, tells us more.

How did this come about?

John C. Reilly: The three of us started texting, pitching ideas, like, “What can we do [together]?” I was always intrigued by these science experiment scenarios. There’s something inherently funny about pretending you’re on the moon. There’s a childlike fantasy element to it.

Was it always the plan to make the trio a little, I don’t want to say dim, but…

You can say dim. Pretty much every episode, someone comes through who’s [more] capable and intelligent and physically fit and they’re great candidates for a space program. The comedy comes from us working off people like that.

moonbase 8 john c. reilly

(Credit: A24 Films/SHOWTIME)

Like the crew from Space-X, whom the guys desperately want to impress.

I like how insecure they are. When you feel like other people are better than you, it can be really pathetic and really funny at the same time.

Did you guys laugh and break character a lot when cameras were rolling?

Yeah, pretty much every take would end with somebody doing something absurd.

Moonbase 8, Series Premiere, Sunday, November 8, 11/10c, Showtime