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Q & A: Greg Kinnear

The 43-year-old Oscar nominee (As Good As It Gets) plays former NFL coach Dick Vermeil in Invincible, opening on Friday

SI: Robert DeNiro gained 50 pounds for Raging Bull. Tom Hanks dropped 50 pounds for CastAway. What kind of a sacrifice was it to grow your hair out to play DickVermeil?

Kinnear: Just topoint out how little I'll travel for my art, I didn't even grow my hair out.Those are hair extensions passed on from the Joe Namath hair salon in 1976.

SI: Last year youvisited the Chiefs' training camp to observe Vermeil. What did you learn abouthim?

Kinnear: It wasone of those bizarre, great, fascinating things about being an actor. Moreuseful than talking to Vermeil was the NFL Films archives. This was the firstmovie to get the green light from the league since Jerry Maguire, so I hadaccess to all sorts of NFL movies. Some of the speeches I give in the lockerroom, we just plagiarized right from Vermeil's mouth.

SI: Vermeil askedyou to address the Chiefs, didn't he?

Kinnear: Ahorrible moment. I was standing there trying to dissolve into the woodwork. I'mlike, Oh, God, am I now following Dick Vermeil with a speech? I don't know whatI said. I basically told the guys that if they were all good to me, I promisednot to play him gay.

SI: Is itimportant to you that Vermeil thinks you got him?

Kinnear: I don'tthink he cares that much how Hollywood is going to represent his legacy. He'svery much in the moment. We were merely a peripheral distraction when I caughtup with him last year, and that's an aspect about him that I dug. I don't thinkhe has expectations one way or another. Hopefully, I'll hear from him and nothis attorney.

SI: Admit it: Youenjoyed wearing the polyester coaches' pants with the white-leather belt,didn't you?

Kinnear: MarkWahlberg will talk about all the pain and suffering he endured taking hits fromthese guys on the field, but until you wear hair extensions and green polyesterpants, you don't know what pain is.

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