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SI: Robert De Niro gained 50 pounds for Raging Bull. Tom Hanks dropped 50 pounds for Cast Away. What kind of a sacrifice was it to grow your hair out to play Dick Vermeil?
SI: Last year you visited the Chiefs' training camp to observe Vermeil. What did you learn about him?
Kinnear: It was one of those bizarre, great, fascinating things about being an actor. More useful than talking to Vermeil was the NFL Films archives. This was the first movie to get the green light from the league since Jerry Maguire, so I had access to all sorts of NFL movies. Some of the speeches I give in the locker room, we just plagiarized right from Vermeil's mouth.
SI: Vermeil asked you to address the Chiefs, didn't he?
Kinnear: A horrible moment. I was standing there trying to dissolve into the woodwork. I'm like, Oh, God, am I now following Dick Vermeil with a speech? I don't know what I said. I basically told the guys that if they were all good to me, I promised not to play him gay.
SI: Is it important to you that Vermeil thinks you got him?
Kinnear: I don't think he cares that much how Hollywood is going to represent his legacy. He's very much in the moment. We were merely a peripheral distraction when I caught up with him last year, and that's an aspect about him that I dug. I don't think he has expectations one way or another. Hopefully, I'll hear from him and not his attorney.
SI: Admit it: You enjoyed wearing the polyester coaches' pants with the white-leather belt, didn't you?
Kinnear: Mark Wahlberg will talk about all the pain and suffering he endured taking hits from these guys on the field, but until you wear hair extensions and green polyester pants, you don't know what pain is.