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Vincent Gallo Was Eager to Play Fighter, Says Director

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    Vincent Gallo was so eager to play a fighter in the new film "Essential Killing" that he immediately began growing a beard for the role, according to its veteran director.

    "The same day he called me," director Jerzy Skolimowski said of Gallo's reaction to reading the script during a question-answer session at Lincoln Center Monday night.

    "[Gallo said] 'Listen. I'm from Buffalo. In Buffalo it's always so cold. I am used to running barefoot in the snow.' He wanted to do this film. I said, 'If you're serious, start to grow a beard.' So he started to grow his hair."

    The veteran Polish director was on hand Monday night to discuss his award-winning film about an Afghan fighter at the Walter Reade Theater in Manhattan. He said he met Gallo at a screening of Francis Ford Coppola's "Teatro," in which the actor starred.

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    "I never thought I would work with him, " he said.

    Gallo quipped:  "After the screening ended I suddenly saw Vincent walking in front of me, and I noticed a certain animalistic quality, something which I could used in this film."