This is not a tabloid story about a star whose career has seriously gone off the rails, but an explanation of John C. Reilly's facial hair in his next part -- the eccentric Gershon in "The Extra Man."
To summarize -- it's fake, but still highly effective.
"Every day he put that on," co-director Shari Springer Berman told PopcornBiz when inquiring about the prodigious growth. "John had the hair, but he didn't have the beard."
Reilly plays the neighbor of the equally eccentric, but well-groomed Kevin Kline in the movie opening July 30. The hair came with the gig along with the character's extremely high speaking voice. Reilly took both very seriously.
"He wouldn't even block a scene without the beard," says co-director Robert Pulcini.
The well-attached appendage even passed its biggest test: a key scene where Gershon dances on a beach in the winter. The scene was shot on New York beach on one of the windiest, coldest days of the year. "But that thing really held on," says Pulcini. "It was amazing."
The beard also passed the scare-the-hell-out-of-kids tests.
Berman recalls watching Reilly, still in character, walk down the street in New York City off the set. "I saw this little girl run away crying," she says. "She was like 'Mommy!' "
"It was like, 'My God, John is scaring the neighborhood kids."
While it's hard to applaud anything that's not authentic, Reilly does get points for his method-beard acting and just the sheer volume of the creation. So two hairy thumbs up.