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Greg Kinnear Interview - Flash of Genius
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Greg Kinnear's character in the movie, at the end of the day, didn't care about money but getting the auto company to admit
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Greg Kinnear Interview - Flash of Genius
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Rebecca Murray from About.com Hollywood Movies at the Los Angeles Industry Screening of Flash of Genius.
Greg Kinnear ('Robert Kearns')

Greg Kinnear: "I don't think the story of the man who invented the intermittent windshield wiper grabs, unfortunately, any of us right away. Trust me, folks, good movie. But what I did do is I've seen these kinds of movies before and it's the guy taking on the big company. And the fact that it was the intermittent windshield wiper and not tainted water or nuclear power plants or something like that kind of made you have to look past the invention and more about the principle of the thing. This was a guy who really fought a great battle based on principle against a very formidable company, in the Ford Motor Company, and won. And you just don't hear that story very often."

I would imagine there's a wealth of information about this story out there, particularly with the real family. Did you talk to them?

Greg Kinnear: "Yeah, the family was available to us. They were on the set. Dr. Kearns died a year before I started this project, unfortunately. I would have loved to have talked to him, although I would have been decidedly nervous with him lingering around the set, quite frankly. But obviously he had passed away but his kids – his six kids, big Irish Catholic family – they were available, as was his wife, Phyllis, who's a firecracker, great woman. So they were kind of all there. Occasionally they stopped by, but they let us have free rein and let us tell the story we wanted to tell. "

I think it was very interesting that it wasn't about the money for him. It was about getting the recognition for what he did. Is that what grabbed you about it?

Greg Kinnear: "Yeah. I think at the end of the day the fact that it was about the principle. He's offered enormous amounts of money in this story. It's pretty amazing how many options he has to bail out of this fight and chooses not to because at the end of the day, it wasn't about money. It was about just getting them, in a small way, to acknowledge that they had taken his idea from him. And I don't know, if you wrote it as kind of a fictional story you'd be like, 'Come on, he'd take the money. He'd take the money and he'd check out of this long ago.' The fact that he didn't is pretty remarkable."

Was it a pretty interesting character arc for you to have to take that journey with him?

Greg Kinnear: "I was really excited to take the journey with him. I was so amazed at his fight and found him to be just a remarkable human being. He's not perfect. He's gruff and complicated, distrustful, a little abrasive. Am I selling him or what? But at the same time he had this underlying decency and this real sense that he was doing something, not only for himself, but in a way for all of us who were affected by this."
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