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08/20/2014 03:49 pm ET | Updated Aug 20, 2014

John Lithgow Pulled A Fast One On A Minister For His 'Footloose' Role

It's hard to forgive John Lithgow for trying to cramp Kevin Bacon's style in the 1984 film "Footloose." Rest assured, according to Lithgow himself, little of his character's oppressive nature came to him naturally.

The "Love Is Strange" star said in a HuffPost Live interview on Tuesday that he had to sit down with an "Assembly of God minister" who he found via the Yellow Pages to get into the character of Reverend Shaw Moore.

"If you remember the film, he [Reverend Shaw Moore] had lost a son in a car accident the night of the prom and [there had been] drunken kids getting wild, driving a car off a viaduct. That was the hook for me," Lithgow told host Ricky Camilleri, explaining his character's impetus to place a city-wide ban on dancing.

The actor described the process of turning to a figure of religious authority to prepare for the part.

"I'm not a man who's grown up religious, and I had to find some sort of spine of reality there so I literally went and sought spiritual counseling -- quite cynically, I must say -- from, I think, an Assembly of God minister that I found in the Yellow Pages," he recalled. "I literally said 'I'm very lonely here on location, and I find that people with faith have someone that they can turn to. Can you talk to me about Jesus?'"

While Lithgow felt as though he may have deceived the minister, he came away from the experience enriched.

"It was an incredibly valuable thing to do," he said. "I did feel like a total hypocrite, a snake in the grass, but without that -- this man was extremely kind and very persuasive. That's what I needed to play that part and deliver those sermons."

Catch the rest of what John Lithgow had to tell HuffPost Live here.

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