Kevin Bacon won the title role in the new film Hollow Man for one very good reason: He's not a big ol' jerk. The film's director,

Paul Verhoeven, reveals that he could have had his pick of A-list celebs (reportedly including John Travolta), but went with the Footloose actor because of his easygoing reputation.

"I knew that the actor playing Hollow Man, who becomes invisible, was going to have to endure a lot with all the special-effects makeup," Verhoeven tells TV Guide Online. "I didn't want an actor who would be complaining about how difficult it was."

Well, Bacon ? who appears in the flesh for only 20 minutes of the film ? may have been well-behaved while the cameras were rolling, but he now admits the process was a bit of a chore. "I won't say it wasn't tough," sighs the 42-year-old. "First they had to acquire a tremendous amount of information about my face and my body... all of my dimensions ? and I mean all ? were calculated. I was cyberscanned from head to toe. They took tons and tons of video of me running, jumping, hitting, smacking, throwing things. They would put paint graphs on my body... I looked like a board game, all so I could be digitally loaded in the computer. And that was just the beginning.

"But," he adds, "this was a phenomenal opportunity for me. It's not that often that you get to be the special effect!"

Despite all the technical wizardry, Bacon's two children, Travis and Sosie, with actress wife Kyra Sedgwick, weren't all that impressed. "My kids are pretty much uninterested in my movies," he admits. "I don't think they really care that much about it. I mean, they find it sort of amusing, the Hollow Man thing. But basically [it] was something that took me away from them for nine months, and so they have no love lost for it."