LOS ANGELES (AP) — Playing Oliver Hardy, the large comic with the even larger persona, was a burden that became a mission for John C. Reilly.

Reilly told The Associated Press it was a “terrifying prospect” to accept the role in “Stan & Ollie” that earned him a Golden Globe nomination.

The film, which stars Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel, will be released in the U.S. Friday.

Reilly’s research made him feel a special connection to Hardy and insisted the fat suit he wore actually be heavy to feel real. He says “it was a lot every day to carry” and eventually regretting doing it.

And when Reilly learned the legendary comedy duo was largely forgotten late in their lives, he felt he had to preserve their memory and “do it for Oliver.”