Pop Culture

'Bears' star John C. Reilly: 'I once robbed cereal boxes from a freight train'

Long before John C. Reilly was an Oscar-nominated actor and the hilarious narrator for the new "Bears" documentary, he was a cereal thief.

"I once robbed cereal boxes from a freight train," he revealed on TODAY Friday while playing two truths and a lie.

"There's a train line that ran through my neighborhood when I was a kid, and we used to go up there where we weren't supposed to be," he explained. "And one night they stopped the train on the tracks, and my friend said, 'Let's go break open that box car,' and we're like, 'All right.' So we took a rock and smashed the padlock and opened it up, and from floor to ceiling was Sugar Corn Pops. We unloaded about 200 boxes."

But, he warned, "Don't do this, kids. ... It's a felony to break into a freight train."

Lesson learned. These days, Reilly (who also starred as the key voice in "Wreck-It Ralph") is lending his voice to the new Disney live-action documentary about Alaskan bears. He loved being able to do it, because while he does provide play-by-play commentary, often he's expressing what might be in the bears' minds.

"My job was to kind of just respond to what I was seeing, try to, like, think of what the bears might be thinking ... in some cases putting words in their mouths," he said.

According to TODAY's Willie Geist, one of the film's directors likened the former cereal thief to a bear, which Reilly seemed to agree with. "If you've ever seen me come out of hibernation, you'll know why people think I'm bearlike," he said.

"Bears" opens in theaters on April 18.