Yes, the bacon is very crispy. Yes, according to a viral theory years ago, everyone is six degrees apart from him at most. Yes, it is Kevin Bacon (Philadelphia, 62 years old), famous, despite himself, for such trivial things as that. “Famous for being famous,” he says almost ruefully. For more than 40 years, he has been working on film, television, theater and music, and the first thing people ask him or bring up are these anecdotes instead of his work on first-rate plays directed by Clint Eastwood in Mystic River (2003) on Oliver Stone and JFK (1991). On Tremors (1990) o en I Love Dick (2017-2018), the series based on the novel by Chris Kraus. In a hurry, he prefers to even talk about Footloose (1984), that film about adolescents who danced against municipal regulations and which was his first and indelible success (yes, he continues to pay the dj’s so they don’t put the Kenny Loggins song on the soundtrack when they see him show up.)
Kevin Bacon is preceded by his name. And that he left Hollywood when Footloose it was still one of the top ten blockbusters of the year. He wanted to be a “character actor”, a respected guy. He rejected the hollow leads and stuck with the juicy supporting characters, a strategy that many would call suicidal, but which has given him personal peace of mind and professional longevity. Keep working at the rate of several titles a year. He has been married for 33 to the same woman, also actress Kyra Sedgwick.
Bacon appears open and friendly to us. Answer on Zoom, in front of a shelf full of homemade VHS from the 90s, from his farm in upstate New York. It expands on your answers. It is transparent and close. It still does not connect with the current cult of fame. He remembers that he wanted to be famous once, and he suspects that it was due to the fact that he was the youngest of six children. “Not only was he the youngest, but there was a great distance between them and me,” he recalls. “My parents had five children in a row, eight years passed and suddenly I appeared. I don’t know what was before, if the chicken or the egg… but before I knew what it was to be an actor, I remember that I wanted to be seen, to be paid attention to, I wanted to act. You don’t get into the job of acting if it’s not for people to see what you’re doing ”.
He left for New York at the age of 17 in search of what he hates today, being a star. “People are surprised when I admit it, but that’s the way it is: fame called me. And money, and women. I wanted my magazine covers, I dreamed of seeing my name on giant posters, ”he continues. He started studying acting and that changed everything. “Obviously, I still wanted to remain famous, I don’t hide that, but I got hooked on acting from a creative point of view. Suddenly, my dream became just being a good actor. I realized that neither I was very good nor fame was easy, so I was going to have to work piecemeal to achieve it. Success became secondary ”.
My head was full of myths and references: Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Martin Scorsese, Sidney Lumet, Brian de Palma… “I wanted to be an actor from New York, not one who lived in Los Angeles. It was something that was decided then: to stay in New York to do theater as well as film ”. But the call came from Hollywood and with it, Footloose: youth cinema eighties with a rebellious spirit, spectacular choreography, catchy choruses, a muscular and sensitive working-class and rural hero. Bacon was, suddenly, the star that the decade seemed to ask for.
“I did not like anything. There’s no way to describe fame, or all that attention, to someone who hasn’t experienced it. It’s not just the fact that everyone knows you, it’s something else. A nightmare ”, he remembers. His solution was to turn his back on everything. “I don’t know, I rebelled against that, maybe I wasn’t ready yet, even though I was already 24 years old. I think it was partly because of the names that inspired me, those icons of the seventies. Footloose it was one game pop of the eighties, it was not Oscar cinema, but the most frivolous of the frivolous. There was also some naivety on my part in all this, because if you participate in something that ends up being part of the zeitgeist, of popular culture, you better accept it. You can always hang the medallion later on. I do not regret having rejected everything … It is part of the process, you learn from everything ”.
Was it courage or ignorance? Being brave and ignorant go hand in hand, right? I have also made very bad decisions. But everything has ended well and I prefer to look forward.
He has been watching Hollywood from the outside for decades. Has the Me Too era made it a better place? It has changed a lot. And look, I’ve been hearing that phrase for years, that of “the business has changed.” I started in 1977, when there were still people who had worked in the forties and fifties, and they said it on VHS or DVD. Now I am the chive grandfather who says that the business has changed. Thanks to Me Too, it’s a better place. Safety is prioritized: a shoot should not be a traumatic or painful experience. All you have to do is set foot on a set. On City on a Hill [la serie que emite Movistar +] we make a romantic scene and, even if there are no nudes, we have a coach of privacy. Then social networks have their good part and their bad part. It’s ridiculous for someone to get a role because of their number of followers, but if they get it that way and it ends up being good, great. Each one has its own way of arriving. And the good thing is that digitization allows any young person with a desire to write and direct a short film, a film …
Her daughter Sosie is doing well as an actress, lately thanks to the series Mare of Easttown. But you didn’t want him to do this. We never told him literally, but there was a good reason: although both my wife and I are successful in that profession, we know that being an actor implies incredible competitiveness, that for every role you get you have been told no a hundred times. And then, especially as a young woman, you are going to be judged in a terrible way, both physically and verbally. We wanted to protect her from all that. But we never told him. When she announced that she wanted to be an actress, we supported her like our parents had supported us.
Bacon has benefited from the digitization of the industry. Scripts for small projects come to him, or calls from new directors who remember him for key supporters. “If you look at my filmography, it is what there is more in recent years, and not by chance,” he says. “I want to support that type of cinema and they offer me more diverse opportunities. It also means I don’t have to wait for the phone to ring for a $ 50 million or $ 100 million project to get a villain slip. “
The explosion of digital platforms has also opened the doors to the world of television. At first I looked at him suspiciously. It seemed to him “a cemetery.” He saw his wife triumph in the series The Closer (2005-2012). Dared with I Love Dick and The Following (2013-2015). And now it has added City on a Hill, a thriller police officer who has just confirmed a third season. He plays Jackie Rohr, a very old school Boston detective: corrupt, racist, abusive and a victim of addictions. Someone quite dark. Even for Kevin Bacon? “There are actors who don’t want to be seen in a certain way on screen. It does not scare me, I am very clear about what the character I play is and who I am. In fact, I’ve never played anyone who looked much like me. I am attracted to characters totally opposite to my way of being. Because that’s what I’ve always thought about what acting means: being a professional phony. “
The actor has also found another outlet for his creativity: Instagram and TikTok, which have given him another – the umpteenth – minute of fame. On these platforms he promotes his work as an actor or as a musician: in October, for example, he released a new album with the group he has with his brother, The Bacon Brothers. He also takes advantage of them to share recipes, record himself singing to his goats or play pranks on his daughter. “I reluctantly entered because I needed it for our NGO, Six Degrees [Seis grados, ¿lo pillan?], and someone told me that if I was not going to do it well, I’d better quit, “he explains. “I am creative, if I am out of work I do not sit on the sofa to read. To be honest, I don’t like to read ”.
It is also a way to beat the midlife crisis. That which, by the way, he shares with the diabolical Jackie Rohr. He takes it differently. “When you get to 50 or 60, you fear losing the power you have and you ask yourself what ways there are to remain relevant. There are people who choose not to fight for it and spend their time playing golf or tending a garden or whatever they employ in retirement. Jackie is not that kind of guy and as an actor I completely identify with it. I want to go on and on. Without work I would get tired and depressed ”.
He says his best movie is yet to come. But he is able to point out some favorites, such as Diner (1982), JFK (“It was one of the ones that changed my career the most”), Mystic River, Murder in the first degree (1995), Apolo 13 (1995), Tremors … “I hope that in the almost one hundred titles that I have done, there are at least ten good ones.”
Have you had a good life? I am tremendously grateful. At one point in your life, you hit a fork: gratitude or bitterness. I have chosen to be grateful.
Don’t you have moments of bitterness? Yeah right. Every day, every day. Why didn’t I get that part … Comparisons are hideous. It is very easy to fall into envy, of course it happens in my work, perhaps in others as well, but here, envy … Nothing happens, we are human.
Realization: Beverly Nguyen. Makeup and Hairstyling: Melissa Dezarate and Leela Veeravalli (Kalpana NY). Photography assistance: Timothy Mahoney. Styling Assistant: Amanda Burkett. Digital Technician: Robert Wagoner. Executive production: Sara Zion. Production coordination on set: Alec Charlip.
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Kevin Bacon: “There is no way to describe fame to someone who has not experienced it. It’s a nightmare ”| ICON