Mysterious phone calls bring Kevin Bacon face-to-face with what may be his biggest threat yet in Fox's 'The Following.' (Fox)
When he was a little boy, actor Kevin Bacon owned a collection of hats. He would suddenly become a new character each time he donned a different hat.
“My mother gave me a costume box; it was just filled with old clothes, remnants, and I would open it up, pull out whatever and become that,” he says.
“I almost never went to the movies as a kid. I started to go when I was 13 or 14. ... But if I would go, I was frustrated being there because it wasn’t enough for me to be watching. I wanted to get home and start being the person I saw on the screen.”
That passion never left him, and at 17 he headed off for New York determined to slip on a new hat whenever he could. For three months he slept on his sister’s couch, but then earned enough as a waiter to squander $150 a month for an apartment.
“I went into a building advertised as an actor-musician-artist residence, and it turned out to be a flop house.
“There was this guy sitting over there and they said, ‘What about this guy (for a roommate)? What do you think?’ I said, ‘Yeah, all right.’ And we lived together for four years. I didn’t know this guy from Adam. I had no idea who he was,” Bacon laughs.
Though he went on to star in classic movies “A Few Good Men,” “Mystic River” and “Footloose,” and in Fox’s absorbing TV thriller, “The Following,” Bacon admits there were times when he suffered second thoughts.
“There were many, many times when I have felt frustrated, starting to lose hope, dreams dashed, terrified of money issues. I have gone through all my money with nothing in the bank, many times. But quit? No, I’m in it for the long haul,” he says.
“I say to young actors: ‘Do something else.’ But if they say, ‘Go to hell,’ that’s the guy who should be an actor.”
Bacon confesses that for most of his career he was a bit of a snob. “When I started out, the last thing I wanted to do was be on a television series,” he says. “There was a real difference between being a television actor and being a movie and stage actor. I did the soaps and then I’m, like, DONE.
“I had no interest in television. I would never audition for a television show. They did a television show of ‘Diner’ and of ‘Animal House,’ both of which I got offered, and both of which I turned down even though I didn’t have a pot to (pee) in. It wasn’t like I had some other great gig. I was probably a waiter when they did the show of ‘Animal House’ for television. But I was a real snob about it.”
After seeing the success of “The Closer,” wife Kyra Sedgwick’s hit series, he changed his mind. Now, as star of “The Following,” Bacon brings some of his hefty talent to the role of the flawed FBI consultant Ryan Hardy, who’s summoned to help solve a horrific murder spree.
Sedgwick and Bacon have made it work together for 25 years. Bacon, 55, says meeting her changed his life. “Our lives are so inter-mingled in so many ways — our children, our families, our homes, our careers, our work. Our paths may never have crossed. Nobody warned me about actresses. I’d dated actresses before her. She’s different. In retrospect it’s funny, because she’s so not caught up in the business and success. She’s way more grounded — even at 22 or 23 — than I was.”
He assumed when they first dated that she knew who he was. He’d already enjoyed a wave of popularity. “She’s like, ‘Dude, I haven’t read about you in the papers. I know you’ve been in stuff.’ She’s not your typical actress. I mean, parts of her are, but it’s been helpful. We have a shorthand, the shared experience. She comes home from work, I say, ‘The day was (expletive) because I did a take and wasn’t that good, now I’m thinking I wish I could go back.’ She gets it.”
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