Kevin Bacon has a new interview with Haute Living Magazine. He’s promoting his Fox show, The Following, which I HATED. I watched the first season and while there were some interesting moments, the show is a mess and I thought it was sort of beneath Bacon’s talents as an actor. I have high expectations for both Kevin and his wife Kyra Sedgwick. Kyra’s amazing turn on The Closer ranks as one of my favorite female-driven shows in recent memory (Bacon directed several episodes too). Anyway, Bacon’s interview is worth a read because he rarely does in-depth interviews like this and because he’s actually got a lot of interesting stuff to say about life, Hollywood, money and fame. Some highlights:
Being afraid of television work: “People would say, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have a steady gig?’ and I’d say, ‘I don’t want a f****ng steady gig! I want to do this and go here, and play this guy, and this guy, and this guy. [Kyra and I] are road warriors; our kids are road warriors. It’s part of why I was always a little afraid of television. When I started being an actor, the last thing I wanted to do was a TV series. It might be hard for people to remember, but in the 1970s when I started, there were TV actors and movie actors; they weren’t the same. You’d be in television until you’d be able to get a career in movies, and then you’d never look back. I wanted to do stage and movies, but I really didn’t want to do television.”
He loves TV now: “This is the golden age of TV. I love TV. It’s shifting in a really remarkable way. Creatively, it’s gotten better and better….Great writing makes great television. I wanted a good, complicated part—and that’s what television was offering.”
When he decided to do TV, he wanted a cable show: “With my snobbery, I was like, ‘The show has to be on HBO or Showtime.’ Over the course of the years, it could have been AMC or FX, but it definitely couldn’t be network.”
He’s in ‘Black Mass’, the Whitey Bulger film: “I have a supporting part with a really great cast, [including] Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch and Joel Edgerton. Black Mass was an interesting part for me, because I play the boss. Again, I’m an FBI agent—in this case, running the Boston field office. I’m the guy that’s pissed off at the younger agents. I’ve never played this guy before—I’m always the guy that’s getting yelled at by the boss. It was kind of fun, but also kind of a realization that ‘OK, I’m old enough to play the boss.’”
Losing millions in Bernie Madoff’s 2008 Ponzi scheme: “It was a bad day, an absolutely horrible feeling, but you roll up your sleeves and get back to work. There was nothing that I had at that point that my wife and I hadn’t worked very hard for. We kind of said though, ‘Well, our families are OK, the kids are healthy, and we’re healthy; we’ll get back to work.’ What else are you going to do? There are a lot of people who had it a lot worse than we did.”
Learning to really love LA: “For my wife and I, for so many years, a lot of our identity was based on being Hollywood haters. We were like, ‘We’re east coast. We’re New Yorkers. This is just a place that we have to come to, but not by choice’…We had a giant shift in our lives. We were about to leave for the last time—Kyra was done with the show and we were packing up to go… We were having a conversation and Kyra said, ‘I’m really going to miss this.’ I said, ‘I’m really going to miss this too.’ So I called up a real estate broker and found a little house that was literally steps away from the last place we were renting, and now we’re truly bi-coastal. We have realized that we love [Los Angeles] and have really embraced it.”
He’s never been Oscar-nominated: “I go back and forth on it. I kind of feel like, ‘What am I doing wrong?’ Sometimes I think, ‘You’ve just got to let yourself off the hook about it.’ I’m still able to make a living being an actor, and that is a tough thing to do for as many years as I’ve done it; I feel good about that. As much as I would love to have any kind of statue that I could, when people tell me they love the show [it’s enough]. If you could bottle that or put that on your mantle…The awards do afford you opportunities, and that would be something that would be nice to crack. When studios are putting together financing for a movie, they would love nothing better than something that says, ‘Oscar-nominated’ or ‘Oscar-winning.’ Those kind of things open up more doors, and that’s really what you want to do as you get to be my age—you want to keep doors open.”
You know what I love? He mentions “Kyra” or “my wife” about a million times in the interview. They’ve been married for 26 YEARS. And they’ve been good years too, years of raising their children and working on good projects and it’s a life they’ve spent wholly together, as true partners. And after all of that, you can just feel the love between them still.
As for the Oscar stuff… I feel like if someone gives him a really great supporting film role, he will end up getting an Oscar nomination and maybe even winning it, like a lifetime achievement for decades of good work (which is what just happened with JK Simmons).
Bacon also goes on at length about fame and how it’s “99.9% good” to be famous, that famous people are treated differently (better) but that yeah, in some smaller ways it’s sucks. He also drops this quote: “I’ve always said before that there are two kinds of actors: actors that want to be famous, and liars.” Word.
Photos courtesy of Randall Slavin/Haute Living.