Kevin Bacon talks ‘The Following’ and the Challenges of Working in Television
Kevin Bacon is such a staple of Hollywood movies that the old “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game is something you can find out instantly from Google. So many were surprised when it was announced that Bacon would be starring in a television series for the first time (that is, unless you count his seven episode stint on Guiding Light back in 1980). But Bacon’s series, The Following, is no simple sitcom or drama — it is a thriller in which Bacon plays a former FBI agent on the trail of a serial killer, played by James Purefoy and has been called the “goriest” television series on network television.
In an interview with New York Magazine, Bacon talked about why he chose to star in a television series of that nature and what he learned about starring in a TV series from his wife.
Initially, Bacon pointed out that as an actor he dislikes when people say actors only have “chemistry” with certain other actors. He explains why by pointing out, “Chemistry is a word that’s always been slightly insulting… It sort of implies that it’s not possible to act like you love someone or you’re friends with someone. To me, it’s always just a question of two actors talking and listening to each other, and good material.”
On why he would choose to star in a television series that is being called the most violent on broadcast television, Bacon says, “I’ve done a lot of different kinds of movies, played a lot of different kinds of parts. I was in the very first Friday the 13th. I’ve been in silly movies and romantic movies and historic movies. My focus is to play the part with as much honesty and integrity as I can and to explore what I want to explore as an actor. When I go home, I try to raise my children with honesty and integrity and teach them to take care of the world and of each other. I try to show compassion to people I come into contact with and try to put good out, as much good as I can. But that’s my life, that’s not my work. With my work, my job is to walk in another man’s shoes.”
Though Bacon is making a major shift from films to television, he points to his wife Kyra Sedgwick‘s role on The Closer, which recently wrapped up its seven-season run, as something that prepared him for the time consuming nature of television production. He admits, “I didn’t go into it blind. I knew what the challenges were. I used to run so many lines with her on The Closer. Just constantly running lines. She even had a six-day-a-week line-runner who was on the set all the time and on Saturdays. The difference is my character is more of the strong, silent type. She would have massive, massive long speeches. I don’t know how she did it. I’m also not in every scene, so that’s different. I can catch up a little bit.”