Kevin Bacon on ‘The Following’ and Why He Doesn’t Want to Face Surprises in the Scripts

Kevin Bacon in The Following

“Surprise is not so important to me, though. Yes, I have to work that into Ryan, but as an actor, I don’t need that” – Kevin Bacon on The Following


Like his wife Kyra Sedgwick before him, Kevin Bacon made the jump to television with the Fox series The Following. He spoke to Vulture about whether or not the series still feels fresh to him, and why he doesn’t want to face surprises in the scripts as an actor.

Prior to The Following, Bacon was obviously best known for his movie roles, so doing an open-ended TV series was a big change for him. Though he was initially concerned the material would stop feeling fresh, Bacon admits that three seasons in he no longer has that concern. He says, “Because with every season, every episode, really, there are new challenges. And we have new writers this year, so that’s been a lot of fun, exploring that new relationship. In TV, the relationship between the writers and the actors is an important one, let’s put it that way. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, sometimes it’s complicated. Building that character and that arc, I can communicate with the writers and say, ‘Maybe we do it this way, or maybe we add one more scene about this.’ In TV, it’s so critical. So adding new people to the writers’ room, it’s very exciting.

Though Bacon says he’s excited by the surprises coming out of the writer’s room, as an actor he doesn’t believe in surprises. He explains, “Surprise is not so important to me, though. Yes, I have to work that into Ryan, but as an actor, I don’t need that. If you’re doing Hamlet, you know what’s going to happen. So why should television be any different? That said, a lot of times with TV, they don’t tell the actors what’s going to happen. But I’ve kind of fought for that, in a way. It’s important to me. And at this point, I’m pretty clear on where things are going — and these writers, they really rise to the occasion. But also: Every episode is not written in stone. It can morph. Story lines take off, characters take on a life of their own. There’s new ground that you don’t think is ready to be mined, and then suddenly it is. And these days, even audiences will tell you where they want you to go.

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