Kevin Bacon Reflects on His Career: “I became an actor because I wanted to explore all sides of the human condition”

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“I’m grateful that the parts that come to me are sort of all over the map. All I ever wanted was to not be pigeonholed.” – Kevin Bacon

Emmy Award-nominated actor Kevin Bacon is familiar to just about everybody because of his extensive filmography, and while he’ll always be associated with his role in Footloose, Bacon has shown remarkable versatility over the course of his career. While speaking to The Guardian, Bacon reveals that it was all by design — and after a few poor decisions early in his career, he’s happy with the roles he gets offered now.

Because Bacon considers himself a generally content guy with his personal life, he feels that might be the reason why he’s interested in acting in darker material. He explains, “I’m drawn to dark things. On some level, it’s therapeutic. I have a marriage that works and I didn’t have a tremendous amount of trauma as a child and yet I feel all human beings have darkness in their souls. Fear and anger and doubt live within us. Part of what I like about my job is tapping into those demons. I became an actor because I wanted to explore all sides of the human condition. Being heroic or handsome or winning the big game – I couldn’t care less about those things! But to go into the darker corners of a man’s psyche is an interesting thing to do.”

Memorably, Bacon’s film debut was in the massive comedy hit National Lampoon’s Animal House. However, it took Bacon several years before he was cast in another substantial film role — and today he blames hat on youthful arrogance. He says, “As a reaction to some kind of insecurity, I was incredibly cocky and unwilling to take any kind of advice. Even though I was in acting school, there was always a part of me that thought it was kind of a waste of time. That I knew pretty much everything there was to know about acting and life and love and the world.”

When he did get cast by casting directors, they would see Bacon in roles that he didn’t see himself in. He recalls, “They would say: ‘You’re gonna be good for the soaps and commercials. You’ll be the boy next door.’ That wasn’t who I felt I was, so I worked hard to be anything but.”

For all his accomplishments on screen, Bacon feels that he’s missed out on regularly collaborating with a particular filmmaker as other actors often do. Bacon says, “I don’t get hired twice by directors all that often. I love it when you see that relationship, that Scorsese, De Niro-type thing. I’ve never had that but I’d love it.” On the other hand, Bacon does feel thankful for the career that he has had over the last three decades. He says, “I’m grateful that the parts that come to me are sort of all over the map. All I ever wanted was to not be pigeonholed.’

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