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Sunday, May 27, 2018
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Kevin Bacon bits: leftovers from his USF lecture

I went to see actor Kevin Bacon give a lecture at USF last night.

People usually think of him from his iconic role in “Footloose,” I always think of the guy who killed the giant worm in “Tremors” (that’s what happens when you spend your formative years repeatedly watching the same B movies on late-night cable).

Bacon spoke about the beauty of six degrees of separation and his philanthropic work (which you can read about here), but he also answered questions about his long Hollywood career, most of which couldn’t fit in my story.

Here are best leftovers from my notebook that didn’t make it in:


He continued waiting tables after “Animal House.” Even after shooting his debut film role as a snobbish frat boy in the ultimate gross-out/college movie, “I had to ask my restaurant job for the night off so I could go to the premiere,” Bacon said. And when he got there “nobody recognized me.”


While preparing for his role as an Alcatraz prisoner accused of murdering a fellow inmate, “I spent some time locked in an actual cell in complete darkness.”


Even though his character was invisible in “Hollow Man,” he acted in every scene wearing a special jumpsuit and a mask glued to his face. They removed him later. He called it his “most physically challenging role,” with 14 hour days when he couldn’t eat because of the mask. “I usually pride myself on having a lot of patience for the process, but I lost my temper ... I kicked the door off the makeup trailer one day.”


He didn’t realize that “Footloose,” a movie about dancing, was a dancing movie: “I read the script, and the stage directions weren’t that detailed, like at the end of a scene it would just say ‘Ren dances angrily’ ... I didn’t realize how big the dance numbers were, so when they started talking about choreography and dance classes I was like ‘oh, we don’t need that, just turn on a boom box and I’ll start dancing.’”


He turned down a role in the “Footloose” remake. “They wanted me to play his father. I didn’t have a problem with that, but when I read it, the character was just such an (expletive). I ended up passing on it.” Ultimately, the character was cut from the film.


He didn’t want to do TV because he thought it was beneath him. “I was a real snob ... There was a real dividing line between movies and TV.” What changed his mind? “I saw how (James) Gandolfini got to peel back layer after layer with that character (on “The Sopranos”). I said ‘I want a piece of that.’”


The rest of Season Two of “The Following,” which finished shooting last week, is going to “just go crazy,” and someone will die, although, “that’s usually the case on our show,” he said.


He only watches his own movies once, in a theater with the regular public. “If I go to a premiere, I walk the red carpet and go home.”