Humility seems to be one of those traits that’s more like a wisp of smoke. The more you try to grasp at it, the more it tends to stray. When you think of the name Kevin Bacon, the man whose own silver screen legend has commanded a game that expoloits his footprint in the industry, you certainly don’t think of a guy surprised to get a blockbuster casting call.
“I don’t know if this says something about my self-esteem but the first thing I thought when they offered me X-Men: First Class was: who fell out?”
The happy, shining face of Footloose? The Golden-Globe winning, Emmy nominated veteran of over seventy films and counting? Humble in the face of a commissioning? The man is a rock; a foundation in which to build films upon he can support a nuanced cast or hold up the tent poles on his own. The last thing he needs to be is humble, but humble he is. Bacon’s lesson is one learned through forty years in the entertainment business and despite his dearth of experience; Bacon is a team player.
“Matthew (Vaughn, director) screamed at me that I was going too 60s (speaking of the film’s 60s motif). You kind of go, what direction is that? How do I handle that? But in fact he was right…and I got it.”
In Bacon’s latest film, X-Men: First Class, he plays the hideously evil Sebastian Shaw, a Nazi war criminal with special powers that plays the foil to Michael Fassbender’s Magneto character. He’s not one to stray from dark roles; in films like Death Sentence and Stir of Echoes he’s skirted the edges of madness, but a big budget bad guy is something Bacon has never really been in effect of. Without fail he can go from dance, to drama, to comedy as pliant as any actor on the planet and despite his self-effacing assertion, the fact is, it takes belief to generate that kind of prolificacy in front of the camera.
“I don’t think what I’m doing is bad. If I’m really in the skin of the person, I don’t think of myself as a bad guy, I think of myself as a good guy. My perception of the world is one that the humans are a threat to our survival. The megalomaniacal aspect of (Sebastian) is there, but he’s not thinking, “I’m going to do something evil now.”
Kevin’s keen to who he is and his perception in the media. Don’t let the demeanor fool you. Just check out the Logitech Revue commercials that aired late last year in which he played a fan with a certain Bacon obsession. He gets himself and that’s part of the reason he’s a constant working actor. At this stage of his career though, he still gets excited.
“To me it was like a big, kind of playground (referring to the grand sets). I thought that was really fun. The effects are jaw dropping. I had no idea what my own power was really going to look like but I was thrilled. Many of the people that I contacted said to me that they never heard me react to one of my movies like this. It was great.”
As for Kevin’s future in the bad guy business, Kevin remains hopeful but slightly morose.
“I’m signed up but…it doesn’t look too good for me.”