Kevin Bacon needs no introduction
Though on the off chance you know him best as that bloke off the EE ads, we’re going to give him a quick one anyway: eighties on-screen hero, nineties on-screen villain, now nestled somewhere between the two, the actor continues to impress be it in heavyweight drama or offbeat indies.
The latter of which best explains his latest, Cop Car, in which he stars as the corrupt and twisted sheriff forced to track down his vehicle when it’s taken by a couple of juvenile joy riders barely big enough to see over the steering wheel.
To talk about the film – along with a ludicrous fan theory about Tremors and Footloose, his thoughts on Game of Thrones, and his most bizarre ‘six degrees’ - we phoned the star to see just how Bacon rolls.
You’ve played a lot of ultra-dark roles in the last few years. What attracted you to this one?
Yeah, characters with a dark side aren’t something I shy away from. Some people say it must be so fun to play a bad guy – but to me, they’re not always fun, it takes effort to find them: I’m looking for complicated characters I’ve never played before. It was one of those scripts where I sat down to read it, top to bottom and found the story so tight and well-constructed - even though my character had hardly any dialogue.
Would your 20-year-old self have turned this film down?
Maybe, yeah. When I was younger that’s how I would judge films, on the amount of dialogue my characters had. When I started out I was a busboy, then became a waiter and finally got my first acting job working as an extra, which meant that you had no lines, you were in the background. So I finally got a line. Then all I was hoping for was two lines, and so everything you’ve based your career and life on are how many words you get to say, and that’s not true, it’s bullsh*t. This guy for example is a tricky, complicated man, who when he does speak he’s a liar.
Did you ever have any brushes with the law yourself as a kid?
Outside of parties being busted, I was pretty straight and narrow. I never stole a cop car, let’s put it that way.
The director of this film, Jon Watts, is going to direct the Spider-Man reboot. Would you be interested in taking a part?
Listen, I’m always interested whenever anyone offers me a part [laughs], so why not? I really liked playing the self-made millionaire, Hugh Heffner type in X-Men: First Class, so I know first-hand that there is fun to be had in a superhero films, even though I'm not much of a geek. There’s no real piece of me that’s into fantasy – I’m a reality kinda guy.
So you’re not one of the millions of Game of Thrones addicts?
Well that’s the exception, I do like Game of Thrones.
Would you ever want to join the Lannisters and the Starks and appear in the show?
Oh yeah that’d be fun. It’s interesting when you look at Game of Thrones and see there’s almost no Americans in it at all - I think Peter Dinklage is one of the only guys from here. I know they film it in Malta, or maybe Morocco, Northern Island too, so I’d go along if they asked, sure.
Okay, so where are we at on a new Tremors film?
We’re discussing some possibilities right now, let me say that. In the next few weeks there should be some more news on that. That's all I can say.
There was a rumour that came out that Tremors and Footloose are set in the same universe, did you hear that?
[laughs] wait, what?
In short, the town in Footloose has an irrational fear of dancing because dancing causes tremors, which in turn attract graboids. Can you qualify this for us right now?
Ok, so that’s hilarious. So what you're saying is that the worms are attracted to vibrations and therefore the town had to ban dancing in order to stop attracting them. I’m fully behind that theory, I think it’s great. There you go, we have the ultimate mash-up.
With Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon now a part of pop culture, what’s the oddest one you’ve heard about yourself?
Well, I tell you, this is a pretty horrible one but somebody once connected me in six degrees to John Wilkes Booth. Yes, the guy who assassinated Abraham Lincoln was also an actor. He was acting in the late 1900s, when there were no movies of course, but he did some theatre work with some younger actors who later went onto silent films, and who were then connected to certain actors who eventually got into talkies. So with that, they were able to connect him to me.
Excellent- if slightly horrifying. Is there any living actor you’d like to work with that you already haven’t?
There are a ton of actors I’d like to act alongside and haven’t got around to yet. Too many. I still get star struck from time to time though. I was once on a plane and I was sat across the aisle from Neil Young but I didn’t have the guts to talk to him.
Here in the UK you’re now synonymous with those EE ads. How much random English trivia you actually know?
Oh none, I’m constantly calling them up to ask what things mean. Just yesterday I was doing a voiceover for it and one of the words I had to read was spelt P-R-E-S-S-I-E. And I was immediately like ‘someone’s got to tell me what a ‘Press-y’ is. They eventually told me.
Have you picked up any other odd anglicisms? Do you know what Corrie stands for?
I’ve heard of TOWIE as I needed to talk about getting bejazzled for one ad. Wait, is it Coronation Street, your soap opera? Yeah, I had the occasional frame of reference when doing the commercials but not many. I’d never knew what a ‘Jedward’ was until I met them on Graham Norton’s show, and so when I had to talk about them on the ad, at least I knew who the hell I was taking about. But I love coming to the UK.
What do you get up to over here?
Well until I did X-Men: First Class, and those commercials, I had never really got to work over there, so I'm delighted to be able to do now. Working in the West End had always been a dream that never panned out – and as a New Yorker, London in particular is a natural fit. One of my regular spots is Monmouth Coffee, just great.
And any things you didn’t like?
No one ever tells you how far north you guys are. I’d go onto the soundstage on X-Men around what seemed like mid-morning and come out a few hours later and it would just be dark. Completely dark. The upside of that of course is that it’s light for so long in the summers. There's not much to dislike.
Cop Car is out on digital HD on 5 October and DVD and Blu-ray on 19 October
[Images: Getty, Larry Busacca]