Veteran American actor on his eerie new crime series The Following
You don’t need to be familiar with trivia game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon to know that the 54-year-old US actor has covered most genres throughout his career. Yet this is Bacon’s first dash at regular TV. In Fox’s new thriller The Following, he plays ex-FBI agent Ryan Hardy, who’s brought in to stop a serial killer who is communicating with other sadists to inspire a cult of murderers. Here, we chat to the actor to get the lowdown.
We enjoyed the first few episodes, though ‘enjoy’ might not be the right word. They’re creepy as ever. What do you think?
I’m really happy with them. I’m new to this TV thing, at least as an actor. It’s a challenge. I have to adjust to the changing directors every week. I tend to establish with a director – and then two days later he’s gone.
Given his deep emotional connection with the killer, Ryan blurs the good guy/bad guy line.
I wanted to do something heroic if I was going to be on TV. And the first thing that appeals to me once I’ve decided I don’t want to be the bad guy is to find things that are not black and white. He’s got issues with his temper and he lives with a lot of guilt.
Likewise, the killers aren’t just crazies; they have real relationships and attachments. That’s a testament to [creator of Scream] Kevin Williamson and to his ability to push the limits of traditional scary movies.
Do you get any tips from your wife, Kyra Sedgwick, about starring in a TV series? The Closer recently wrapped up seven seasons. Constantly. She talks to me a lot about protecting what little time I do have when I’m not on the set, to do things good for yourself, whether it’s sleep or remembering to eat, because I could work all week and spend the weekend looking at dailies and running lines – and then dreaming about it.
Your dad was an influential city planner in Philadelphia. He was into fame, you’ve said, and partly what motivated you was the desire to be more famous than him. Yeah, for sure.
That must have had a rather interesting dynamic. I wasn’t going off to New York to be more famous than my father, but in retrospect that certainly was driving me. He was famous in Philadelphia, but it was also really important to him to be famous. And to a certain extent I got some of that, even though there were parts of it that horrified me.
So you enjoy the fame? There are things I don’t like about it – living in a fishbowl, lack of privacy. But there are two kinds of actors: those who want to be famous and liars. If you’re an actor, what you want is to be seen. You don’t act in your living room. And 99 percent of the people you come in contact with are super nice to you, like “oh, my God, I love you.” How often do people get told they’re loved – someone who’s not famous? To walk down the street and have people tell you they love you – that’s good, man. From Dhs8 per episode. Available at itunes.apple.com.