Kevin Bacon’s highly anticipated new show The Following premieres tonight! Collider had a chance to chat with Kevin about this new role and what attracted him to this show!
Collider: You had been looking to do a television show, but what was it about The Following that attracted your attention?
KEVIN BACON: I was looking for something, but I had been looking for four years. It was not like, Oh, here it is, Ill do this one! I liked this one. This was the one that had the biggest combination of things. It had a great showrunner, and a complex heroic character. I wanted to do something heroic and play somebody that was damaged. And it had life-or-death stakes. Thats what I got for this.
Was it important to you that your do play a damaged hero?
BACON: Yes, especially if its going to last a really long time. I dont know if its going to last a long time, but yeah. If a character is evil, bad or whatever you want to call him, thats the time when I roll up my sleeves and try to find something human or charming or vulnerable about the character. I look for something that is a counterpoint to this idea of being a bad guy. On the flipside, if someone is heroic, you dont want to make him a superhero. You want to find where the Achilles heel is. In the original pilot that I read, there was no heart thing. And then, Kevin [Williamson] suggested that and I was like, Yeah, lets put that in. Thats great! I love that! That, to me, is what makes his journey interesting, along with the guilt that he lives with and the things that he has suffered through and the fact that he makes mistakes. He makes a lot of mistakes. When the hero is about to screw up, you sit there and go, No, dont do that! When Ryan breaks Joes fingers, its like, What are you thinking?!
Do you enjoy getting to further explore your character through all of the flashbacks?
BACON: Flashbacks can be hackneyed, sometimes. I think that Kevins really good at using them to show, not just plot stuff, but other aspects of character. We have a storyline coming up with Annie Parisses character, Agent Parker, and she has this pretty dark past thats taken her in this direction to who she is now. In the present, shes kind of a wise-ass and business-y, and she seems real together, as an agent. But, its cool to have an opportunity, in the flashbacks, to see where she comes from. And for me, its like playing another character. Ryan is so much lighter, younger, and more energized in the past than he is in the present. I get to really explore another side to his personality.
Are you more aware of your characters history than some of the other actors?
BACON: What happened with the backstory was that I wrote a document, based on things I just made up and ideas. The genesis of it was that he once said to me, in a conversation just in passing, I think Ryan is a guy thats had a lot of death surrounding him, even before he interacted with Joe Carroll. That was what I needed to latch on to, and then I was off to the races. I sent the document to Kevin because I just wanted to say, Am I in the right ballpark? Im not a writer, but I want to make sure that Im not thinking about this guy in a totally different way than youre thinking about the guy. His almost non-response was an acknowledgment that he liked where I was going with it. Backstory is an interesting thing, in that you put it there and you build it, but how much of it do you use, on a daily shooting basis? Well, you dont really know. Maybe it plays into it, maybe it doesnt. I do a lot of details. I go into what people like to eat, their religion and their grandparents, and I do music playlists. You dont know if its actually going to have any kind of influence on the way that you play it, at all. But, if something comes up in the story, in a script, and its contradictory to what I thought, its not the worst thing. I can talk to Kevin about it and say, I thought maybe he was like this, and hell be like, All right, fine.
Do you enjoy getting to explore a character in the long-term with a TV show?
BACON: Yeah, thats what you hope you enjoy in television. Now, its a bit of an adjustment for me because Ive always been one of these people thats like, Well, Ive done that guy, so now Ive gotta do a different guy. We do 15 episodes, and then we have a hiatus where I can do theater or movies. Ive got a couple movies in the can with totally different characters than Ryan Hardy, so thats good. I was just looping R.I.P.D. Even if it was on a looping stage, it was just so fun to step into some other shoes for awhile.
Head HERE to read more of the interview!