First off, Kevin Bacon is not a skeeve in real life. That would devastate me. I love him. I love Kyra Sedgwick. I love his new interview with Haute Living (via JustJared). Because stars just don’t…they just don’t talk like this, so openly, about the business and about their ambitions and about their insecurities.
Right off the top, I was nodding at the part when he’s discussing taking a job in television and acknowledges the hierarchy that existed – and arguably still exists today – between TV and Film. And the FACT that they consider television to be just the thing you do before you become a movie star:
“When I started being an actor, the last thing I wanted to do was a TV series,” he confesses. “It might be hard for people to remember, but in the 1970s when I started, there were TV actors and movie actors; they weren’t the same. You’d be in television until you’d be able to get a career in movies, and then you’d never look back. I wanted to do stage and movies, but I really didn’t want to do television.”
He goes on to reveal that even when he was piss poor, he turned down two television opportunities because, f-ck that, movies were the sh-t.
This, of course, has changed. And both he and Kyra have transitioned to television now. Many are beginning to realise that we are watching a golden age of television. That there is no shame in it anymore. But few would describe it so honestly for fear of perception or, perhaps, fear of talking too much about what they’re really like in the secret club? Maybe when you lose millions in a Ponzi scheme, your perception changes. Maybe he’s getting to that I don’t give a f-ck age. Maybe when you’ve been underrated for so long, you know what’s worth it and what’s not.
And he’s very candid about that too. About never quite getting to the top, top level:
Someone who deserves said recognition is Bacon himself: he is widely considered to be one of the best actors to have never received an Academy Award nomination, a fact of which has not escaped his notice. “I go back and forth on it,” he admits. “I kind of feel like, ‘What am I doing wrong?’ Sometimes I think, ‘You’ve just got to let yourself off the hook about it.’ I’m still able to make a living being an actor, and that is a tough thing to do for as many years as I’ve done it; I feel good about that. As much as I would love to have any kind of statue that I could, when people tell me they love the show [it’s enough]. If you could bottle that or put that on your mantle…the awards do afford you opportunities, and that would be something that would be nice to crack,” he continues. “When studios are putting together financing for a movie, they would love nothing better than something that says, ‘Oscar-nominated’ or ‘Oscar-winning.’ Those kind of things open up more doors, and that’s really what you want to do as you get to be my age—you want to keep doors open.”
They ALL want it. They ALL want it ALL. It’s a fraud when they tell you that they’re not in it for the adulation. When Leonardo DiCaprio tells you he’s doing it for the “process” in his next movie, in which he plays 20+ individual characters as someone with multiple personality disorder, he’s leaving out the part where he’s desperate to finally get the Academy’s approval. Because actors share a gene. The ME gene. Only some actors are willing to concede that they have it. Bacon is one of them:
He’ll also be the first to admit that life in Los Angeles is, indubitably, better if you’re a celebrity. He tested this theory a few years ago by commissioning a Hollywood makeup artist to make him a prosthetic disguise that would render him unrecognizable to fans. The cover-up worked: after an afternoon pretending not to be Kevin Bacon at The Grove, he came to some finite conclusions about fame.
“I always have to make it as clear as I possibly can that fame is 99.9 percent good,” he says now. “First off, I’ve always said before that there are two kinds of actors: actors that want to be famous, and liars. You don’t become an actor because you want to hide in the shadows. When you sign up to be an actor, what you really sign up for is to act. On the other hand, you also don’t do it in a vacuum: you do it because you want to people to see it. You’re born to get in front of people, whether it’s on the screen or on the stage; you’re born to have people look at you and absorb you. I remember when I was a tiny little kid walking into the room thinking, ‘I hope that everyone is going to see me’ before I even knew what an actor was.”
He’s had more practice dealing with being recognized now after nearly 40 years in the industry. “All day long people say ‘I love you!’ at random. ‘Beep, beep Kev—I love you!’ What the f**k is wrong with that? That is amazing. People give you free shit for no reason, open doors, put you at good tables in restaurants, give you tickets to shows. Come on, to complain about it…
“That being said,” he continues, “it’s a weird thing to never be able to leave the house without having someone look at you, judge you. ‘You’re taller than I thought, uglier, older, fatter than I thought.’ One of my favorite quotes that someone said to me is, ‘You look so much better in person than you do in real life.’ It makes no sense right?”
There’s always that point one percent though that makes being famous a bummer, but Bacon tries not to dwell on it. “When people’s privacy is invaded in despicable ways, I find that it’s difficult. It’s a double-edged sword.”
In conclusion, the experiment was beneficial, as it made Bacon fully appreciate what he has. “When I did the prosthetic makeup thing, it was almost disturbing to me. People kind of looked right through me and weren’t nice to me. It didn’t feel that good, to tell you the truth. I’ve had [fame] for so long that I almost can’t really get my head around what my life would be like without it.”
Don’t you appreciate not being condescended to? Not being smoke and mirrored? He doesn’t sound like an asshole for saying he likes the fame. That he doesn’t know how to live without it. The asshole is the one who’s famous but insists on fame being a downside of the dream. F-ck off.
I suppose though, these days, should they more readily admit to that, they run the risk of being lumped in the same group as reality stars. And in their minds, in order to differentiate themselves from being Kardashians, they claim to not want the “fringe” that comes along with acting. The compulsion, though, to seek and keep attention, at its root, is the same, no matter if you’re a Kardashian or a Clooney.
Click here to read the full Kevin Bacon interview with Haute Living.