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Kevin Bacon interview: 'I don't like watching my old films because I don't like what I did'

The actor stars in Jill Soloway's new TV adaptation of Chris Kraus novel ‘I Love Dick’

Jacob Stolworthy
Friday 12 May 2017 12:28 BST
Kevin Bacon doesn't watch his old films

Kevin Bacon's latest project is the Amazon TV series I Love Dick, an adaptation of the comic Chris Kraus novel from playwright Sarah Gubbins and Transparent creator Jill Soloway.

In the Texas-set series, he plays the titular Dick, a man who finds his life embroiled into that of a married woman's (Kathryn Hahn).

The Independent sat down with the actor to discuss his new role, the recently announced Tremors TV series and the Bacon formula for enduring in Hollywood. Oh, and those EE adverts.

Was Jill Soloway a key reason for signing up to star in I Love Dick?

I'm a big fan of Transparent – it really is the show that put Amazon on the map as a place of original content. Five years ago if you asked me if I was going to be doing a television series at the place where I buy my shaver, I’d probably have said no. But Transparent really changed that. The script was great – funny and oddball – and it reminded me of working in independent film, which is something that I've done a lot of both as an actor, producer and director.

Did you accept this role with an element of caution following the untimely axe of your most recent TV show The Following?

There's always an element of caution when you say yes to projects, but what’s unique about television is you oftentimes have no idea where it's going to go so there's a big leap of faith. That included The Following. I Love Dick was a very specific leap of faith. While I love the character, he's limited in the pilot because he’s so guarded and dismissive of Chris (Kathryn Hahn) and vain and sort of an asshole. The idea is that when you get into a series, you sign on for five, six years or whatever it is, you make a contract for multiple seasons, so to think that I would just be doing that for a long time was really not that interesting to me. So I had to have the trust that [Soloway and Gubbins] were going to be able to show me other colours to him and eventually show us some vulnerability and struggle to him. And they came through.

How does one endure in Hollywood?

I say the secret to longevity is longevity. Hang in there long enough and keep working. When I was a kid I thought I knew everything there was to know about the business and the more I work, the more I know how much more there is to know and how much more I have to learn. I've seen a lot of people fall off the rails, or end up dead or in rehab. Dealing with success and fame and all those things can be challenging. As important as this career is to me, I feel like, for me at least, I had to find something that was more important even than that. For me, that was family, love and nature – something to focus on when things aren’t as good as they can be [because] for the most part they're not as good as they can be. In general, I am super happy with where I'm at but you forget that it’s not every week that you're on a hit. I've done tonnes of things that have not been successful – movie after movie after movie that just went right in the toilet. You have to get yourself ready for those dips.

Do you revisit your older films?


Are there any films of yours that you'd be unhappy to see get a sequel or be remade?

No, not necessarily. I’m working on a television series of Tremors and that has been really fun. I focused on Tremors [because I wondered whether] there were any characters that I'd done that I was interested in revisiting. To me, [Val McKee] seems an interesting guy to come back and see 25 years later, see the ravages of time. Who was he back then? He was a loser. Then these worms came and he became a hero. What would he be like now? So that's an example of something where I did go back and watch. But normally I don’t really like it because I don’t really like what I did for the most part. I'm pretty critical. I also just philosophically want to keep looking down the road. A way to convince myself that I'm still vital is to say there is something good around the corner. I'll keep looking ahead.

Between Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon and the EE adverts, do you mind that you've become an icon in your own right away from your roles?

I like it. If I had to choose, I would rather be known for the films than being in a game or on a commercial because that’s been my life’s work. Somebody once asked me if I ever struggle with the idea that I was actually more famous for being me than I was for what I did – that's a notion that never really occurred to me until recently. I suppose things are good – to be able to have had a career where I've been able to support myself being an actor. I really don’t think too much about what people feel about me personally. I’ve never been someone whose been concerned about my own image. if you look at the parts that I've played, I'm completely fearless – I'll do anybody, I don’t care what horrible thing you’ve done. I just try to stay true to the characters that I'm asked to play and outside of that, if I do a commercial that pokes fun at myself or if I have a silly game that's named after me, that’s okay. It is what it is.

I Love Dick is available to watch on Amazon Prime on 12 May

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