If you can’t beat them, the old saying goes, join them. In Kevin Bacon’s case, that meant accepting that… Six degrees from Kevin Bacon – the parlor game where you have to match every famous actor in six movies or less with Bacon – was never going to go away. So he embraced the phenomenon and in 2007 founded SixDegrees.org, a charitable organization whose efforts to fight hunger are be honored November 1 in New York City with a Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award (named after the “Cat’s in the Cradle” songwriter).
And speaking of joining them, Bacon’s daughter, Sosie Bacon – who stars in Paramount’s horrific hit Smile – is now well on his way to joining her father as a horror movie icon. (You may remember that Dad has starred in some classic scary movies, dating back to the 80s Friday the 13th.)
The Hollywood Reporter spoke to Bacon, 64, about his charity work, his daughter’s rise and the bologna sandwiches served to him on the set of Jason’s first outing.
Thank you for taking this time with me. I understand that you are currently very busy filming something
I am doing Beverly Hills Cop 4, which is great. It’s fun and I’m happy to be a part of it
Had you met or worked with Eddie Murphy before?
This is the first time. So it’s exciting for me. It’s been good.
What are you playing in it if I may ask?
I think I should keep that as low as possible.
Those movies are my whole childhood.
I’m telling you, man, every time I say it to someone, they get a big smile on their face.
Yes, that was pretty big. But then it was footloose. You were a big part of my childhood too, so you’re well worth riding with Axel Foley.
(laughs.) Thank you. Thank you.
Congratulations on your honor for your work with SixDegrees.org. Can you tell me about that?
SixDegrees.org is an organization I founded several years ago. I looked a bit at the Six degrees from Kevin Bacon game. Crazy as it was, it seemed like it wouldn’t go away. It just had some sort of hang time. So I decided to take that concept and figure out a way to give back with it.
We put together a benefit during the lockdown and the two organizations we were involved with were WhyHunger and NAACP Legal Defense Fund. WhyHunger is a fantastic organization. They were founded by the singer-songwriter Harry Chapin, who was a great guy. He died tragically. But before he did, he spent a lot of his time giving back. And more specifically about hunger. That is why we are happy with this prize. It’s a huge honour.
What else is happening in Kevin Bacon’s world? How’s Kyra Sedgwick, your wife?
A few years ago—with my encouraging prodding and pestering her about it—she decided it was time to direct. And the first thing she directed was a movie for Lifetime called Story of a girlwhich earned her a DGA nomination.
She’s a very, very good director. She has now directed a number of different TV shows such as: Grace and Frankie and City on a hill, which is a show I was on on Showtime. And [she directed me in] a movie from last summer called Space oddity. It was picked up for distribution from the Cannes Film Festival. We are excited about that.
Do you like being directed by her?
There’s this kind of outdated idea that, “Oh, what’s that? Is your wife going to tell you what to do?” When I hear people react like that, I feel like, “Are we still in the ’50s?” I mean come on. We have a shorthand that’s great for the work we do. I’m always happy to to work with her.
And there is one more person in the household who is now quite a force. Your daughter shines in Smilewhich was number 1 for three weeks.
Yes. She’s great in the movie. She’s fantastic. Little did we know that she was really interested in pursuing an acting career. But when she finally decided, in her early twenties, that this was what she wanted to do, she dropped out of college and moved to LA and really started doing the right things. Bang on the sidewalk, do self-tape after self-tape, and study.
When she got this role [in Smile], even knowing how hard she had worked and knowing that she was good, when I saw the movie I was really surprised, not only how amazing she was, but also how difficult that role was, because it’s one of those parts where there’s is not a break. Usually you start and the character is pretty happy, you know, 15 minutes or 20 minutes before everything gets awful. But that’s a movie where the stress level is [insane]. I was very proud of her.
You were also in a high concept horror movie recently – she she, which sounded quite interesting and provocative. It’s interesting that you both work in the same genre.
In a strange way, we have a horror tradition in our family. One of my earliest movies was the very first Friday the 13th.
I was in Rudder of echoes and Superficial man. Flatliners. I keep going back to horror.
vibrations, Turn right. Yes. We certainly have a fondness for it in our family. I wonder what it is exactly. I think for an actor you’re looking for high stakes stuff – and that’s what horror gives you. It will always be a radical life or death situation.
When you were on the set of Friday the 13thDid you have any idea what would come out of that movie?
No definitely not. I did it animal house, and I had done some soap operas. I was actually on a soap opera while I was shooting Friday the 13th. I had done a lot of theater in New York. I chose to live in New York, and it really wasn’t a hotbed of film and television production at the time. There really wasn’t that much going on.
And Friday the 13th was sort of the definition of a low-budget indie. It was made for nothing. I was in Blairstown, New Jersey. I used to have to take a public bus to a bus stop in the middle of a country road, and someone from the set would drive out to pick me up. I mean, that was the closest to any kind of transportation.
Literally, I remember when we took a break for lunch, and they prepared bologna and cheese slices with white bread and French mustard and that was our lunch.
You get better food in prison.
Yes. I wasn’t looking forward to, “Wow, this is going to be a masterpiece of horror.” And I had no idea it would spawn so much Friday the 13ths they have done.
A lot. But there’s something about that first that you just can’t beat. Well Kevin, thank you very much. I can not wait for it Beverly Hills Cop 4. I hope you stick bananas in people’s tailpipes
Interview edited for length and clarity.