We filmed Kevin Bacon last Friday, in their rented home in Burbank, the day before the closure of Interstate 405 known as Carmageddon. Kevin was wearing hair extensions for a new role he’s doing, so I felt that we were back in the seventies when he first appeared on the set. We had a great opening interview, which lasted about an hour, longer than usual. In this part of the shoot, I ask the guest general questions about themselves, both to learn about them and to warm them up, before plunging into their family tree lines. Rarely have I connected with a guest so thoroughly. We could have stopped after this first hour and made a superb interview program for prime time TV. Among many other things he said to me, perhaps the most intriguing was that he never looks back to the past. His reasoning for agreeing to do our program was due to his friendship with our series producer, Rachel Dretzin. Instead, he only looks forward. “I always keep a bag packed,” he admitted, revealingly. He seemed genuinely engaged with our introduction to his ancestors, one of whom owned slaves. He also learned about the 350 year history of his family’s involvement with Quakerism, which brought them to Pennsylvania as founding fathers at the same time that our previous guest, Meryl Streep’s family arrived. Their ancestors had to have known each other.
Watch the full Finding Your Roots episode: Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick.