Kevin Bacon is one of the foremost actors of his generation. His talent for balancing starring roles with powerful supporting characters on both film and stage has allowed him to build a varied and critically acclaimed body of work. With the support of his parents, Bacon left his native Philadelphia to become the youngest student at Circle in the Square Theatre in New York where he studied until he made his film debut as Chip in “National Lampoon’s Animal House.” This led to roles in “Diner” and “Footloose,” the latter of which propelled him to stardom.
Kevin Bacon has proven his talents in a wide range of film genres from action thrillers to romantic comedies to heavy dramas, and even the occasional musical. Just some of Bacon’s film credits include John Hughes’ “She’s Having a Baby,” “The Big Picture,” “Tremors,” “Flatliners,” Oliver Stone’s “JFK,” Rob Reiner’s “A Few Good Men,” “The River Wild” (Golden Globe nomination), “Murder in the First” (Best Actor by The Broadcast Film Critics Association and Best Supporting Actor nominations by The Screen Actors Guild and the London Film Critics Circle), Ron Howard’s award-winning “Apollo 13,” “Balto,” Barry Levinson’s “Sleepers” with Brad Pitt and Robert De Niro, “Picture Perfect” with Jennifer Aniston, “Telling Lies in America,” “Wild Things,” David Koepp’s “Stir of Echoes,” the sleeper hit “My Dog Skip,” “Hollow Man”, “Trapped” with Charlize Theron, Clint Eastwood’s “Mystic River” (Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Picture), “Beauty Shop,” Atom Egoyan’s “Where the Truth Lies,” “The Air I Breathe,” “Death Sentence,” “Rails & Ties,” “My One and Only” with Renée Zellweger, James Gunn’s “Super” and “Frost/Nixon,” which reunited him with “Apollo 13” director Ron Howard. In 2004 Bacon starred in “The Woodsman,” a compelling drama that premiered to great critical acclaim at the Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals, and Bacon received an IFP Spirit Award nomination for Best Actor. Most recently Bacon was seen on the big screen alongside Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell in “Crazy, Stupid, Love.,” and as the villainous Sebastian Shaw in director Matthew Vaughn’s “X-Men: First Class.” Up next, Bacon will be seen in “Jayne Mansfield’s Car” by director Billy Bob Thornton, and next year Bacon stars with Ryan Reynolds in the action-comedy “R.I.P.D.”
For television this year Bacon will star in Kevin Williamson’s hotly anticipated untitled FOX pilot, from Warner Bros TV and Williamson’s studio-based Outerbanks Entertainment, which is described as an edge-of-the-seat thriller about a diabolical serial killer (James Purefoy) who uses technology to create a cult of serial killers, and a retired FBI profiler (Bacon) who finds himself in the middle of it.
In 2009 Bacon starred in “Taking Chance,” a compelling film based on a true story that aired on HBO. It is the story of Marine Lieutenant Colonel Mike Strobl who volunteers to escort the body of a young Marine killed in combat back to his final resting place. The film was also selected to screen in-competition at the Sundance Film Festival. For his work in “Taking Chance” Bacon was awarded the Golden Globe and the SAG Award for Best Actor in a mini-series or made for TV movie. Also recently on HBO Bacon appeared in an episode “Bored To Death” in which he played a hilariously exaggerated version of himself.
Bacon’s other television credits include the American Playhouse version of Lanford Wilson’s play “Lemon Sky,” a production that teamed him with his then future wife Kyra Sedgwick. Other television credits include the “The Gift” and the cable film “Enormous Changes at the Last Minute.”
In 1996, Kevin Bacon made his directorial debut with, “Losing Chase” starring Kyra Sedgwick, Beau Bridges, and Helen Mirren. Produced for Showtime, “Losing Chase” was honored with three Golden Globe nominations, including, Best Motion Picture made for television, and Mirren won the Golden Globe for her performance. The film debuted on Showtime and was also screened at the Sundance Film Festival and the 1996 Toronto Film Festival. Bacon directed his second film, “Loverboy,” which he also produced and appears in. Based on the acclaimed novel by Victoria Redel, the film stars Kyra Sedgwick and features appearances by Campbell Scott, Matt Dillon, Marissa Tomei, and Oliver Platt. “Loverboy” had the honor of opening the Gen Art Film Festival in New York City. Bacon’s most recent project as director has been for several episodes of Kyra Sedgwick’s hit TNT show “The Closer”.
In addition to his film and television credits, Kevin Bacon’s stage work includes such Off-Broadway productions as “Album,” “Poor Little Lambs,” and “Getting Out.” He made his Broadway debut in 1983 with Sean Penn in “Slab Boys,” and starred in the 1986 production of Joe Orton’s highly touted play “Loot.” He also starred in Theresa Rebeck’s comedy “Spike Heels.” In 2002, he starred in the Broadway one-man show, “An Almost Holy Picture,” written by Heather McDonald. Bacon was most recently seen on-stage in the celebrated reading of Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black’s play “8” in Los Angeles. The reading was a benefit for American Foundation for Equal Rights and Broadway Impact to raise funds to overturn California’s Proposition 8 which bans same sex marriage. Bacon starred alongside George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Martin Sheen, Jane Lynch, John C. Reilly and many others.
With his musician brother Michael, Kevin is the other half of “The Bacon Brothers,” a successful band with a sound that Kevin describes as “Forosoco” (which is the title of their first album)– Folk, Rock, Soul and Country. Already highly regarded and hugely successful on the national club circuit, they have recorded six CD’s and a concert DVD.
Watch the full Finding Your Roots episode: Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick.