Kevin Bacon makes his television debut in The Following on Monday night in the role of an FBI agent called out of retirement to hunt a serial killer.
Three decades after making his big screen debut in Animal House, Kevin Bacon takes on his first lead role in a TV series in The Following. Although Bacon has amassed an impressive list of movie credits throughout his career, the original Footloose star has never done series TV as a regular. That is, until now.
Interestingly, Bacon comes to television after watching his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, play the lead in the TNT series The Closer for the past seven seasons.
So, what made Kevin Bacon want to take on such a dark project on television?
“In the scope of a career, I’ve certainly explored things of a lighter nature,” Bacon told reporters on a conference call this week ahead of the premiere. “You know, I’m the guy from Footloose. The biggest issue was whether the town was going to be allowed to dance or not. I did this movie R.I.P.D. and it was a really great thing to do because I play a zombie type character. But it was really fun and lighthearted movie. So, I certainly like to mix it up.”
As fans of Kevin Bacon know, he’s played a wide range of characters in a variety of genres on the big screen. From Footloose, Tremors, She’s Having a Baby and last year’s X-Men: First Class to more serious award nominated roles in The River Wild, Murder in the First, Apollo 13, and Mystic River, Kevin Bacon knows how to mix things up.
“But when I chose to do a series, I wanted to be the hero,” Bacon continued. “I wanted the character to be complex and flawed because those are the heroes I like to play. Those are the types of heroes I like to see. That’s the stuff that performance is made of. I found as I was sifting through pilots that I didn’t know if the stakes were high enough. I wanted to do something that was about life and death.”
In The Following, Kevin Bacon plays former FBI agent Ryan Hardy who’s called out of retirement to track down escaped death row serial killer Joe Carroll, played by James Purefoy. The investigation leads Hardy to Carroll’s ex-wife and the mother of the criminal’s young son.
As the thrilling events play out in The Following, Hardy soon discovers that Carroll has an ever-growing cult of followers.
So, what can fans expect from the dynamic between Kevin Bacon’s Ryan Hardy and James Purefoy’s Joe Carroll?
“I think this is just a really cool idea from Kevin Williamson,” said Bacon about his relationship to James Purefoy’s character, “we go back and we meet Ryan when he first meets Joe before he knows Joe is a suspect. He’s just interviewing him by happenstance on this college campus. What you see is that he gets strangely seduced by Joe, not in a sexual way but just in a friendship kind of way. Joe sees into Ryan and is able to play him kind of like a violin. There are a lot of qualities in Joe that Ryan really admires.”
Although we know that Hardy comes out of retirement to track down Carroll, fans don’t really know Bacon’s character at the outset of the series. As The Following unfolds, however, the lines between FBI Agent and serial killer are blurred.
“Ryan’s not an extremely well read or educated man,” Bacon continued. “He’s not a people person. He’s not a charmer. He’s not a dynamic speaker. He’s maybe not nessarily someone you’d want to go have a beer with. But Joe Carroll is all of those things. I think Ryan looks up to him in a strange kind of way. I think it’s one of the more interesting dynamics of the show and one we continue to play with.”
When The Following makes its long-awaited debut on Fox, fans will see a dark, gritty psychological drama that eventually leads Hardy into an network of serial killers.
As the previews indicate, The Following promises to be dark, something that Kevin Bacon wanted from the series.
“The show is a thriller about a serial killer,” Bacon added about how some viewers may feel about the darker nature of The Following, “That’s what it is. It’s not a comedy! As a consumer of films or television, if you’re telling me something is a comedy, I’m going to be really disappointed if I go and I don’t laugh. If someone’s pitched to me that’s incredibly moving, I want real tears to flow down my cheeks. If something is supposed to be a thriller, I want to be on the edge of my seat. I want to be scared, I want to have chills.”
The Following debuts Monday, January 21 at 9/8cd on Fox.
How do you feel about Kevin Bacon in The Following? Are you pumped?