Thursday 22 February 2018

Kevin Bacon: 'The opportunity to work in television is fantastic...but it was always my dream to be a movie actor'

Kevin Bacon in I Love Dick
Kevin Bacon in I Love Dick
Kevin Bacon and Kathryn Hahn in I Love Dick
Kevin Bacon and Kathryn Hahn in I Love Dick
Griffin Dunne and Kathryn Hahn in I Love Dick
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

Movie critics might be lamenting the apparent strangle-hold the superhero genre has on the movie industry, but Kevin Bacon has hope.

The legendary actor (58) has made his return to the small screen in Amazon Prime Video's I Love Dick (in which he plays the titular Dick) and he's the latest A-lister to transition to the small screen to show off their acting chops.

As we continue along the golden age of television programming - available on a myriad devices and streaming services - how does he feel about the changing shift in consumption?

"Let’s put it this way – the fact that television is so great and I’m getting an opportunity to work in television as offbeat and cool is fantastic, I’m thrilled about that," he told Independent.ie

Kevin Bacon and Kathryn Hahn in I Love Dick
Kevin Bacon and Kathryn Hahn in I Love Dick

"There’s so few small, mid-budget range moves being made - the focus is giant comic books, it saddens me. That’s [movies] where I started, it was my dream to be a movie actor.

"I hope it changes again and movies find their way. People have been telling me movies were dead since the invention of the VCR, but there’s something about going out and sharing that experience in a dark room with a bag of popcorn."

He adds the popularity process is "cyclical" and believes "it will come back" to more meaningful performances again. Sooner, we hope.

What does an actor watch when they they want some stimulation, inspiration or simply entertainment?

"I binge watch Atlanta, The Crown, Better Caul Saul, Peaky Blinders." I blurt out that Irish actor Cillian Murphy is the star (a fact he obviously knows having actually watched the show). "He's one of my favourite actors, I think he’s amazing."

His latest turn as the lusted-after lead is not exactly a foreign role to Bacon, but it's all about presentation - I Love Dick is undoubtedly a female construct: it's based on the best-selling 1997 book by Chris Kraus and the television adaptation follows Chris' (played by Kathryn Hahn) crumbling marriage to Sylvere (Griffin Dunne) and their subsequent sexual escapades based on her graphic, borderline obsessive fantasies about Dick.

Griffin Dunne and Kathryn Hahn in I Love Dick
Griffin Dunne and Kathryn Hahn in I Love Dick

The show was created for the small screen by Sarah Gubbins and Jill Solloway, who acts as executive producer, and the writers room was filled with nearly all women.

Bacon previously said his wife Kyra Sedgwick urged him to do the show and while a programme focusing on the "female gaze" based on a cult book from two decades ago might attract a certain type of "woke" viewer, he acknowledges the fight for equal representation is an ongoing one.

"What I think is that feminism and women's issues now, and until we have equal rights for women, it will always be important," he explained.

"I think for a very long time, art and politics have come from a male gaze, Jill Solloway and Sarah [Gubbins] have an agenda to try to shine a different light on that."

Does he consider himself a feminist?

"My feeling about that is that is it’s a word – I’d have to say what the word means, if we can say for argument's sake, that word means a person who supports equal rights for people regardless of gender, I would say, if for argument sake, I cannot possibly understand how someone would not be.

"What’s the alternative? You want to take away the vote? You think you deserve more money for the same job? Really?"

Like all actors, his highlight of the show was working opposite other talented actors. "My serious answer is that working with Griffin [Dunne] and Kathryn [Hahn]. We have a couple off fantastic scenes towards the end of the series and they are not straight up comedy scenes - they're very deep and emotional and sexual…things are changing and bouncing off the wall in terms of feeling in really, really great ways.

"They are two actors at the absolute top of their game. To be with them was an absolutely thrill."

"On the silly side, I got to walk down the street with a baby lamb and shear it as one of Chris' fantasies. I was amazingly good at it. There was a lamb wrangler who showed me some technique."

Finally, can we expect to see the Bacon Brothers cutting it loose in Ireland anytime soon?

"I would love to – I would really love to. It's 100% on my bucket list. I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t been."

I Love Dick is now available on Amazon Prime Video on May 12, 2017. Customers who are not already Amazon Prime Video members can sign up for a free 7-day trial at PrimeVideo.com.

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