10 Questions With Kevin Bacon

The actor opens up about his new movies, his fitness routine, and how he de-stresses on the set.

Medically Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on August 06, 2015
4 min read

Q. In Cop Car, which opened in theaters in August, you play a corrupt small-town sheriff. What attracted you to the role?

A. I feel like this is a movie where you have to read between the lines. It's not about what the guy says. It's about what the director's vision was for this character. And the idea that you can try to tell a story about someone without actually saying, "This is why I am the way I am." It's more about the mystery of the audience trying to figure out who he is and how he got there.

Q. Your character threatens to shoot two boys. As a father, how do you prepare for such an upsetting moment in a film?

A. I want the kids to feel safe enough that I can do my work and they can do theirs, and we can be colleagues in getting this job done to the best of our ability. Sometimes I'll say, "Just so you know, I'm going to be getting kind of loud or I'm going to be looking scary in this moment."

Q. In Black Mass, about organized crime boss Whitey Bulger, you play an FBI agent. Do you prefer playing good guys or bad guys?

A. People say, "You must love bad guys because they're so much fun. But they're not always fun. They're fun if they're well written, interesting, complex, and have been given some depth. It's the same thing for a hero.

Q. Last summer you worked on three movies. How do the long hours affect your health?

A. Because of the length and structure of the film, the time at which you start gets later, and the time at which they call lunch gets later, and the time at which you go to bed gets later in the course of a week. By the time you get to Friday, you've completely turned your clock around. And then you have the weekend to turn it back around. That's one of the toughest things. So you have to figure out how to navigate that and stay healthy.

Q. What do you do to relax when you're shooting?

A. I meditate. And I'm addicted to a nap a day, especially if I'm on a set. It's 10 minutes, maybe 15. I have a whole protocol for it. I put on eyeshades. I lie on my back. I elevate my feet. I cross my hands over my chest like a sarcophagus. And [after that] I am good for the next -- whatever it's going to be -- 10 hours.

Q. What's your exercise routine?

A. I hike, I lift weights, I do calisthenics. Sometimes I work with a trainer. I don't work out for long periods of time because I'm just too bored by it. High-intensity, short periods of time are much more beneficial for me.

Q. What's your typical diet like?

A. I balance what I would consider really healthy eating with crap sometimes. Once in a while, I've just got to have a hamburger.

Q. Do you have a favorite junk food splurge?

A. If I get off the train at West Fourth Street [in New York], there's a little pizza joint with the best New York slice, and I just can't get off there and not have that slice.

Q. What disease has touched you most?

Cancer has been in my family. My mother had cancer, and my father had it.

Q. You've been acting for more than 35 years. Any plans to retire?

A. I guess there are a lot of people at this age who feel like they want to be on a beach, drinking beer with a fishing line. There's no part of me that pines for that.

Q. What is your personal health philosophy?

A. I would say that overall, my choices in terms of exercise, lifestyle, and food -- they're all about longevity.

Q. You did a public service announcement last year for the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance. How has Lyme disease affected your life?

A. I never had Lyme. That was a friend. Although I certainly have been at risk, because we have a place in northwestern Connecticut and we have dogs.

Q. What types of roles do you most like to play?

A. I wouldn't want to be in a situation where I was only going to do basically one thing -- only be the funny guy, only be the action guy. I'm much more creatively satisfied being a character actor, which is really what I am.

Q. We're used to seeing you in great shape, but a few months ago you posted a selfie in which you appeared to have gained a lot of weight. What was the deal with that?

A. It was a spot -- a commercial spot in the U.K. It was kind of an amazing prosthetic that was built by a couple of guys in London. And it's one of those things that I thought would make a funny selfie, but I didn't really expect it to blow up like that.

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