The sun sets over the San Gabriel Mountains as Kevin Bacon considers his first starring role in television. He leans back on a couch on a patio at a Pasadena hotel, and analyzes how his character, former FBI agent Ryan Hardy of The Following, has evolved. Season 3 of The Following returns season Mondays on FOX beginning with a two-hour premiere on March 2.
“One of the biggest things is I am with a woman I actually should be with,” Bacon says. “Ryan does not have a good picker. I fell in love with the wife of a serial killer. I had a friends-with-benefits relationship with a next-door neighbor who was a follower of Joe’s, who stabbed me. And then with a journalist, who was writing about the case. Now it’s a year later and I have convinced myself that Joe Carroll is no longer a part of my life. I’m not drinking. This is where I am.”
Bacon, 56, originally from Philadelphia, is a steady kind of fellow. He and Kyra Sedgwick have been married for over 25 years. He and his brother continue with their aptly named band, The Bacon Brothers. Here he takes time to answer our “7 Questions.”
1. You’re at a magazine rack and can only pick three titles. Which ones do you choose?
Rolling Stone, The New York Times and [if it was still in publication] Metropolitan Home.
2. If your TV carried just three shows or networks, what would they be?
FOX, MSG and PBS. I love the PBS NewsHour. It is the only way to get news on television.
3. What has been your strangest fan encounter?
The Bacon Brothers, we had a fan of our music who got sick and had to have a leg amputated. He wrote to us and said, “Some of your music really got me through tough times. Would you guys autograph my prosthetic leg?” So we did. If anyone tells you something you have written or performed touched them, this is always a beautiful thing.
4. Tell us about a time when you were starstruck.
Bruce Springsteen, Smokey Robinson, Paul McCartney and Sting. My brother has this theory, having spent some quality time around celebrities. He thinks people’s IQ drops 40 points around celebrities.
5. What are three things you have to have in your fridge or pantry?
Almond butter, kale and eggs.
6. How is working on TV different from being in a film or a play?
One of the differences is that people say, “I don’t worry. The success or failure of a show is out of my hands.” I am the opposite. I feel a tremendous pressure, more than any in my life. I want to put in hard-driving hours. Why do it and have it not be good or have people not enjoy it? And a big responsibility is on me. You shoot the movie and say goodbye to the crew and cast, and many months later, you look at it, and go out and promote it and in one weekend you find out if it will work or not, and television is this ongoing process with live and live plus three and live plus seven. Even in three seasons, the whole landscape of television has completely changed.
7. Is being the lead on a show a huge challenge?
I really love to act. To be the lead in a television show gives you all the acting you could possibly want. We start at 6 o’clock on Monday and go until Friday evening to make 43 minutes of intense, physical, emotional, romantic stuff; you have to go on instinct and I like that. I know who this guy is. I know him.