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Kevin Bacon on 'You Should Have Left' and playing himself in the MCU (exclusive)

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·12-min read
Kevin Bacon in 'You Should Have Left'. (Credit: Universal)
Kevin Bacon in 'You Should Have Left'. (Credit: Universal)

Kevin Bacon would be more than happy to play himself as “Earth’s mightiest hero Kevin Bacon” in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Bacon is frequently referenced as a great Earth hero thanks to Guardians of the Galaxy member Star-Lord’s affection for Footloose and other 1980s culture.

But could Bacon himself step into the fold and join the crew of the Benatar?

Read more: Guardians of the Galaxy 3 will be last with current team

“You tell Marvel, man. I’m ready to go,” Bacon told Yahoo Movies UK in an interview to promote his new Blumhouse horror film You Should Have Left.

He added: “So far I haven’t heard anything about it, but I’d love to.”

Could Kevin Bacon join the Guardians of the Galaxy in a future MCU film? (Credit: Marvel/Disney)
Could Kevin Bacon join the Guardians of the Galaxy in a future MCU film? (Credit: Marvel/Disney)

You Should Have Left features Bacon as a retired banker with something of a chequered past, who chooses to take his actor wife (Amanda Seyfried) and their daughter (Avery Essex) for a holiday to a secluded house in the Welsh countryside.

Wales doesn’t necessarily seem like the perfect setting for a horror film, but Bacon’s affinity with the UK made it a pleasant experience for the 62-year-old star.

Read more: Bacon launches ‘stay at home’ campaign

He said: “Between the [EE] commercials and doing X-Men: First Class and then shooting You Should Have Left, I’ve ended up spending a lot of time [in the UK] and I love it.

“Starting with London, for a New Yorker it’s a very comfortable world to fold into because it feels very familiar. I’ve had a lot of good times there.”

Kevin Bacon has been the face of mobile network EE since 2012. (Credit: EE)
Kevin Bacon has been the face of mobile network EE since 2012. (Credit: EE)

You Should Have Left marks the reunion of Bacon with writer-director David Koepp, for whom he starred in Stir of Echoes back in 1999.

The film was initially due to arrive in cinemas prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was ultimately released on digital platforms in the USA and is heading to DVD and Blu-ray in the UK.

Read more: Koepp updates on Bride of Frankenstein

Bacon said he was pleased at the response to the film and revealed he hasn’t yet returned to the cinema, but feels the multiplex experience is still valued by movie fans.

He added: “I have to believe in that fundamental desire that if you go and everybody is scared — 200 or 300 people are all scared or laughing together — then there’s something powerful about that.

“My dream is that it will come back.”

Watch: You Should Have Left returns Kevin Bacon to horror roots

Read the full interview with Kevin Bacon, in which we discuss his love of horror movies, some of his most memorable roles and his thoughts on the future of the cinema experience...

Yahoo Movies UK: This is a film that sees you sampling the very unique horrors of Wales.

Kevin Bacon: It was interesting because the writer-director David Koepp told me that he wanted to set the film in Wales. He was living in London at the time. I had never been to Wales and, to tell you the truth, I’m not sure that David had ever been there either. He set it in a modernistic house in the Welsh countryside with nothing else around it. I thought to myself: “I hope we can find that house.” Sure enough, we did, and it was really great to go there and shoot in that part of the world, where I had never been before.

Do you think you have a sort of affinity for the UK? Obviously you’re known here as well for your advertising work [with EE] as well as your film and TV work.

I do. My lineage is British and Scottish and Irish, so there’s that. But I hadn’t been to the UK for a really long time. Between the commercials and doing X-Men: First Class and then shooting You Should Have Left, I’ve ended up spending a lot of time there and I love it. Starting with London, for a New Yorker it’s a very comfortable world to fold into because it feels very familiar. I’ve had a lot of good times there.

You’ve worked with David before [on 1999 horror movie Stir of Echoes]. Did you take much persuading to work with him again?

Only 20 years! It was actually the other way around. I was trying to talk him into doing something else with me. We did Stir of Echoes and I always would get together with him. We’ve remained friends for all of these years and we would talk about going back into the world of horror. He was off doing some other stuff, but finally after 20 years I talked him into it.

Avery Essex and Kevin Bacon in 'You Should Have Left'. (Credit: Universal)
Avery Essex and Kevin Bacon in 'You Should Have Left'. (Credit: Universal)

You mentioned going back to horror and that’s something that seems to pop up over and over in your career, every decade or so. Is it a genre you gravitate towards?

Well, I think I gravitate to all genres as long as I can find something interesting in the part. But I do love horror and the reason I do is because I like films that make you feel something. If they’re comedies you want to laugh, if they’re tragedies you want to cry and if they’re horrors you want to be scared. From an acting standpoint, it’s often life or death situations and that’s good stuff to play. There’s a lot of rich material there to dig into.

This is obviously a Blumhouse film and they’ve been dominating horror over the last few years with some amazing stuff. Is working with them different to other horror experiences you’ve had?

I have made another horror film with Blumhouse and I also developed a TV series of Tremors. So I have a pretty long-standing working relationship with them. They’re fantastic. The thing about Blumhouse is that their point of view is that they really are a place that is nurturing and bringing up filmmakers.

Read more: Welcome to the Blumhouse championing under-represented filmmakers

They’re much more focused on the filmmaker side of things than they are on the movie star side of things. If you are a filmmaker and you’ve got a good piece of genre material, they’ll support you in the making of the film and I appreciate that model. It has obviously been very successful for them.

I wanted to ask about their Invisible Man film, because obviously you made Hollow Man. What did you think of that film?

I thought it was awesome. Aldis Hodge is a friend of mine. We were working on a television series on the States and we’re just about to start shooting. He’s fantastic and Elisabeth Moss was great. I thought it was a really good idea. I loved it.

You Should Have Left was earmarked for a big screen run and then didn’t get it. Was there any disappointment about that?

'You Should Have Left'. (Credit: Universal)
'You Should Have Left'. (Credit: Universal)

I wasn’t disappointed. I honestly felt like it worked pretty well for this movie. We were already planning on a VOD release and it was just a question of the timing. The timing seemed to be right to go ahead and put it out.

People were stuck at home and the movie is about being stuck in a house, so it all seemed to time out pretty well. I have been very pleased with how it has been received and the amount of people who have seen it. Probably a lot more people have seen it than would’ve seen it in a theatre, so I’m not disappointed at all.

I think there’s almost an extra dimension to it given that we have all been stuck in our homes for six months. Maybe we feel the horror more than we would’ve done before.

Yeah, it has been a scary time. There’s no doubt about it.

The character you play in this film is such a complicated character with really dark edges, as well as being a family men. Is that sort of complexity something you are pulled towards in your career?

If a character is not complex, I’m either not interested in it or I’ll try to figure out a way to make them more complex. That’s the nature of the human condition. I’m sure that you can’t be defined by a couple of terms. There’s a lot that goes into all of our make-ups, which is fun to explore.

If you take something that’s a genre film, you don’t want to just have the characters and the actors in it to be there to serve the scares. It’s not that interesting to me. It’s much more interesting if you have something that’s a character-driven piece, but also has the bonus of having terror laid on top of it. I think the exploration of this marriage and paranoia and the darkness in some of these characters’ pasts was something that David and I really wanted to explore in this film. That was the thing that we could seek our teeth into.

Amanda Seyfried and Kevin Bacon in 'You Should Have Left'. (Credit: Universal)
Amanda Seyfried and Kevin Bacon in 'You Should Have Left'. (Credit: Universal)

You mentioned X-Men earlier and you’ve had all of this experience of working with big, ensemble casts. This is a very small cast, with just the three of you for most of the film. What effect does that have on you as a performer?

I’m happy in both of those situations. I’ve never been someone who needs to necessarily be the main focus of any kind of set. I really like doing ensemble things and being part of the telling of the story. I also like the intensity of having to have this tight little unit with Amanda, who is a fantastic actress, and Avery Essex, who’s an incredible child performer. I like being in that situation.

I think now is an interesting time to look back on your career so far. A lot of your movies are celebrating big milestones this year. 20 years of Hollow Man, 30 years for Flatliners and Tremors and 40 years for Friday the 13th. All of those films obviously have such affection and success behind them. What is it like to have been involved in so many films people are still talking and writing about decades later?

It’s funny because I don’t really think about it until it comes up in that sort of way and you go “wow, it has been 20 years”. I’m someone who doesn’t really look back. I don’t think I’ve seen Hollow Man or Flatliners since they were made. Tremors I’ve seen because we were developing it as a TV show, so I wanted to revisit it.

Read more: How Friday the 13th cemented the blockbuster slasher

When I get a question like that or people point out that I’ve been involved with some iconic pieces of filmmaking, I feel a tremendous amount of gratitude. It’s really hard to have any kind of career as an actor. There’s a lot of competition and certainly if you are a successful actor, there’s a lot of pitfalls that can come and I’ve seen a lot of people fall away in the course of many years of doing this. I feel very grateful that I’m still able to get a job and that people are still interested in seeing me play a part.

Kevin Bacon in his breakout role as a slasher victim in 'Friday the 13th'. (Credit: Warner Bros/Paramount)
Kevin Bacon in his breakout role as a slasher victim in 'Friday the 13th'. (Credit: Warner Bros/Paramount)

And that future is obviously really interesting, given where we are in the world. Have you been able to go back to work yet?

I’m going to go back to work in about a week and a half or two weeks on City on a Hill, which is a Showtime series that I was in the middle of shooting the second season of in Manhattan when we shut down. It’ll be interesting to see what that looks like. I’m certainly excited to go back to work. I’m excited for myself, for the cast, for the crew, for producers, for everyone.

It’ll have challenges, there’s no doubt about it, but I think that film people are used to challenges. We work in extreme conditions and weather and long hours and all kinds of stuff. I’m anxious to get back at it.

And on that point, have you been back to the cinema and had that experience yet?

No, I haven’t done that.

Is it something you feel you might be able to do soon?

I don’t know the answer to that. I know there are some theatres open in the States obviously. I don’t know about New York, frankly.

I do love the moviegoing experience. I’ve been at this for a really long time and throughout my entire career, everyone has said “this will kill the theatre”. But people still have a desire, at some point, to go and share that experience with a bunch of strangers. I have to believe in that fundamental desire that if you go and everybody is scared — 200 or 300 people are all scared or laughing together — then there’s something powerful about that. My dream is that it will come back.

'You Should Have Left'. (Credit: Universal)
'You Should Have Left'. (Credit: Universal)

Before the pandemic hit, I was a big movie consumer. I don’t sit around and try to get links or wait until things come out on pay-per-view. I tend to go out if there’s something I want to see. I’ll go the first weekend or I’ll take a hooky day and go in the afternoon and sit there with my popcorn. I’m looking forward to that experience coming back.

Before I let you go, I wanted to ask about superheroes. Obviously you’ve been in an X-Men film and you have your presence in the MCU where you’re frequently referenced as one of Earth’s greatest heroes. Is there a chance we get Kevin Bacon as Kevin Bacon in one of those films?

You tell Marvel, man. I’m ready to go. So far I haven’t heard anything about it, but I’d love to.

You Should Have Left is available on Blu-ray and DVD from 12 October courtesy of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.