Kevin Bacon, who appears in the '80s-Hollywood slasher 'Maxxxine,' looks back on his early fame: 'I didn't really enjoy it, honestly'

The established actor, who plays a jaded private detective in the Ti West film, shares his advice for up-and-coming stars.

Kevin Bacon plays a private detective in Maxxxine. (Courtesy of Everett Collection)

Maxxxine, the third installment in the X film series from director Ti West, is a slasher that follows an actress attempting to achieve mainstream fame in 1985 Hollywood.

Kevin Bacon, who plays a key role in the movie, found himself reaching new heights of fame in his real life in the 1980s. He told Yahoo Entertainment that when he was an “it” boy, he didn’t spend enough time appreciating the experience. He offered his advice to up-and-coming stars.

“Enjoy it. I didn’t really enjoy it, honestly. I worked so hard to be famous. When I got it, I was like, ‘Oh shit, I don’t think I like this.’ I didn’t like doing photo sessions or being interrupted, and it was stupid,” he said. “I should have just said, ‘You schmuck, you work so hard for this. Enjoy it. Ride the wave.’”

In Maxxxine, Bacon plays a smarmy private detective who knows all too well that Hollywood attracts young talent just to see so many hopefuls leave disappointed.

“The movie talks a lot about this. ‘It chews you up and spits you out’ — that’s one of my lines,” Bacon said.

Mia Goth, as adult film actress Maxine Minx in the movie Maxxxine, looks at herself in a dressing room mirror.
Mia Goth stars as adult film actress Maxine Minx in Maxxxine. (Courtesy of Everett Collection)

In X, the first installment of the trilogy, Maxine Minx (Mia Goth) survives a mass killing that occurs while she and her friends are shooting an adult film in a rural area. In Maxxxine, Minx is now a well-known adult film star haunted by the violence in her past and struggling to break out. She’s offered a role in a controversial horror sequel at the same time her new friends seem to be being targeted by a serial killer known as the Night Stalker.

West both wrote and directed all three movies in the X series, including the X prequel, Pearl, which stars Goth as a different aspiring star. He told Yahoo Entertainment he specifically chose the 1980s for the setting of Maxxxine because there had been a “puritanical” discussion about what was acceptable to be shown and discussed in movies and music.

“There was a real debate that went all the way to Congress about whether it should be OK for music to say certain things, or if movies should be able to be violent and things like that,” West said. “That was relevant thematically to the film.”

Moses Sumney, who makes his feature debut in the film as one of Minx’s closest friends, told Yahoo Entertainment that he loved how West wanted to “push the envelope” with the themes explored in the film.

“I knew it would upset my parents,” he joked. “I could never get over that.”

Moses Sumney, as Leon in the movie Maxxxine, carries an armful of videotapes in a store.
Moses Sumney makes his feature film debut as Leon in Maxxxine. (Courtesy of Everett Collection)

Veteran actors in the Maxxxine cast, including Bacon, said they were impressed by West’s work on the other movies in the trilogy.

Bacon said he’s a fan of genre films, and of “people who are making really well-shot, compelling movies on a shoestring budget, which is exactly what X and Pearl were.”

“I find that kind of inventiveness and creative genius compelling to me,” he said. “Those two movies look completely different, even though they shot them back-to-back, in every way from tone to music. I just wanted to work with that guy.”

Giancarlo Esposito told Yahoo Entertainment that his daughters encouraged him to join the film by sending him viral clips from X and Pearl.

“I go to my girls because they’re on the cutting edge of pop culture. My daughter sent me a clip of Mia Goth screaming, ‘I’m a star!’ and I wanted to do something with someone who is fearless and innovative ... and that’s [Goth] and West.”

Giancarlo Esposito plays a Hollywood agent in the movie Maxxxine.
Giancarlo Esposito plays a Hollywood agent in Maxxxine. (Courtesy of Everett Collection)

Esposito plays a shady but well-intentioned Hollywood agent who grows close to Minx. He said the ’80s-set film reminded him of being on set at that time as a young actor when it was easier for actors to play around with their roles.

“I would come in dressed in my costume, and a director would tell me if it worked or it didn’t,” he said. “Today, everything’s set up for you. It’s very different, but I like to explore and play and be free.”

For West, it’s bittersweet that the X trilogy is coming to an end. The filmmaker said he thinks fans relate so strongly to Minx because the movies present a “judgment-free” look at the quest for fame.

“A lot of people want to be famous, but it’s about more than that. It’s a ‘grass is always greener’ type of thing. There’s always something people are reaching for that feels just out of reach,” he said. “The ambition she has and the fearlessness she has to go after that ambition ... I don’t know if it’s inspiring, but it’s certainly relatable to people.”

West was coy about what he’ll be working on next. He said he enjoyed making X and Pearl quietly, back-to-back and without much involvement from the outside world.

“The secrecy and pageantry that has been part of this trilogy has been fun, because there’s so much revealed online now [about movies] before you see them,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed keeping things ... more of a mystery. I’m going to keep rolling with that.”

Maxxxine is in theaters July 5.