Kevin Bacon shares why he wasn’t a good lead movie star ‘for a lot of years’ after Footloose

Kevin Bacon has explained why he thinks he was a bad leading actor “for a lot of years”.

The actor, who will next star in Netflix sequel Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley and Ti West’s MaXXXine, shot to fame in the 1980s, starring in films ranging from Friday the 13th to Footloose, which he starred in when he was 23.

Bacon reflected on his early career in a new interview, revealing that, at the time, he “was starving for success, and for creative fulfilment, and money, and girls, and fame – all of the coolness”.

However, after Footloose shot him to stardom in 1984, the actor, now 65, says he struggled to live up to the expectation placed on him. He told The Guardian: “Yeah, there was a lot of pressure in it when it finally happened. I’m not sure that I was really ready.”

After Footloose, the actor rounded out the 1980s with roles in films that either received negative reviews or tanked at the box office: Quicksilver, White Water Summer, End of the Line, She's Having a Baby, Criminal Law and The Big Picture.

“I continued doing leads for a lot of years, but I wasn’t really doing it very well,” the actor added. “I was doing it OK. But the movies weren’t successful. My picker was off. Like, I couldn’t choose! I didn’t want anybody’s advice. I was making some bad mistakes.”

Bacon soon recalibrated his approach, and realised he did not mind not being the lead star after years of being concerned about the hierarchy of on-set power.

It wasn’t until 1990 that Bacon turned things around, starring in Tremors and Flatliners before delivering memorable supporting roles in JFK, A Few Good Men, The River Wild, Apollo 13 and Sleepers.

“When I kind of rethought it, and rethought about the possibility of being number 10 on a call-sheet, or number two, or number 25, or whatever – that’s when I figured out who I was as an actor,” the actor said, adding: “So I no longer have a problem doing a small part.”

Kevin Bacon says he wasn’t a good lead star ‘for many years’ (Getty Images)
Kevin Bacon says he wasn’t a good lead star ‘for many years’ (Getty Images)

He continued: “As long as I feel like it’s a good part, an interesting part, something cool, I got no problem moving down a call-sheet.”

Bacon, who has been married to actor Kyra Sedgwick for 35 years, is also a musician. As part of The Bacon Brothers, which he formed alongside his brother Michael in 1995, the actor has released seven albums.