Kevin Bacon sizzles in dark role in ‘Woodsman’
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Kevin Bacon wants you to know the same thing he told his kids: No children were harmed during the making of his latest film.In “The Woodsman,” Bacon gives a career performance as the most reviled of sex offenders, a child molester coming off 12 years in prison for abusing young girls. Filled with self-loathing, his character, Walter, makes an honorable attempt to go straight but is tormented by temptation, shunned by his family and abhorred by co-workers who discover his past.Bacon and his wife, co-star Kyra Sedgwick, sat down to discuss the film’s difficult themes with their 15-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter.”We said, ‘Mom and Dad are going to do this movie, this is what it’s about, this is who we’re playing, and we just wanted you guys to be aware of it,”‘ Bacon said.”I told them, ‘It’s not a movie where you’re going to see any bad things happen to children,’ which is something that I also feel like we should put out there in the public, as well. It’s dangerous subject matter, but it’s not a gratuitous, sensationalized film.”Directed by first-time filmmaker Nicole Kassell, “The Woodsman” is adapted from a stage play by Steven Fechter. Along with Sedgwick, who plays a co-worker romantically involved with Walter, the film co-stars Mos Def and Eve, Benjamin Bratt and David Alan Grier.The script came to Bacon in an unusual way. While vacationing in the West Indies, Bacon was approached by an acquaintance who was thinking of investing money in the film and wanted the actor’s advice.The prospective financier ultimately decided against investing, but Bacon was hooked after reading the script. Though he broke into film as a snooty frat boy in “National Lampoon’s Animal House” and became a teen idol with “Footloose,” Bacon said the dark tone of “The Woodsman” was more in line with his dramatic sensibilities.Any doubts he had were not about the daring material or how the role might affect his image, but about whether he and his collaborators could pull it off.”Yeah, I had hesitation. I had hesitation about, would I do a good job? What kind of job would Nicole do as a first-time director? Would we be putting our hearts and souls into something that no one would see?” the 46-year-old Bacon said.”I don’t have hesitation surrounding me and my image, my persona. That doesn’t apply to me in my life. I’ll play anything. I’ve played a lot of bad guys, people who have done a lot of bad things.”Bacon’s other roles include one of the stranded astronauts in “Apollo 13,” an invisible mad scientist in “Hollow Man,” a man haunted by ghostly visions in “Stir of Echoes” and an Alcatraz inmate driven violently mad by three years in solitary confinement in “Murder in the First,” which drew him rave reviews.He also was part of Clint Eastwood’s terrific ensemble cast in 2003’s “Mystic River,” playing a cop investigating the death of a childhood friend’s daughter.
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