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Kevin Bacon Talks About "The Woodsman"

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Kevin Bacon stars in The Woodsman

Kevin Bacon stars in "The Woodsman"

© Newmarket Films
Based on a play of the same name, "The Woodsman" follows Walter (Kevin Bacon), a convicted sex offender who attempts to re-enter society after serving 12 years in prison.

Trying to stay anonymous and wanting only to keep to himself, Walter takes a job, finds an apartment (right across from an elementary school) and unexpectedly falls for Vickie (Kyra Sedgwick), a woman who swears she will not judge him. But despite his best attempts, Walter discovers he can't run from his past.

Husband and wife, Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick do not normally choose to work together but made an exception for "The Woodsman." In this interview, Bacon explains the challenges of playing opposite his talented spouse and why he decided to take on this very dark, very difficult part:

INTERVIEW WITH KEVIN BACON ('Walter'):

When you share such an intense emotional bond with your co-star, how tough is it to impose distance on that relationship for the purposes of creating a character?
Between me and Kyra? You know, that’s the hard thing, certainly in this case, because we have to kind of erase 16 years of marriage and pretend that we’re just meeting for the first time, and just falling in love. Look, I mean, that’s what acting is - it’s pretending that something is there when it’s not. So often you’re called on to do the opposite. You go, “Hey, this is Jimmy and he’s going to be your father,” and you have to pretend that this guy that you are just meeting for the first time brought you up. So in this case, it’s kind of like just another kind of acting exercise.

She’s an amazing actress and the good news is that you get in there, you get on the set and you are working with someone that’s really talented. You’re throwing the ball, they’re throwing it back at you. You know what I mean? You can play it. The bad news - on a personal note - is that we tend not to work at the same time. It’s very rare that we do. If you look at how many movies we’ve made, we’ve only done a few together, because what happens is I am, if I’m working, she’s the support system for me. If she goes to work, then that flips, and I become the support system for her. So when we’re both working we’re not really there for each other, because we’re so kind of consumed with what it is that we’re doing. We almost [always] have to come back together as a couple after the job is over.

What is it like going home after intense days like the ones you encountered on this film?
It is…it’s difficult. Look, in general, this is not a pleasant place to go to work every day, to be in this guy’s skin, for her to be in the skin of that character carrying around a lot of shame and a lot of hurt. And certainly it’s just not fun. But acting is exhilarating in a lot of ways. When you feel like you’ve done a good job, when you feel like you’ve connected to something emotional. That’s why we do it. But people have asked me if it was hard for me, or us, to shake it off and I realized that it’s not so much the ‘shaking off’ that’s hard. It’s the knowing that you’ve gotta go back down in it the next day.

For instance, you come to Friday night when you’re shooting “The Woodsman” and it’s late. You wrap and you have a beer. It’s not a full-blown party, because Monday morning you’ve got to be Walter again. That’s where it can sort of takes its toll. That being said, when the whole picture is done and they tell me the print came in from the lab and the lab dailies are fine, I’m gone. That guy’s gone.

Would you have been comfortable with any other actress as the Vickie character?
Sure. I would have. No, definitely. Having her around did not make it any easier. It’s not like I need her to get into something. Having her around was great because she’s the best person to play the part. Because there’s not a lot of people that pop into my head, at least, who could be sexy, tough and direct, and also believe that they were going to work in a lumber yard and be able to drive a forklift or be able to kick some guy around. She’s got that kind of ability, to pull those two sides of woman, and so that’s why I’m glad she did it. And believe me, it took a while to convince her to do it. She read the script and said, “I think you should do it.” And the producer suggested to me, “What about Kyra?” She said, “If it was anybody else in this part, I would say yes. But I don’t want to get in the way of you doing your work.” She said, “I think you should get somebody younger and hotter.”

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