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Interview with Kevin Bacon

From "The Woodsman"

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Kevin Bacon stars in The Woodsman

Kevin Bacon in "The Woodsman"

© Newmarket Films
What do you think about the overall theme of the movie?
I feel like it is a kind of disease and a kind of addiction. I think that it is something that cannot be cured in the traditional sense. That’s part of Walter’s journey and his struggle that he thinks he’s done the crime and he’s done the time and it’s all behind him. I think what he realizes at the end of the movie is that this is something that he’s going to have to deal with every single day of his life, in the same way that an alcoholic is always going to be an alcoholic. He may not be drinking, but he’s still an alcoholic.

Do you feel like this film is the exception to what normally happens to people in his position?
What happens to him? Well, I think it’s a little bit obtuse at the end of the movie what is going to happen to him. [spoiler deleted] I think that at the beginning of the movie he kind of feels like he is the victim, which couldn’t be further from the truth. And I also think that he thinks it’s all behind him, it’s all in the past. It’s hopeful in that I think he’s starting to get some kind of self-awareness and realize that it’s something that he’s going to have to deal with, but it’s definitely not wrapped up in a neat little bow…

What do you think is the realization that Walter comes to in order to be able to move on?
Well, I think when he sits with the little girl and he hears her start to… I think he sees himself, in a way. For the first time he steps back and sees himself looking in, and he sees her talking about what’s going on with her father. And all of a sudden, it’s like he really gets it. I think he gets it for the first time.

How difficult was that scene to play?
Very difficult. And it was very difficult process because while when I first read the script, I knew how to play one moment in that scene. I knew it, I felt it, I heard it. I knew how to do it. I didn’t know how to do the whole movie, but I knew how to do this one moment. But everything around that took a lot of work, because there were parts of the scene that I really didn’t like. And while I had a very wonderful and collaborative relationship with Nicole, the director who developed the screenplay and wrote it, we also went to bat quite a bit on that scene. It went through a lot of rewrites up until the point where we shot it. Then we shot it and everything went wrong - tons of airplanes, it rained, some kid on a f***ing motorscooter that was riding around the park. It was a rough day. And then the scene went through a whole bunch of transitions in the editing room. It’s actually much shorter than what we shot, much sparser. But at its core, that moment still works.

How did you make the little girl comfortable?
I worked with kids quite a bit in kind of rough situations, between “Sleepers” and “The River Wild.” I did a movie called - I can’t even remember what it was called. Just I’ve been in situations that have been kind of difficult for kids, and what I like to do is make it as clear as possible to them that I am not that guy, and they are not that person. That we are actors and we’re going to pretend together. That we are going to be colleagues and roll up our sleeves and act off of each other.

I talked about my little girl and tried to make her feel as safe as possible. She knew exactly what the screenplay was about. Her mother knew exactly what the screenplay was about. She knew exactly what the scene was about. She worked with Nicole and we spent one rehearsal together, so I think when we got to shooting I think she felt safe. And I think, personally, that’s when you’re going to get the best work out of an actress, young or old.

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