Kevin Bacon: Footloose and fancy free

Following is a conversation entertainment reporter Nate Messer had with a guy who vaguely resembles movie actor Kevin Bacon about his role in the upcoming film, "The Woodsman."

Nate: Hi, Kevin. Thanks for taking the time to talk to the Vanguard.

Kevin: Hi, Nate. Please, call me Kev.

N: Great, Kev. There seems to be a lot of buzz about your upcoming film, "The Woodsman." I’ve heard the word "Oscar" quite a few times.

K: [laughs] Here we go.

N: Could you talk about that?

K: Well, Nate, there’s a part of me that thinks "Oscar" has a little red light and an alarm that goes off every time an underappreciated, has-been actor resurfaces to take on a difficult role. It’s like "Hey! Jim Varney’s back from the dead! And he’s playing an alcoholic social worker! Beep-beep-beep – and the Oscar goes to…" [laughs].

N: You sounded like Robin Williams just then!

K: That’s a compliment. Robin’s a dear friend.

N: So, in the film you play a woodsman.

K: Correct.

N: How do you, as an actor, prepare for a role that you know is sensitive, that you know people are going to have an emotional reaction to?

K: Hopefully people will have an emotional reaction to any part, regardless of sensitivity. I mean, that’s sort of what good acting is all about.

N: Good point.

K: But I think I understand what you mean. Woodsmen are certainly figures that are ostracized by society, and the initial feeling going into a project like this is "OK, people don’t want to have anything to do with woodsmen in their own lives, why would anyone want to watch or be entertained by this person in a movie?" But I think that’s where the value is in a project like this. The film certainly doesn’t condone or defend the woodsman, but perhaps it is illuminating, for the better or for the worse, this character that exists, but is just sort of swept under society’s carpet.

N: Yes, and maybe through examining art, we learn something about ourselves and how we allow society to be presented to us.

K: Well, I didn’t want to say that we each have a woodsman inside us, but perhaps that isn’t too far off. You know, in this country, death by axe still makes up for a millionth of a percentage, which is no small number. You probably know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody . . .

N: Not to bring levity to such a serious subject, but one could say it’s the six degrees of woodsmen-related deaths. Right, Kev?

K: Hey, humor is a good thing. We laugh through our tragedies.

N: You have first-hand experience with such a tragedy, don’t you?

K: Yes, my father was injured by a hatchet during a childhood camping trip. I remember having to drive five miles to the nearest store in the dark for a band-aid, since we left the first aid kit at home.

N: Was your father a woodsman?

K: Well, we were camping in the woods, so yes, at the time he was.

N: Do you think Oscar is going to take that into consideration?

K: Fuck, I sure hope so.

N: Thanks again for talking to us, Kev. Maybe someday I’ll have the opportunity to interview you for real and not just make up a bunch of bullshit to fill space.

K: Hey, I’d do the same thing if I hadn’t gotten any free movie tickets out of this whole newspaper deal.

N: Straight up.