Magazine article Newsweek

His Dark Materials; after More Than 25 Years and All Those Great, Edgy Roles, Kevin Bacon's Still Footloose and Oscar-Free

Magazine article Newsweek

His Dark Materials; after More Than 25 Years and All Those Great, Edgy Roles, Kevin Bacon's Still Footloose and Oscar-Free

Article excerpt

Byline: Sean Smith

The last time I was at the Oscars," Kevin Bacon says, "was in 1982--to present somebody with a sound-effects-editing award." Despite strong performances in films ranging from "Footloose" to "JFK," "Diner" to "Apollo 13," despite rave reviews for his role last year in "Mystic River," Bacon has never been nominated for an Academy Award. "If getting awards was the most important thing for me," he says, "I would have jumped out the window a long time ago." OK, but still... "Yeah," Bacon admits, "it's been a lot of years of feeling that, to a certain extent, there's this club of which I am not a member."

Bacon's latest film, "The Woodsman," gives the Academy good reason to extend an invite at last. This spare, haunting drama from first-time director Nicole Kassell follows Walter (Bacon), a pedophile released from prison, who struggles to rebuild his life while battling the loathing of his co-workers and his own dark desires. Bacon could have played Walter either as harmless victim or as incurable predator. He chose to play him as something far more dangerous: both. "Kevin's daring beyond words," says the film's producer, Lee Daniels, whose last movie, "Monster's Ball," earned Halle Berry an Oscar. In fact, Daniels recalls, when Bacon approached him about starring in the film, "I said, 'Are you sure you want to do this?' I liked him so much, I didn't want him to ruin his f---ing career." That didn't faze Bacon one bit. "I tarnished my image a long time ago," he says, laughing. "It's like my macho thing. I don't jump out of airplanes or go on safari. But there's nothing I won't play."

This may be part of the reason he's been overlooked for so many years. Bacon, 46, has one of the most eclectic--even bizarre--resumes of any working actor, hopping from glamour projects like "A Few Good Men," to soft-core camp like "Wild Things," to art-house fare like "In the Cut. …

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