Kevin Bacon has revealed that he wasn't exactly dancing on air at the idea of being remembered as Ren McCormack for the rest of his life.
The Golden Globe–winning star, who got his big break as a young actor playing a rule-breaking dancer in Footloose, said on a recent Podcrushed episode that he rejected all of the fame foisted upon him following the success of the 1984 film because, at the time, he envisioned himself to be a much more serious actor.
"When I became a pop star, the last thing I wanted to be was a pop star," Bacon told Penn Badgley and his cohosts of his early ambitions. "I had already moved into, 'I want to be Dustin Hoffman or Meryl [Streep] or John Cazale or [Robert] De Niro. I want to work with [Martin] Scorsese. I want to do Chekhov.' You know what I mean?"
Everett Collection Kevin Bacon in 'Footloose'
He continued, "I was so into what my idea of a serious actor was, and all of a sudden I was given this thing that was completely not a serious actor. So I rejected it, full on. And really, I think in some ways, I tried to self-sabotage that piece of myself and my popularity."
Bacon recalled feeling uneasy back in the day about his newfound '80s heartthrob status. "I was very, very uncomfortable with photo shoots and magazines, and all these things that I dreamed of as a kid," he said. "Everything that I had dreamed of gave me a tremendous amount of self-doubt and anxiety."
That's why when the party game "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" became a well-known cultural phenomenon, Bacon was completely "horrified by it," he said.
"I thought that, and this is my own acting insecurity — impostor syndrome — I thought that the joke of it was that the great actors could be connected to a loser actor like me," he confessed earlier in the episode. "They were saying, 'Look, can you believe he can be connected by Meryl Streep?' By the way, I think I had already worked with Meryl Streep, so it wasn't even… It's just in my own head."
Over time, Bacon realized the game wasn't created to discredit his acting career and leaned into it. "I eventually learned to embrace it, and I realized it wasn't really going away," he said. "It's just an idea."
He has since founded the nonprofit organization Six Degrees, which "supports impactful initiatives to sustain and enrich local communities," per its website. Earlier this month, he also launched the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon podcast, on which he has interviewed Mark Ruffalo, Matthew McConaughey, and more about the nonprofits they're most passionate about.
Listen to Bacon talk about his Footloose fame in the podcast above.
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