In the vibrant landscape of 1980s cinema, Kevin Bacon emerged as a sudden and unmistakable icon. Yet, as is often the case, this meteoric rise was not as immediate as it seemed. Prior to his career catapulting to stardom, Bacon had a hand in crafting some of the most memorable films of the ’80s, and his ascent wasn’t without its reservations.
In a candid recounting during a SAG-AFTRA interview, Bacon reminisced about his involvement in “Diner,” a 1982 film that played a pivotal role in thrusting him into the limelight. He reflects that, at the time, the experience didn’t feel particularly monumental. He acknowledges, “It didn’t seem like that big a deal. Diner was this unbelievable critical success, but it was like a big movie.”
Curiously, it was through the realm of home entertainment that the Barry Levinson production, now regarded as one of the definitive dramas of its era, truly found its audience. This reception didn’t entirely align with Bacon’s expectations. He recounts attending the premiere of “Diner” and feeling a sense of disappointment. “I remember going to the premiere of Diner, and I was really disappointed,” he admits. “I’d heard that it was good but the first time that I saw it was the premiere. I was like, ‘Wow, it’s so dark, and can you really tell the difference between any of the characters?’”
This moment, though initially disheartening, served as a valuable lesson in humility for Bacon. It offered him insight into the curious dichotomy between an artist’s perspective on their own work and the way it’s received by the world. He reflects, “It was a great lesson in how my own perception of things that I’m in is just totally, totally skewed.”
Since those formative days, Bacon’s career has unfurled in a remarkably prosperous fashion. He graced the screen in “Tremors,” an enduring classic in the realm of monster movies, and in “Footloose,” a beloved cornerstone of romantic cinema. His name became synonymous with household recognition, and his filmography has expanded to such an extent that an entire realm of Hollywood trivia revolves around the concept of linking any filmmaker back to Kevin Bacon in six degrees of separation or fewer.