Kevin Bacon

  1. Sean Penn, Bad Boys, 1982.      Those were the days… when Bacon and Tom Cruise also auditioned for the same  roles.  This time, director Rick Rosenthal simply chose the best actor.
  2. Keith Gordon, Christine, 1983.  Shot before the novel came out, this is  #8 of Stephen King’s staggering 312 screen credits… Christine is one helluva car. A red, Plymouth Fury, circa 1958. It killed one worker and maimed another before leaving the factory.  Gordon buys it 21 years later, and it – the car – changes him from a bullied male-Carrie to a cool guy winning Alexandra Paul. That makes the car jealous and…  Bacon didn’t buy any of it and danced off to Footloose. He was up for another Stephen King car tale in 2008:  Dolan’s Cadillac, Scott Baio and John Cusack also rejected Christine. Carefully.
  3. Jeff Bridges, Starman, 1984.     Directors changed more often than the alien: John Badham, Adrian Lynne, Mark Rydell, Tony Scott.  Bridges helped made it the sole  John Carpenter film to win an  Oscar nod.
  4. Tom Cruise, Top Gun, 1985.   Among those passing on cocky USNavy jet pilot Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell were: Bacon, Robert Downey Jr, Michael J Fox, Rob Lowe, Matthew Modine (took exception to the script’s Cold War politics), Patrick Swayze, Eric Stolz, John Travolta (too pricey)  and brothers Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez.  Too young, at 20, Sheen sent the whole movie up in Hot Shots! 1990.   Maverick became one of Cruise’s signature acts – still  took 34 years for a sequel!
  5. Bill Pullman, The Serpent and the Rainbow,  1987.     Wes Craven had a minuscule $1.5m budget and  rejections  from  every leading man.  “We had to go with an unknown…  Bill was pleased to show  what he could do.”
  6. Patrick Swayze, Ghost, 1990.      Me – a ghost?  Get outa here.   Alec Baldwin and The Toms – Cruise and Hanks – said much the same. Plus Bruce Willis – and Mrs Bruce, Demi Moore, was the leading lady!
  7. Brad Pitt, Thelma & Louise, 1990. 
  8. Keanu Reeves, Speed, 1993. There were 30 stars queuing for Die Hard On A Bus. From A Listers Jeff Bridges, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze, even Mr Die Hard, himself, Bruce Willis… to the B group: Kevin Bacon, three Baldwin brothers (Alec, Stephen and William), Michael Biehn, Bruce Campbell, George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Richard Dreyfuss, Michael Keaton, Christophe(r) Lambert, Viggo Mortensen, Dennis Quaid, Mickey Rourke, Tom Selleck… and two also-rans Bruce Campbell and Chuck Norris. All crushed by a whippersnapper!
  9. Antonio Banderas, Assassins, 1995.   When Stallone could not persuade the studio about Nic Cage, he suggested Bacon. “But Antonio was great, while being very charming and still struggling with the language. He managed to create a different kind of opponent.”
  10. Jared Leto, SwitchBack, 1997.    Producer Jeb Stuart almost  got this project rolling in the ’80s as Going West with Sidney Poitier, Robert Duvall and Jared Leto.  Apparently, they all agreed with Roger Ebert’s criticism: “not a good movie, but it does an admirable job of distracting us from how bad it is.”

  11. Charlie Sheen, Being John Malkovich, 1998.     Charlie Kaufman’s (exceedingly) original script had all Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon as Malkovich’s acting pal. More credible than Sheen.
  12. Cillian Murphy, Red Eye, 2004.   Horrorsmith Wes Craven also saw Nicolas Cage, Willem Dafoe, Ray Liotta, John Malkovich, Edward Norton, Sean Penn, Michael Pitt and John Travolta. Craven said Murphy’s eyes won the creepy Jackson Rippner. (Geddit?)
  13.  Christopher Walken, Fade To Black, 2006.     As Orson Welles narrates: “If you want history – read a history book.”Bacon turned down one of the satellites around aWelles (Danny Huston) up to his neck in murder, politics, and otherintrigues (Vatican, Mafia, State Department) while playing Cagliostro in Black Magic  at Cinecitta, circa 1948.. No way to mark the fifth anniversary of Orson’s death. 
  14. Laurence Fishburne, Black Water Transit, 2007.    Bacon and Samuel L Jackson had also been in the much delayed mix of the lame thriller. Never seen in any cinema since its market screening (ie looking for buyers) at the 2009 Cannes festival. Transit transferred direct to video. Not even Bruce Willis could have saved it – and he tried in 2006. With Sam then set for Jack.
  15. Wes Bentley, Dolan’s Cadillac, 2008.  When Stacy Title was due to direct, the eighth of Stephen King’s staggering 313 screen credits, Bacon was set for Robinson. But  Canadian director Jeff Beesley (from Moosejaw, Saskatchewan) bet on Bentley.  Bacon had also been offered the lead of an earlier King car tale, Christine, 1983.
  16. Michael August, Zombieland,   2009.      As the police office zombie, when the idea was to have several celebrity zombs – Mark Hamill, Matthew McConaughey, Joe Pesci, Patrick Swayze, Jean-Claude Van Damme, etc.





 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  16