By Fred Topel | Image property of 20th Century Fox.
Kevin Bacon struggles to get the bullet to fit
Kevin Bacon is not the actor you usually think about as an action hero. As a dancer, yes, even though Footloose was over two decades ago. Death Sentence casts Bacon as a vengeful father going after the gang bangers who killed his son. It is full of kick ass stunts, but Bacon brought his acting chops to the character arc too.
Death Sentence with Kevin Bacon
"Actors really like transitions," said Bacon. "You like to take a character from point A to point B. He starts out as a nerdy, suburban run of the mill kind of guy, nothing really extraordinary about him and has to transform in the course of the film into someone who is able to take another man’s life, quite a few at that. It’s a physical transformation as well as an emotional one."
A veteran actor, Bacon knows how to evaluate a script's demands before taking on the role. "You look at some scripts and you go ‘Well, it’s going to be emotionally taxing’ and you look at some scripts and you go ‘Well it’ll probably be physically very difficult to get through’ and this is a movie that kind of had both. There’s about five minutes in the movie where I’m happy at the very beginning. Then from that point on it’s various levels of fear and anguish and sorrow and hatred and physical violence. That’s the challenge."
It will be great fun for us to watch Bacon take out the bad guys, so the actor sacrificed his own mental state for our amusement. "I mean, that’s the worse thing you could possibly imagine is something happening to your kids or someone doing something to your kids. I mean, when I look at just my face in this film, there’s a tremendous amount of stress I think on this character and that all has to do with putting those feelings that you have for your kids in your gut and hoping that it comes out through your face."
The simple revenge tale will also reach a broader audience than many of Bacon's last films. Always taking risks, his work in The Woodsman and Where the Truth Lies won critical acclaim from those who screened it, but Death Sentence will actually reach thousands of screens.
"One for the meal, one for the reel," Bacon joked. "You can say that but it’s always a roll of the dice about whether people are going to see it or not. There are no guarantees even if you say, ‘Well I think maybe this movie feels more commercial/less commercial.’ Who knows? It’s the same thing with the small movies. Sometimes they break out and based on how much they cost, they have a tremendous upside that you don’t really expect. So it’s not so much the reason to do it."