In the annals of celebrity ad appearances, Kevin Bacon’s recent spot for the Logitech Revue with Google TV — which has been lighting up the Internet for the better part of a week now — easily ranks as one of the strangest, and most endearing, in recent memory. As Ivan, the world’s biggest Kevin Bacon fan, the actor sports a paunch, thinning hair, and the most impressive collection of Kevin Bacon tchotchkes — posters, props, painted portraits, you name it — ever assembled inside a single ranch-style home. How did the actor dream up the character? Who came up with all that Bacon-phrenalia? And what does this mean for the famed Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game? The actor gamely phoned up EW to answer all these questions, and more.
But first, just in case you haven’t seen it yet, check out the 60 second ad:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So how did this whole thing come together?
KEVIN BACON: [Logitech] sent me like a breakdown for [the ad]. I read it and said, you know, it could be kind of cool, but I have to make sure that we’re all in sync about it. I didn’t know how far they wanted to go with the look and the character. If it was just me kind of walking around, people would think it was weird. So I started to talk with the director, this guy Ringan Ledwidge. And he was like yeah, we should really go far [with the character]. It was sort of like any other character that you play. You have to figure out the back story and you gotta figure out who he is and what makes him tick, what’s his life like. Exactly the same process working on anything [else].
It’s a pretty distinct character — the paunch, the voice, the hair. How did you come up with that? How far did you want to take it?
It’s funny, I don’t know always where all these things come from. I happened to have a mustache and so we left that on. We started to test some different things in terms of the hair and the makeup. At one point there was some concern that I was going to go too far away from me — you wouldn’t know it was me. I said, “Listen, I don’t want to be a diva about this, but you guys just have to let me do this the way I want to do it, because I think it’s going to work.” It was a really fun day [of shooting]. And what’s on the air is really just a tiny taste of what we shot.
What else did you shoot? Do you think we’ll see it?
I hope so man, I really do, because it’s great. Uh, let’s see, well there’s a little dancing that was kind of fun. [Laughs] There’s a lot more there. I would hope [it will be released], I don’t know. It’s up to Logitech.
Where did all the Kevin Bacon paraphernalia come from?
The art director put that stuff together. I had nothing to do with that. It blew my mind. I mean, I walked into this house and I was like, Oh my god, you gotta be kidding me. There was one little thing, I don’t know if you see it in the commercial or not, where they had taken this series of little diagrams of my hairstyles, from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. It’s just so silly. I loved it.
To walk into someone’s idea of a house of an obsessive fan of yours — it seems like it could be a bit like the scene in Being John Malkovich where John Malkovich goes into his own head.
It was a little weird, but, I mean, at this point, what’s weird is not weird anymore. You know what I mean? It’s just the way my life is. But it was fun. It was like a day of just playing. I really like doing comedy, and I don’t get the opportunity that often because I’m not one of the comedy guys. The last few years there have been a certain kind of intensity to the parts I’ve been getting and the kinds of movies I’ve been in. So to get a chance to lighten it up every once in a while is kind of fun.
Is it strange at all, imagining the life of an obsessive fan?
I know people have mentioned that it’s a little creepy, but I don’t find him creepy. I worked to make him sweet and genuine. In a way, I feel like there’s a certain responsibility to do that because the last thing I would want to do is make fun of a fan. [Chuckles] Because that’s my bread and butter, right?
So does this now put you within, like, negative degrees of Kevin Bacon? How does that work?
[Laughs] I don’t know. That’s one for the bloggers. I’m not that much of an expert.
Well, I don’t know if anyone is more of an expert on Kevin Bacon than Kevin Bacon, but if you say so.
But, you know, the game [Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon] — I’m not sure exactly how that works.
Okay. I just feel like the cosmos might implode in on itself at any moment now.
[Chuckles] Yeah, I’ve upset the balance.