At long last, what may very well be Fox's best new drama of the season arrives on Monday. The Following star Kevin Bacon spoke to the press on a conference call today, giving us a few interesting insights about the show and his character Ryan Hardy, an FBI agent who's brought out of retirement when serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) escapes from prison.
The Following marks a pretty major shift for Kevin Bacon, whose TV roles in recent years have been limited to the occasional guest appearance, and even those have been too few and far between. The actor tends to stick to features. But from what Bacon tells us, he's been in the market for a good TV project for a few years.
I'd been looking for a television series for a long time and trying to get my head around it - my initial call, if you will, to my representatives was probably three or four years ago. But it just took some time to find the right one. I had seen Kyra's experience second-hand and was also finding myself to be more and more of a television consumer as the quality of the shows and the writing seemed to be getting better and better. I just found myself really knocked out by so many shows in sitting down and spending a weekend watching every episode of The Wire. Stuff like that. And then this one had the qualities that I was drawn to.
While he's never starred in a TV show, Bacon has done a bit of directing for television, having helmed a handful of episodes of The Closer, which stars his wife Kyra Sedgwick. But Bacon never actually appeared in the TNT drama, and from what he says (when asked if Sedgwick might guest star), it doesn't sound like Sedgwick will appear in The Following - at least, not anytime soon.
I don't think so. I'll tell you why I feel like that seems to be a risky - you noticed I never acted on The Closer, because I think that when you have a strong character and then you take someone that has a relationship outside of it that people are aware of, you really run the risk of jumping the shark. You know, it kind of feels like stunt casting. I don't think that she would be interested in acting on the show. You know what? Never say never. Who knows?
I love that answer, not just because he leaves it somewhat open-ended, but because he acknowledges the stunt casting element that comes into play when you bring in the spouse of the star of the show to play a guest role. Sure, it would be fun to see the two of them on screen together, but in a suspenseful series such as The Following, it might actually be too much of a distraction. And it feels a bit gimmicky.
A few more spoilery tidbits after the jump!
Here's where things get just a bit more spoilery (no major reveals, just some interesting character commentary), so read on with that in mind.
Speaking of the series itself, the dynamic between Bacon's character FBI agent Ryan Hardy and Purefoy's serial killing Joe Carroll is one of the most compelling aspects of the series. Hardy's kind of a loner who's dedicated but not much of a people person. Carroll, on the other hand, has the kind of magnetism that makes people crave his attention. In fact, it's his charismatic nature that allows him to develop the dark following of people we begin to see at the start of the series. But how does Ryan Hardy feel about Joe? From what Bacon says, it sounds like that answer is complicated, but it will be addressed directly with a flashback episode at some point during the series…
In one of the episodes, we go back and we meet Ryan when he first meets Joe and before he knows that Joe is a suspect. He's just interviewing him by happenstance on this college campus. And what you see is that he gets strangely seduced by Joe. Not in a sexual way but just in a friendship way. Joe sees into Ryan and is able to kind of play him like a violin. And there's a lot of qualities of Joe that Ryan really admires.
If you've seen the previews, clips and trailers and you think you're going to like this show, be excited, because you probably will. We'll have more to say on that when we share our review. In the meantime, take Bacon's word for it…
It'll keep you on the edge of your seat. It will shock you and surprise you and hopefully you will get drawn into, not only what's going on plot-wise, but also what's going on emotionally with these characters that you'll want to come back the next week to see where things go.
The Following premieres Monday, January 21 at 9:00 p.m. ET on Fox.