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They/Them Director John Logan On Kevin Bacon And That Friday The 13th Easter Egg

The horror genre has been in a thrilling renaissance for around a decade, to the delight of fans. Plenty of the modern classics have come from Blumhouse Productions, including Peacock’s new release They/Them. And director John Logan spoke to CinemaBlend about Kevin Bacon and that Friday the 13th easter egg.

The new slasher They/Them (opens in new tab) is set at a gay conversion therapy, and features a refreshingly authentic cast of young queer actors. But top billing is none other than Kevin Bacon, who plays camp owner Owen Whistler. Hardcore horror fans will recognize Bacon from the slasher camp classic Friday the 13th, and the new horror flick even has a reference to Jason Voorhees during its runtime. As you can see in the video above, I had the privilege of speaking with director/writer John Logan and the cast ahead of They/Them’s release, where he spoke about why he included Bacon and that reference in the movie. As Logan put it,

Kevin was everything to me. Because when I first started writing it, I very rarely write with individual actors in mind. But Kevin kept coming into my head as I was writing the character of Owen Whistler. Because Kevin has that alchemic ability to go from utterly charming to utterly sinister. And both are completely believable. I desperately wrote this for Kevin. Thankfully he responded favorably so I could drag him back to the slasher camp world one more time.

When the first trailer for They/Them was released online, it definitely gave the vibes of Friday the 13th mixed with Jordan Peele’s Get Out. Kevin Bacon’s presence also helped to sell the retro vibes from his first horror flick. And perhaps it should have come to no surprise that Jason Voorhees’ name ended up being dropped during They/Them’s 104-minute runtime.

Kevin Bacon smiling as Owen Whistler in They/Them

(Image credit: Blumhouse/ Peacock)

Kevin Bacon has had a long history with the horror genre, dating back to the 1980 original Friday the 13th movie. Prior to They/Them he once again returned to horror with You Should Have Left opposite Amanda Seyfried. And Bacon was able to be both charming and terrifying with his performance as Owen Whistler, especially during “therapy” scenes for the young LGBTQ+ characters.

On top of playing Owen Whistler, Kevin Bacon also further put his support behind They/Them’s release, serving as an executive producer on the new horror flick. And after working on the unique LGBTQ+ story, he’s also stepped up as an ally. Namely by putting his support behind an organization called Born Perfect, which aims to closer conversation therapy camps in the real world. It’s no wonder the Footloose icon continues to be a beloved legend of the screen.

They/Them is streaming on Peacock now. Be sure to check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.