By Stephanie Goldberg
(CNN) — After spending the majority of his 35 years in the biz starring on the big screen, Kevin Bacon says it was his own viewing habits that inspired him to hit the tube.
“I was finding myself to be more and more of a TV consumer as the quality and writing of the shows seemed to get better and better,” Bacon told press during a recent conference call. “I found myself really knocked out by so many shows.”
And it’s not a coincidence that the shows he counts as his favorites – “Breaking Bad,” “The Killing,” “Homeland” and “The Wire” – all share a common theme with his new Fox series, “The Following.”
“I wanted to do something that was about life and death,” he said. “When I was trying to choose a series, I wanted to be the hero. I wanted the character to be complex and flawed, because that’s the kind of [hero] that I like to play that’s the kind of [hero] that I like to see.”
Complex certainly describes Bacon’s former FBI agent, alcoholic Ryan Hardy.
“He’s got a lot of baggage,” Bacon said of his character, who finds himself entangled in a cult of serial killers led by James Purefoy’s Joe Carroll.
“The fact that we’re able to go back in flashback and get some insight into why they’ve become who they’ve become,” Bacon said, “the fact that you can meet this guy Ryan Hardy and know that something is bothering him deeply, but not learn all the details of that in the first episode, is an exciting thing for an actor to go and peel the layers back.”
“We are making a thriller, and it’s a tense, fast-paced, exciting thriller that has a lot of moments that are a real surprise, and that’s really what hit me when I was reading the script,” he continued. “I honestly wasn’t even looking for something on network [TV]. … I found it to be such a page-turner.”
Watching wife Kyra Sedgwick’s “The Closer” run for seven seasons on TNT, Bacon said he was prepared to commit to “The Following.”
“We have a really strong central family, but we also are gypsies,” he said. “So that was a real adjustment for [Sedgwick] on ‘The Closer’ and I think will be for me as well. … It’s overwhelming to think you’re going to sign up for something for six years. That rarely happens. Rarely do pilots even get picked up. You have to think if it’s a place you want to stay in for a good amount of time.”
“The Following” premieres Monday on Fox at 9 p.m. ET.
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