Scaring actors on the set of horror movies is sometimes a tactic used by directors to create a genuine reaction for the best and most authentic jump scares within their film. In You Should Have Left, Kevin Bacon is at the forefront of several scary moments which will likely leave the audience jumping as far as his Theo character does. However, there were definitely no gags or jokes to try to get the best scared reaction from the actor on set. You Should Have Left director David Koepp teamed up with Bacon in the past when they made Stir of Echoes more than 20 years ago. As it turns out, Koepp learned a lesson about scaring his lead actor on that film's set.
"I [intentionally scared Kevin Bacon] on the last movie we did together, which was about 20 years ago," Koepp explained. "I needed to startle him, and I got a starter's pistol, and I fired it when he wasn't looking and I got a far worse reaction. It just kind of pissed him off, and he said, 'I don't need that.' So, I didn't do that. I knew better than to do that this time."
Bacon has a storied career with dozens of titles and performances under his belt, having now honed in on exactly what he wants to do. Koepp took advantage of that skill set rather than try to scare anything out of the artist.
"He's obviously such an accomplished actor, and everything is very carefully calibrated," Koepp explained. "And he's also keeping in mind where he's going. So, you know, you have a scared face, but you better come to the scary movie with, you know, 17 scary faces, scared faces, otherwise you're gonna be doing the same thing the whole time. And because our movie becomes kind of a Rubik's Cube of how many times have I gone through this door, and which part of the thing is this? So we really almost had to keep a flow chart of where he's at in levels of freaked-outedness."
Still, the actor has no fear when it comes to get his hands dirty in the trenches of a horror film. "That's part of making these kinds of movies, is things are slimy, and gross, and uncomfortable, and you're in situations where, I mean, that's part of the fun," Bacon told ComicBook.com. "I'm one of those people that I've seen so many different things happen, and been in so many different situations on movie sets, but I am not jaded about the magic of the smoke and mirrors. I still really love it. I love to watch how we're all gonna get together and figure out something that's in the script, and how to actually physically do it. You know, it was always kinda great. And to see the different jobs that people on crews have, in the way that they problem-solve is something that I really admire."
Koepp and Bacon's work on You Should Have Left is available on demand on Friday, June 19.