Television: Following in the footsteps of Kevin Bacon .....
WHEN Shawn Ashmore was cast alongside Kevin Bacon in crime series The Following the first thing he did was find his ‘‘Bacon number’’. Using a Google search engine, Ashmore discovered there was only two degrees of separation between himself and the Hollywood star.
It’s not uncommon for actors to find their ‘‘Bacon number’’, which is based on the party game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, before starting work with him.
The pop-culture craze started when Bacon once commented he’d worked with almost everyone in Hollywood.
Google designed a search engine around the game – all you need to do is type in an actor’s name and the words ‘‘bacon number’’ and the figure appears.
‘‘I did the maths as soon I figured out I got the show,’’ says Ashmore on phone from Canada.
‘‘I worked with Jonathan Tucker and he worked in movie ( Sleepers) with Kevin, so I was two degrees before, and now I am one.
‘‘Everybody who works with Kevin does the math to work out where they were beforehand.’’
The Following, an intense crime series about an FBI agent tracking down a serial killer, is Ashmore’s biggest break in television.
Bacon plays Ryan Hardy, a former FBI agent who is recalled to service to act as a consultant for the agency while Ashmore plays young FBI agent Mike Weston.
Ashmore says the series was a turning point in his own career as he graduated from fresh-faced, younger roles to a more gritty and mature character.
‘‘I feel like a real man now, they’ve given me a badge and gun,’’ says Ashmore, tongue in cheek.
‘‘I know I’m joking, but there is an expectation of maturity and responsibility when you play someone in a profession as serious as this, who puts their life on line each day.’’
While The Following is Ashmore’s biggest break in TV, playing Iceman in the latest instalment of the X-Men movie franchise is the biggest film production he has been associated with.
He reprises his role as Iceman in the X-Men: Days Of The Future Past, which is being filmed in Canada.
He first played Ice Man in the original X-Men, then again in X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand.
‘‘ The Following is the biggest break purely from the exposure it gets,’’ Ashmore says.
‘‘My big break in films was getting asked to come back in X2.
‘‘That’s what lifted me and gave me confidence . . . from struggling and to give acting a go but X-Men: Future Past is the biggest in budget and scale wise that I have ever worked on.’’
The Following: Wednesday (June 12), 9.30pm, Nine, NBN.