Kevin Bacon’s Favorite Cop Car Is the Crown Vic
The Hollywood vet dishes on Austin-Healeys, stolen police cruisers and the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to him in a car.
In Cop Car, Kevin Bacon plays a menacing sheriff with a secret. This secret, like those of most American public figures, is poorly hidden—in this case, in the trunk of Cop Car’s titular Crown Vic police cruiser. When the car is stolen by a pair of 10-year-old runaways, not much hilarity ensues.
Bacon, whose portrayal has garnered award-season chatter, has never stolen a cop car (we asked). Neither has he Googled “stolen cop car” (question No. 2). Googlers among you may be shocked at the frequency of cop-car grand larceny in our fair land, usually undertaken among the already apprehended, fueled as they are by alcohol, meth, synthetic pot, handcuffs and/or nudity.
We failed to ask Bacon if it was possible to play Six Degrees of Stolen Cop Car, connecting him directly to one of these daring perps in a half-dozen steps or less, but we covered just about everything else. Highlights of our fast-moving confab below.
The Drive: We're partial to the Fox-body Mustangs driven by the Florida Highway Patrol in the Eighties, as well as the beached-whale NYPD Chevy Caprices of the mid-Nineties. Does the star of Cop Car have a favorite cop car?”
Kevin Bacon: Well… no, I guess, not really. Though when I think cop car, I do think Crown Vic.
You experienced success at a relatively early age. Did you make any terrible car purchases during your first brush with fame?
I bought a 1961 Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite. I bought it in L.A., and my buddy drove it across the country for me, and it was a super-cool car. It was British Racing Green and, really, just the way that everything functioned was so cool and so interesting. I loved it. But that is a car for people who know how to work on cars. And I’m not one of them. That’s a car that, you take it for a spin, you take it back and you work on it. It was always in the shop.
Did it make it to New York?
Oh yeah, it made it to New York. But my friend told me that pushing it over the Rockies was quite something. He said he just had to talk to it. “Come on. You can do it. Come on little guy.”
Do you have a fantasy car?
This is going to sound really corny, but I’d love to have an alternative-fuel, biodiesel Checker Marathon. Partly because when I first moved to New York, they were still on the street. I grew up in Philly, and as a kid, I remember getting in and seeing that jump seat, and I remember thinking that was the craziest, coolest thing to be able to sit in that thing—safety notwithstanding. And then, they sort of went away, and I was up in the Vineyard one summer in the Eighties, and somebody had one and they were using it as a personal car. And it was kind of gunmetal black. And I thought, that is really super-cool.
And why the biodiesel part?
I’m into fuel economy and the environment and alternative fuels. And I’m not a crazy car guy. I’m not so into power and all that kind of stuff. It’s not all that important to me. Although I have to say that when I was in RIPD, the character I was playing drove a Dodge Challenger. And I could feel that car, and I could feel that it wanted to go. But throughout the whole movie, I was either being towed or only driving at, like, 12 miles an hour.
"I’d love to have an alternative-fuel, biodiesel Checker Marathon."
We were finally shooting a scene, and I said to the director, “I should come screaming out of this spot, right?” And he was like, “No, no, no, you’re not in a hurry. You just want to just slowly kind of creep.” I was, like, “Shit.”
But then after about two takes, he said, “You know, I was wrong about that.” We had this street in front of Fenway Park closed off for about two blocks, so it was all protected. And I just got to open it up for take after take after take after take.
Last question: What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you in a car?
My son was born in a hospital in L.A. We were living in New York at the time, and we brought him home from the hospital to the hotel, and he was like, four days old, something like that. And my wife and I had him in the car seat in back, and we both jumped out of the car, and we left the keys in the car—with the doors locked and the engine running. And, obviously, we panicked.
That was back when we were driving a Nissan Pathfinder, when they still had the little vent window up front. I don’t know if you can even get that on a car anymore. But in like five seconds, the garage attendant put something around his fist, punched the window right out, reached in and opened the door. Needless to say, we were grateful.
The guy still works there. I still see him there. And whenever I do, I still recall that, with gratitude.
Cop Car will be released on DVD and BluRay on September 29th.