Kevin Bacon is famous for being at the centre of a popular game for movie fans – Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon – where you can connect almost any actor to Bacon via six movies or less. One of his movies based on a true story – Apollo 13 – is good for this game, as it also features Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton and more. However, Bacon may have come out of the experience wishing he’d never signed up at all.
The intensive training for his role as astronaut Jack Swigert involved going to flight school and space camp, experiencing a hyperbaric chamber and learning all about the “switches and levers.” But there was one dreaded part of the training – the notorious Vomit Comet. This involved making parabolic flights in the KC-135, which would make the actors weightless for short bursts of time (around 30 seconds) so they would look like they were in space.
Speaking recently to EW, Bacon says; “I did get thrown up on. One of the cameramen threw up on me. What’s interesting about being thrown up on when it’s zero-G is that it hovers there for a while. It’s floating, and there’s nothing you can really do, except go, ‘Here it comes,’ and when they hit the G forces, it’s coming down on you.”
Bacon also took issue with the on-set lunch menu; “We would do about 40 parabolas in the morning, come down and have lunch, and do about 40 parabolas in the afternoon,” he explains. “But it was a giant Mexican fest with burritos and chili con carne, and all this really spicy food. And I was like, ‘Can we just calm down on the lunch thing?’ I was afraid I was going to be wearing it that afternoon.”
In entirely unsurprising news, Tom Hanks took the training so seriously, he could probably be a real-life astronaut. “We learned all about the switches and levers,” Bacon says. “It all went right over my head, but I literally think Hanks could fly in outer space. He was really, really into it. Paxton was too.”
While Apollo 13 is based on space-set true story, check out our guide to the best science fiction movies.