Kevin Bacon was lucky enough to pick up some early roles in movies that would go on to be enduring classics. His first ever movie role was in Animal House – which is now considered one of the best comedy movies of all time. He also got to have a memorable death in the first Friday the 13th movie. Bacon has famously appeared in so many movies with so many other actors, that an entire game has been built around him – Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.
One of Bacon’s best early roles was in 1982’s Diner (written and directed by Barry Levinson, the father of Euphoria‘s Sam Levinson). Diner is an ensemble comedy-drama movie about a group of young friends in 1959. It stars Mickey Rourke, Steve Guttenberg, Daniel Stern, Tim Daly, Paul Reiser and Ellen Barkin.
One of the main plot threads centers around Guttenberg’s Eddie impending marriage to Elyse, and his decision to test her football knowledge in a fiendishly difficult trivia quiz. The implication being that if she ‘fails,’ the wedding is off.
In 2004, Bacon recalled to Entertainment Weekly how Paul Reiser improvised a line during the quiz that left the whole cast laughing so much, they couldn’t continue. Reiser was supposed to have had a minor supporting role with barely any lines – he isn’t even on the poster – but he was so funny while improvising on set that he became one of the main group during filming, and is one of the most memorable characters in the movie.
Bacon explained; “We had the scene where Steve’s character is giving a football quiz [to his fiancée]. It’s late, we’re tired, and we’re guys. I’ll never forget this. Paul’s line is ‘Hey, what do you want to bet she goes down for the count?’ Then he goes, ‘What do you want to bet the count enjoys it?’ We lost it. It was so bad they sent us home. They were furious.”