Kevin Bacon is famous for being the center of a popular game for moviegoers – Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon – where you can connect almost any actor to Bacon through six movies or less. One of his films 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 away from the experience wishing he had 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 “switches and levers”. But there was a dreaded part of the formation – the infamous Vomit Comet. This involved doing parabolic flights in the KC-135, which would make the actors weightless for short periods of time (about 30 seconds) so they looked like they were in space.
Speaking to EW recently, Bacon said; “I made myself vomit. One of the cameramen threw up on me. What’s interesting about being thrown around when it’s zero-G is that it hovers there for a while. It’s floating, and there’s nothing you can really do but say, “It’s happening,” and when they hit the G-forces, it’s falling on you.
Bacon also took issue with the lunch menu on the set; “We were doing about 40 parabolas in the morning, going down to lunch and doing about 40 parabolas in the afternoon,” he explains. “But it was a giant Mexican festival with burritos and chili con carne, and all that really spicy food. And I was like, ‘Can we just calm down for lunch?’ I was afraid to wear it this afternoon.
In unsurprising news, Tom Hanks took training so seriously that he could probably be a real astronaut. “We learned all about switches and levers,” says Bacon. “It all went over my head, but I literally think Hanks could fly in space. He was really, really in it. Paxton was too.
While Apollo 13 is based on a true story in space, check out our guide to the best sci-fi movies.