When James Gunn approached Kevin Bacon to join The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, he didn’t have to pitch very hard. Bacon had an answer: I’m in.
“I haven’t really read the script,” Bacon recently told IGN in a new interview. “I just said, ‘Oh yeah, that sounds good. In fact, I don’t even know at first if I knew if I was playing myself. I’m trying to remember, because it’s been quite a few years since the idea came up. Took a while to get it off the ground due to COVID and other types of things. But yeah, I was thrilled when I read the script, and then when he told me later that I was going to sing too, I thought, “That’s really fun.”
In The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, Kevin Bacon plays… Kevin Bacon. The 40-minute seasonal special, out today on Disney+, is an extended win for an original Guardians of the Galaxy joke in which Peter Quill [Chris Pratt] praises Kevin Bacon as a “great hero” and describes Footloose as a film that “teaches an entire town full of people with sticks in their butts that dancing, well, is the best thing ever”.
“My jaw dropped”
When Bacon first saw this scene, he said he was “speechless” because he didn’t know it would be in the movie. He remembers how strange it was to hear himself fall out of nowhere in the middle of an MCU movie.
“If you can imagine sitting there in a dark theater and all of a sudden hearing yourself say your name like that, that’s a very, very, very weird, but cool experience,” Bacon says. “I mean, I loved it, because I love the movie and there’s something that’s sort of symbiotic about it all, because James really loves music, and Footloose was a music-based movie. And I walked out of the cinema and called my wife and said, ‘I’m going to go back and see this movie. It’s a great movie, and there’s a little surprise for you, you’ll see. ‘”
Bacon’s wife, Kyra Sedgwick, is also featured in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, albeit as a voice-only cameo.
Bacon says he ultimately had a great time making The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, likening the whole experience to a corporate Christmas party. He even got to meet Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, calling him “very nice.”
“A lot of these people have been in it for years and years and years, starting with one, and now they were in the middle of filming [Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3], and we stopped… or they stopped and took a break to do the special,” says Bacon. “And it was like you worked in an office all year, and all of a sudden you had the Christmas party. It was the atmosphere on the set, so everyone had a blast, and especially me.
Ironically, The Guardian’s the Galaxy Holiday Special was filmed in the spring, finishing production in May. Many sets were taken directly from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, saving Marvel a hefty amount of money and making the special possible. In a separate interview, Gunn described writing the special as incredibly easy compared to the much more emotional Guardians of the Galaxy 3.
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“James Gunn is a powerhouse”
Gunn himself is almost done with the MCU, taking over as co-director of DC Studios about five months after filming for the holiday special wrapped. Asked about his reaction to Gunn’s new position, Bacon said he wasn’t surprised.
“James is a powerhouse,” Bacon says. “He just has a great voice and a great eye, and he’s super smart and obviously makes some very, very successful films. I was thrilled to hear that he got his new job. That’s basically what I I said, ‘I’m glad to hear about your new concert.’
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special ends with Bacon performing a rock-and-roll chant alongside the Old 97, who are an alien band in the MCU world. Bacon called them “fantastic”, saying that “all the music in the film makes it awesome”.
“When I received the script, [Gunn] had referenced all the tracks, so I immediately made myself a playlist just to feel the vibe of the set and listen to it a lot,” Bacon says. “And it’s awesome, and I love the Old 97s song. It’s really hard to write a new Christmas song, and I think it has a really nice combination of sweetness and sentimentality without being a version Christmas nerdy. And it rocks, and I loved it.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is now available. You can read our full review here, which we praise for delivering “all the Christmas cheer, sentiment, catchy musical numbers and moments of laughter you could ask for in a quick 43 minutes”.
Kat Bailey is senior news writer at IGN as well as co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Do you have any advice? DM him at @the_katbot.
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