Shooting Fox’s “The Following” with Kevin Bacon, James McDaniel, Shawn Ashmore, and more
by manu narayan
I finally have one degree of separation between me and Kevin Bacon. Kevin and I are both alumni of The Pennsylvania Governors School of the Arts, the PA state sponsored summer professional training school for gifted high school arts students. But even though there has always been that connection, I had never met Kevin in person, only seeing him in passing at the opening night party of Broadway’s Life x 3 a few years ago. I have always enjoyed Kevin’s work. He was incredible in Footloose, Stir of Echoes, JFK, and a favorite of mine A Few Good Men. I am really excited to have spent time with him this past Wednesday on the set of Fox’s The Following. Kevin is so gracious and so kind to his fellow actors. In preparation for my role as FBI analyst Reece in the first episode of season 2, I watched a few episodes of The Following. What impresses me most about Kevin, both as Ryan Hardy on the show and in his other roles in film, is that he so easily straddles the line between a believable leading man and a character actor of varied depth. I admire him greatly for his skill onscreen. That he was so gracious and came out of his way to introduce himself to me was the icing on the cake
James McDaniel, another favorite actor of mine who was nominated for two EMMY awards for his work on NYPD Blue as Lt. Arthur Fancy, is on season 2 of The Following playing our FBI boss Ken Phillips. As I learned recently, he is friends with Peter Jay Fernandez, a colleague of mine in the Actors Center Workshop Company. James and I quickly made the Peter Jay connection and had a couple of wonderful conversations between takes. I am currently deep in rehearsals for the new musical Gettin’ The Band Back Together at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ. So traveling and transitioning from the world of Broadway to a television set in Brooklyn was a good challenge.
Going from acting as a singing/ dancing Dermatologist in a musical comedy under TONY award winning director John Rando, to playing an FBI crime analyst with a lot of dry technical text under executive producer/director Marcos Siega was what we actors live for. Thankfully, even though TV is much faster paced than theatre, Marcos and the entire cast and crew including Kevin, James, Canadian Shawn Ashmore (Iceman on X-Men and a great guy), and Valerie Cruz (Nip/Tuck, Dexter, True Blood) were incredibly helpful and the shoot seemed to turn out well.
Kyle Barisich, who recently left the Broadway company of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s The Phantom of the Opera starring as Raoul, was my crime analyst partner in the scene. Kyle is a true pro, smart and talented. It is easy to see why he is a Broadway Star. TV and film stardom is sure to follow.