Kevin Bacon probably knew filming Apollo 13 would be tough, but having a crew member projectile vomit on him was the next level. The 1995 Ron Howard film tells the saga of NASA’s failed 1970 Apollo 13 mission. To create zero gravity for the film, Bacon recently recalled filming inside a KC-135 aircraft – which the cast called the “Vomit Comet” – to simulate weightlessness. The veteran actor maintains that he didn’t get sick while on the plane due to taking anti-nausea medication. However, one cameraman had a weaker stomach.
“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,” Kevin Bacon told Entertainment Weekly. “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.”
However, Kevin Bacon could sympathize with the queasy crew member. Apparently, the cast and crew were fed a steady diet of gut-busting cuisine. “We would do about 40 [zero gravity flights] in the morning, come down and have lunch, and do about 40 [zero gravity flights] in the afternoon,” he recalled. “But it was a giant Mexican fest with burritos and chili con carne, and all this really spicy food.” Even the hearty actor worried about his own constitution. “I was like, ‘Can we just calm down on the lunch thing?’ I was afraid I was going to be wearing it that afternoon,” he quipped.
Kevin Bacon bonded with the Apollo 13 cast during flight school
Even though the filming of Apollo 13 was grueling, Kevin Bacon recalled getting close to his director and co-stars. He spent countless hours in a small set with director Ron Howard and costars Bill Paxton and Tom Hanks.
“We spent a lot of time in spacesuits unable to move in the chairs. We couldn’t really move during lighting set-ups and camera set-ups because it was a real ordeal to get us out of the spacesuits,” he said. “So, Ron was there, and me and Bill and Tom, and we would just have these conversations that God, if anybody recorded these, there was some funny s—.” Bacon recounted the humor of the conversations. “We’d have 15-20 minutes or a half an hour to just bulls—. We didn’t have anything else to do but yak to each other, and it was very funny, good times.”
The training to play astronauts in the film began with flight school and space camp. Kevin Bacon feels like this is when Ron Howard and the cast truly gelled as a unit. “We learned all about the switches and levers,” Bacon said. “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.”