Houston, we have a problem...
A vomit-shaped one to be exact. While chatting with EW about some of his most memorable roles, Kevin Bacon revealed that he ended up in the splash zone of a nauseous cameraman while making Ron Howard's Apollo 13.
The crew, along with stars Bacon, Tom Hanks, and Bill Paxton, would take numerous flights in the KC-135, which they all dubbed the "Vomit Comet," in order to simulate weightlessness for many scenes in the movie.
Bacon never got sick because he assiduously took the anti-nausea meds NASA provided to the crew. Paxton and Hanks decided to go without the pharmaceuticals for one day, and while they turned green, they never actually got sick. The same could not be said for the crew.
Everett Collection Kevin Bacon
"I did get thrown up on," Bacon confesses. "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. 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."
To make matters worse, Bacon says the lunch options on set were not ideal. "We would do about 40 parabolas in the morning, come down and have lunch, and do about 40 parabolas in the afternoon," he explains. "But it was a giant Mexican fest with burritos and chili con carne, and all this really spicy food. And I was like, 'Can we just calm down on the lunch thing?' I was afraid I was going to be wearing it that afternoon."
That was just part of the intensive approach the trio experienced as they trained to believably play astronauts. Bacon says they did flight school, went to space camp, experienced a hyperbaric chamber, and took countless other classes to learn how spaceships actually operate. "We learned all about the switches and levers," he says. "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."
Despite the fact that Bacon's character in the movie, Jack Swigert, is a bit of an odd man out, he formed incredible bonds with his costars. "We spent a lot of time in spacesuits unable to move in the chairs," he says. "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. 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---. 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."