Movie making can sure be a disgusting business–and that’s not even a reference to those questionable business practices. No, what Kevin Bacon experienced on the set of Apollo 13 was a regular kind of gross—if you consider something that happened at zero gravity “regular.”
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Bacon says he took anti-nausea medication while taking flights in the KC-135, which the production used to simulate the weightlessness of space. But the craft was dubbed the “Vomit Comet” for a reason: “I did get thrown up on,” he says. “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.”
“We would do about 40 parabolas in the morning, come down and have lunch, and do about 40 parabolas in the afternoon,” the actor recalls. “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’s a particularly nasty notion, but that’s showbiz, baby. It’s all for the love of the game. (In fact, Tom Hanks loved their astronaut training so much Bacon suggests he literally “could fly in outer space” by the end of it.) The other challenges of the shoot included being stuck in the spacesuits and “unable to move in the chairs,” he reveals.
“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,” Bacon continues. “So, Ron was there, and me and Bill [Paxton] and Tom, and we would just have these conversations that God, if anybody recorded these, there was some funny shit. We’d have 15-20 minutes or a half an hour to just bullshit. We didn’t have anything else to do but yak to each other, and it was very funny, good times.” Much better than being vomited on, surely!