Parabolas have their ups and downs. On the upside, the alternating arcs of a parabolic flight can replicate gravity-free conditions inside an aircraft (you might remember the band OK Go, who used this mode of travel to make one of the coolest music videos ever), which makes the ideal environment for filming space movies like "Apollo 13." Kevin Bacon, however — who plays Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert in the film — has firsthand knowledge of parabolic flight's icky downside.
1995's "Apollo 13" is a Ron Howard special, the type of crisp, well-performed rescue story that he also tells in this year's "Thirteen Lives," his film about rescuing a soccer team from a cave in Thailand. Howard's earlier film takes its audience through NASA's greatest "successful failure" — the scrubbed 1970 moon mission that turned into an improvised trek back to Earth for the trio of astronauts aboard. Tom Hanks, as Commander Jim Lovell, and Bill Paxton, as Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise, join Bacon in one of the finest space movies of all time.
Howard kept authenticity due north throughout the production. The actors went to space camp, did simulated training exercises with real-deal Holyfield NASA astronauts and — to simulate the free-floating effects of low gravity — hitched multiple rides on a Boeing KC-135 reduced-gravity aircraft, which is also called the "Vomit Comet" due to those parabolic ups and downs. During an interview with Entertainment Weekly this year, Bacon shared his experience on those rides in nauseating detail:
"I did get thrown up on. 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."
Houston, We Are Go For Lunch
Surely, wearing a camera operator's partially digested lunch is the nadir of immersive acting. "They/Them" star Kevin Bacon added that craft services didn't do much to help the situation, either:
"We would do about 40 parabolas in the morning, come down and have lunch, and do about 40 parabolas in the afternoon. 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."
But as a behind-the-scenes test shoot shows, a few antiemetic meds and lowered Gs may be all one needs to throw the perfect football spiral.
Those rides on the Vomit Comit weren't just to get Bacon and his co-stars into space mode. Ron Howard couldn't actually film in orbit, so the space scenes of "Apollo 13" were filmed inside modified Command and Lunar Modules fitted inside a NASA-lent KC-135 — /Film's Lindsay Duke has the play-by-play on the logistics of shooting, including the absurd 25-second window the cast and crew had to get footage each time. The result can be seen throughout the movie, but this scene late in the runtime not only features a (puke-free) Bacon, but showcases the collaborative Herculean effort on the ground to get the Apollo 13 crew home.
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The post Kevin Bacon Can't Forget The Puke Problems Of Apollo 13 appeared first on /Film.
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