It's a year of milestones for Kevin Bacon: The actor turned 50 (!) on July 8, he celebrates his 20th wedding anniversary with Kyra Sedgwick in September, and it's been 30 years since the release of his first movie, Animal House. Tonight, he sits in the director's chair for a third time on Sedgwick's hit series The Closer (Mondays at 9 pm/ET, TNT).
TV Guide: Did you handpick this episode?
Kevin Bacon: It doesn't really work that way, but I definitely lucked out 'cause I got a really interesting and cool script. It's a story that revolves around Sanchez and the murder of his brother. Raymond Cruz did a fantastic job — showed colors that I knew he had in him, but he still surprised me.
TV Guide: What about Brenda?
Bacon: [Sanchez] has sort of a vigilante streak to him [and] when he starts to exhibit that, she's in a position of reining him in. There are some great scenes between the two of them.
TV Guide: What's up with Brenda and Fritz?
Bacon: In this episode, there's not a lot of stuff between the two of them, but I can tell you that there's some great stuff coming [Laughs]. I can't say what it is, but there's a lot of interesting dynamics to their relationship that continue to unfold for the rest of the season.
TV Guide: How well does Kyra take directions from you?
Bacon: Kyra is like any good actor — and all the actors on the show — hungry for direction and always extremely willing to try and alter or adjust her performance based on something I see. This comes up a lot, "So you get to direct your wife, so you get to order her around." [Laughs] But that's not really what directing is, you know, that's sort of a misconception. I look at it more as I'm in a position to encourage actors to do their best work and to guide them toward delivering what I know they can and will. The thing about Kyra is she knows this character so well, she's so well-prepared and has made pretty strong decisions about how she's going to play something, and rarely, honestly do I step in and say, "That's just not right." Mostly, I'm just the monkey who says "action" and "cut."
TV Guide: Would you ever consider taking an acting part on the show?
Bacon: I think it would be a mistake. It would really take people out of the show. I think that would be jump-the-shark time.
TV Guide: Will you be accompanying Kyra to the Emmys?
Bacon: If she'll have me. I'm so proud of her, and it's the only way I get to go to an awards show, if I'm holding her train. [Laughs]
TV Guide: Is doing more television, either in front or behind the camera, something you're interested in?
Bacon: I'm interested in being behind the camera. In front of the camera… I don't have it in me to play the same part for that long. I so admire people that can do it — in Kyra's case, four years to get into a character's shoes. I'm like too flaky to do that. [Laughs]. I got to go from job to job to job — that's just the way I am. That being said, never say never.
TV Guide: Where will we see you acting next?
Bacon: I've got a movie coming out that I have a small part in, which is called Frost/Nixon. Ron Howard directed and I haven't worked with [him] since Apollo 13. It's about the  meeting between David Frost and Richard Nixon. And I have a film that I did for HBO called Taking Chance, which comes out sometime in early '09.
TV Guide: You're going to be married for 20 years in September. Any suggestions for how to make a marriage work?
Bacon: My only suggestion is if you're looking for suggestions on how to make a marriage work don't ask a movie star.
TV Guide: Twenty years, that's kind of a rarity in Hollywood….
Bacon: No one has ever proven to me that Hollywood marriages have a shorter shelf life than any other kind of marriage. I think that Hollywood marriages are the one you hear about when they hit the skids, but marriage is tough.
TV Guide: Any celebratory plans?
Bacon: We're going to have a big party and we just want to dance. That's our thing.
TV Guide: Animal House — care to reflect?
Bacon: Having John Belushi spit mashed potatoes on me — a pretty wild time. And the idea that this is what my career would be! But I loved it. Getting whacked on the ass, saying "Thank you sir, may I have another"—John Landis did way too many takes of that.
TV Guide: Any plans for a new Bacon Brothers CD?
Bacon: It's coming out probably September or October. I'm really happy with it. Maybe I always feel this, but I feel it's the best yet — I'm thrilled with it.
TV Guide: Do you enjoy the music as much as the acting?
Bacon: You look at all these things I have going between acting, producing, trying to direct and the band, and you think, "How am I going to fit this all in?" It seems a little overwhelming, but once we're making music, it's just something that's important to me. I think if I didn't do it, it would be eating me up. If you have some creative impulse and you don't really follow it, it can lead to a lot of disappointment or frustration in your life. I started writing songs before I ever took an acting class, so to never get a chance to play them would be really hard for me.
TV Guide: And we can't talk to Kevin Bacon without mentioning the "six degrees" thing….
Bacon: Microsoft was actually able to prove the "six degrees" theory — that we're actually all connected by 6.6 degrees. It's a funny thing that's been dogging me for all these years, and I wanted to do something of a charitable nature and I was trying to think of something that I was specifically branded with. If you take me out of the equation — lose the Kevin Bacon part — and just think about people being connected by six degrees… I just found that to be a totally beautiful notion. So we launched sixdegrees.org as a way for people to connect with other people about things that they care about and also as a way to find out how to donate or to volunteer to charity. We're way over $2 million now and still kind of moving forward.