Kevin Bacon Felt 'Sense of Pride' Working with Young LGBTQ Costars on 'They/Them' : 'Very Moved'

"I think the timing is really good for a movie like this," Kevin Bacon tells PEOPLE of his new Peacock Original film They/Them, an LGBTQ-themed horror movie set at a conversion therapy camp

Photo: Josh Stringer/Blumhouse

Kevin Bacon is showing his appreciation for a new generation of talent.

The Golden Globe winner, 64, raves to PEOPLE about his young costars from the new Peacock Original film They/Them (pronounced "They Slash Them") as he notes the "timing is really good" for the LGBTQ-themed horror movie, in which he plays the nefarious owner of a conversion therapy camp.

"While I was really in the head space of the character, there was also a part of me that was feeling very moved by the fact that here was this group of our future, of young people who identify in all different kinds of ways, who have come together and are going to be represented in this film in hopefully a way that they haven't often been in the past," he says.

"And certainly not in a sort of mainstream horror genre film," Bacon adds. "I had a sense of pride about that. I really did."

He explains that he resonated with writer/director John Logan's script, as they hoped "some kid who is feeling other than, or closeted, or bullied will watch the film and see someone who's a little bit more like them, feel a sense of 'yeah, let's kick ass' and solidarity."

Josh Stringer/Blumhouse

Bacon also hopes that viewers who initially identify with his character Owen Whistler will "maybe adjust their way of thinking about whether people are going to be allowed to have the freedom to live the lives that they are meant to live."

The Wild Things star admits he doesn't mind playing the bad guy "if it's a good part, if it's a well rounded part, if it's a complicated part, well written."

He reveals that he originally improvised a more likable quality for the character during a scene in which he stands outside the campers' cabin, seething as they break out into an empowering musical performance of "F—in' Perfect" by Pink.

JC Olivera/Getty

"I said, 'Well, maybe it would be fun to see Owen listen to that and then see him just start to groove along with it,'" he recalls. "But it didn't ultimately work. And so we took it out. But we did shoot it.

"Only because I thought that would've been so weird when people would be like ... 'he's like a Pink fan or whatever?' But I loved it. I think it's a nice moment," Bacon adds. "And again, it's one of those moments that in a funny kind of way also turns the whole horror slasher movie thing on its ear, unexpected."

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Although his young costars — which include Theo Germaine, Quei Tann, Austin Crute, Anna Lore, Monique Kim, Cooper Koch and Darwin del Fabro — enjoyed a viewing of his 1980 seminal slasher flick Friday the 13th, the movie's parallels to They/Them didn't immediately occur to him.

"I thought about it just in passing... There's something tongue-in-cheek about me being in the film. But listen, we've come a long way since Friday the 13th," Bacon says.

See Bacon in They/Them, now streaming on Peacock.

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