I saw something in the news today that made me smile. The movie “Footloose” was based on a true story of teenagers in a small Oklahoma town. The teens, now adults 30 years later, got together last weekend to celebrate their victory in overturning the town’s dancing law. How great is that?

Here are some fun facts about the film and some pics to go along with them. I love this movie and so badly wanted to date Kevin Bacon. What did you think?

–Michael Cimino was originally hired as director. He was fired when he asked for a $250,000 advance for re-writing the entire screenplay prior to shooting. (The movie’s total budget was only $7.5 million.)

–The scenes where Chris Penn’s character had to learn how to dance were added to the script because Penn really could not dance.

–Christopher Atkins was originally signed to play Ren MacCormack.

–The movie was loosely based on events that took place in the tiny, rural Oklahoma farming community of Elmore City.

–In the liner notes for the re-released “Footloose” soundtrack (1999), there’s a brief introduction by Kenny Loggins which mentions that the script for the film was loosely based on actual events which tranpired in the young life of his long time friend, and “Footloose” screen writer, Dean Pitchford.

–With the Principal’s knowledge, 24-year-old Kevin Bacon attended the Payson Utah High School as “Ren McCormack”, a transfer student from Phili to get into his role. With his narrow tie and new-wave haircut, he was treated pretty much like in the film. Bacon gratefully left with the location scouts on the afternoon of the first day.

–Dianne Wiest, who plays Ariel’s mom, Vi, is only 9 years older than Lori Singer (Ariel).

–Kevin Bacon broke out in hives around his midsection when he had to film the City Council scene where he makes the case for holding a prom dance. The actor says he is uncomfortable when speaking in public, but has never had a reoccurrence of hives.

–Tom Cruise and Rob Lowe were both slated to play the lead. The casting directors were impressed with Cruise because of the famous underwear dance sequence in Risky Business (1983), but he was unavailable for the part because he was filming All the Right Moves (1983). Lowe auditioned three times and had dancing ability and the “neutral teen” look that the director wanted, but he pulled his knee, and the injury prevented him from taking the part. After watching Diner (1982), the director had to convince the producers to go with Kevin Bacon.

–John Lithgow filmed scenes for Terms of Endearment (1983) while on a break from shooting this film.

–The character of “Willard” (not even called by that name in the original script) was specifically rewritten by author Dean Pitchford with Chris Penn in mind.

–Kevin Bacon was offered the leading role for the Stephen King movie Christine (1983), at the same time that he was asked to do a screen test for “Footloose”. The producers had to convince Bacon that turning down a sure role in “Christine” for a part he might not even get in “Footloose” was the wiser choice. The producers told him that if he got the part for “Footloose,” the role would make him a star. 30 seconds into the screen test, Bacon was offered the part.

–Daryl Hannah turned down the offer to play Ariel in order to play Madison in Splash (1984). Elizabeth McGovern turned down the role of Ariel in order to play Deborah Gelly in Once Upon a Time in America (1984). Melanie Griffith, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Rosanna Arquette, Meg Tilly, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Heather Locklear, Meg Ryan, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jodie Foster, Phoebe Cates, Tatum O’Neal, Bridget Fonda, Lori Loughlin, Diane Lane and Brooke Shields were all offered the role of Ariel, but turned it down.

–John Travolta was offered the role of Ren, but turned it down.

–The dancing feet in the opening credit sequence contained many of the cast and crew. Over 150 different pairs of feet were shot. The dancer with the gold shoes was actually Kenny Loggins.

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Join the Discussion!

  1. All these years later I didn’t know that this movie was based on a true story.

    I remember going to the theater with my college roommates and seeing this movie three times! Since I was a dancer in college it was right up my alley.

    I’m glad the scene with Chris Penn was left in. It’s one of my favorite scenes with Ren is teaching him to dance.

    I can’t imagine anyone else but Kevin Bacon in the role.

  2. Love your blog! We had a great time last weekend. It was just as exciting as it was on April 18, 1980. 1980 Junior Class Sponsor, Mrs. Joye Gilbert even made an appearance. Thanks for all your comments and I agree that they shouldn’t remake Footloose, they should just re-release it. So in the great words of Ren McCormack…”LET’S DANCE.”

    Lisa Rollings
    City Clerk/Treasurer
    City of Elmore City
    EC Class of 1982

  3. I am personally glad that all of those others turned those roles down. It was perfect the way it came out in the theatres. I should know I saw it 4 times! HA!

  4. I just adore this movie! Definatly one of my all time favorites. It is a movie that makes me want to get up and dance with the actors during the dance/music scenes!

    I read somewhere that they are doing a remake!!! (though, I don’t think it will be as good)

  5. I saw this movie for the first time not too long ago. I found it in the $5 bin at Walmart and thought ‘why not’ So glad I did cause I love it!! I have heard that they are getting ready to do a remake.

  6. Supposedly there is a re-make in the works.

    They have gone through TWO actors for the Ren charachter – Zac Effron and someone else…I hope it doesn’t get off the ground.

    I loved Footloose!

  7. I saw Footloose for the first time recently and really enjoyed it! Love your triva – I love collecting things like that for ‘did you know…?’ moments!


  8. I can remember our daughter loving the movie & I did like the music from it. For me??? It sure wasn’t Dirty Dancing!! LOL!!
    Just love your posts…..You put so much time into them & they are so interesting!!
    Have A Wonderful Day!!

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