Sarah Jessica Parker was not the first choice for the part of Rusty. Originally, Tracy Nelson (who played the Valley Girl, Jennifer, in Sarah's series SQUARE PEGS) was supposed to play the part. But the script was rewritten to make Rusty a bit rowdier and goofier and Nelson was no longer interested. So Sarah snapped it up. She admitted she had a bit of a crush on Kevin Bacon when they were filming, but nothing ever really happened. "We just kind of grinned at each other," she said. The film was shot in the summer of 1983 and the location was not full of exciting attractions. One night, Sarah said, the cast decided to venture out to the only theater in town, which happened to be playing "Breathless". Everyone found it hilarious that such a conservative Utah town would allow such a racy film to be shown. By the way, Chris Penn's big number, which is set to "Let's Hear It For the Boy" in the movie, was choreographed to "Somebody's Eyes," which had been finished before the film started shooting. Most of the rest of the score -- with the exception of "Footloose" --was written later. In 1984, at the time of the interview, Sarah said she was listening to the FOOTLOOSE soundtrack a lot because the music was all new to her.
John Carpenter had actually cast Kevin Bacon in the role of 'Arnie' in "Christine" but let him go to do Footloose instead after Kevin Bacon landed the leading role. Carpenter explains he knew it would be better for Kevin's career and also he knew Kevin really wanted to do Footloose instead.
In preparation for this movie, Dean Pitchford visited several communities in Oklahoma. One of those was the town I grew up in, Ardmore, Oklahoma. In November 1980 he came to our school, sat with us in class, interviewed students and spoke to us a little about why he was there. All we knew was that he was writing a story for a movie about high school kids. After seeing the movie, I felt he possibly got one of the ideas for one of the scenes from us. When the kids crossed the state line (and a bridge) to go dance at the bar, it was like a normal Saturday night for us. We lived only 30 miles from the Texas/Oklahoma state line. At that time the legal drinking age in Texas was 19 and there were several bars that would let underage drinkers in. We crossed the Red River Bridge many weekends on our trips to party.
Dean Pitchford and Kenny Loggins were good friends before Footloose was even written (by Dean). When Dean wrote it and gave it to Kenny, in hopes that they could write some songs for the film together, Kenny took it hesitantly. He thought that it should have been called "A snowball's chance in Hell".
The original director of Footloose was Michael Cimino, who had previously helmed 'The Deer Hunter' and 'Heaven's Gate.'
Cimino insisted that the script be completely rewritten from start to finish (at considerable cost to the producers) to make it a much more serious, somber story.
As preproduction costs continued to mount, the studio began to get nervous about Cimino's stewardship of the project, the disastrous cost overruns and financial failure of 'Heaven's Gate' still being fresh in their minds. Eventually - after weeks of preproduction and as shooting was set to begin shortly - Cimino was replaced by Herb Ross.
The last dance scene in the mill was originally filmed entirely on an indoor set constructed at Osmond studios in Utah. Originally, the dance choreography was kept very simple, consistent with a bunch of kids who had limited dance experience (more of a "sock-hop" type ending, joking around, doing basic dance steps). Evidently early preview audiences found the ending anti-climatic, so the entire set was reconstructed (I believe near Los Angeles somewhere--not the same location in Utah), and the scene was reshot with a whole different cast of extras, and the break dancing sequences replaced much of the original choreography. Thus, there are actually two complete sets of different "students" in the background of the scene--the original group appears at the beginning and at times during dialogue or specific dance sequences with the principals, and the second group is in the background during the breakdancing and ending.
The movie dance numbers were all shot to different music, (already released, then-current numbers unrelated to "Footloose"), then the actual music (Kenny Loggins, etc.) was substituted later, matching the beats.
The town of Payson has a big letter "P" on the side of a nearby mountain-side. The crew making the movie placed white bedsheets on the mountain to make the "P" into a "B" (for Bomont), in case it was ever seen in the background during filming. It never was.
During the scene in which everything is being organized for the dance, you'll notice the cast is singing. They were actually rapping. Herbert Ross wanted one of the sequences to be a Footloose rap, but after seeing the look on Dean Pitchford's face & what he had to say after the screening of the scene, the rap was dropped.
I was roommates at BYU in the 80's with a girl named Jane Eddy. She rode the dirt bike for Lori's character in the film. Jane is also seen as a wallflower twirling gum around her finger at the dance. I always thought it was ironic that Jane was a stand in for Lori Singer whose figure was quite boyish. Jane was actually quite a beautiful girl who had won beauty pageants and swimsuit competitions with her knock-out, hourglass figure.
To help him "get into" the role, and with the Principal's knowledge, 24-year-old Kevin Bacon "went to school" at Payson High School --the same school where much of the movie was filmed. Posing as as "Ren McCormack", a transfer student from Phili, with his narrow tie and new-wave haircut, he was treated pretty much like in the film.
Kevin was there for a week, and was looked on as a bit of a weirdo by almost everybody --except my friend, who was in Kevin's "homeroom" (psychology), and who had the sense to think he was cute, and offered to share her locker with him when she found out he didn't have one. (I would have offered, but she saw him first!) He accepted, and when we were cast in the movie the following week as extras, Kevin sent her flowers to thank her for sharing her locker with him.
We're the two girls seen in the school scenes at PAYSON HIGH wearing green sweaters with a big white B for Bomont. We were called "The Sweater Girls" because it was so easy to call for "The Sweater Girls" instead of trying to remember our names whenever they needed a couple of people to fill in a scene. When they wanted a different look, we just took the sweaters off. I'm also the girl in the blue sweater outside the school that almost gets run over by the pick-up truck with the horns on the hood. (We did that take over and over again, and I didn't get hit once!) We had a joke going with some of the crew that we weren't sure if it was the pick-up or the actor driving it that was "horny", but that it was all the same anyway.
There is also a deleted scene that involves wrecking the VW Beetle at the car wash... It took several days to film this scene because we wrecked the car into a wall after flipping off Kevin and Chris (that is my good friend Fred Swayne flipping the bird). They put some stunt guys (John scotts and others) in the car with pillows every where, then drove it into a wall. It took several takes and two identical cars to get it.
Another scene that was deleted is where the flour mill is on fire and the fire department won't cross the railroad tracks / city limit line. I am not sure whether this is related to Chuck's father being the fire chief or not, but the mill owner makes reference to the fire dept. not crossing the tracks, and again Kevin Bacon's character picks the flour mill because it is outside the city limits.
The "rap" that was deleted from Footloose was fully produced in the studio, using the rap itself performed by the cast members, and a percussion/drum overdub, performed by me. Dean Pitchford himself produced me in the studio in Provo, Utah, and we did several different passes on snare drums and other instruments that would be used in a marching band drum line.
The rap itself actually speaks of the time the film was made, and could be said to "date" the film if it had been left in. It speaks of "Ronnie" as the President.
Just watched the trailer for the first time in 25+ years the other night. There was a scene shown twice where Chuck wrecked the front passenger side of his truck into a building. I don't recall that in the movie and haven't heard anyone else ever mention it. You can see it on Zune if you have Xbox Live.
They filmed two versions of the tractor race scene. In one version, Lori Singer took her shirt off and tossed it in the air to start the race (rather than her hat). Unfortunately the cowboy hat version made the final cut.
In the first version shown to test audiences, the ending Prom scene was not in the film but the audience didn't feel satisfied, so they went out to the LA area and quickly filmed the ending interiors of the prom. They also went to local clubs in LA to find dancers, several of whom I had seen from frequenting the same clubs. How did those kids learn to dance so well so quickly?
The slow-motion part where Lori Singer & Kevin Bacon are spinning around during the end credits was part of the original ending. The entire ending of the film had to be reshot because it was all done in slow-motion (inspired from one of Herb Ross' previous films 'Pennies from Heaven') & got low test screenings. So the principal cast came back later for a reshoot (notice Chris Penn's hair is straight & blonde all of a sudden) & the extras dancing are not the same ones that were sitting down. The dancing extras were found in LA & the reshoot was filmed on a sound stage there.