Find Out Which Stars Almost Got Kevin Bacon’s Role in ‘Footloose’

Footloose Kevin Bacon, 1984
Paramount/Everett Collection

It is hard to imagine anyone else playing Ren McCormack in the iconic 1984 film Footloose (it is also hard to believe the film is about to turn 40!). It was a good thing Kevin Bacon got the role because it ended up sparking a decades-long career in Hollywood and led him to meet his wife Kyra Sedgwick while filming Lemon Sky a few years later. Yet, it is interesting to know that several other celebs could have starred in Footloose if things had gone in a different direction.

Rob Lowe recently appeared on Bacon’s podcast called Six Degrees with Kevin Bacon and opened up about how an injury lost him the part. He said that it was much more of a dance audition than an acting one for the role. Toward the end of the audition, he hurt himself while doing a knee slide across the floor.

Hotel New Hampshire Rob Lowe, 1984

Everett Collection

Lowe explained, “I hit my knees and slide across the floor into a lineup of like Sherry Lansing, Dean Pitchford, Craig Zadan and Herbert Ross, and my knee explodes. Explodes! Pop! And they take me out of the soundstage on a stretcher. And this tells you everything you need to know about Hollywood. The producers, who were friends of mine and were very pro me doing this movie, come up to me and go ‘Hey man it’s cool. At the end of the day, we really decided we’re just going to hire a dancer for the part.’ And a week later, they hired you, and I’m like ‘God damn these guys! That’s a real actor.'”

Risky Business Tom Cruise, 1983

Warner Brothers/Everett Collection

It wasn’t just Lowe that missed the opportunity. The producers had two other names in mind: Tom Cruise and Christopher Atkins. Cruise was getting famous from roles such as The Outsiders and Risky Business but had already committed to the film All the Right Moves, so he had to pass on the audition for Footloose.

Dallas Christopher Atkins (ca. 1982-Season 5), 1978-91

Everett Collection

Atkins once revealed how he messed up and lost out on the part due to his young and wild ways. He said, “And I went to meet with the producers and director of the movie, but I was on my way to Palm Springs to go have some fun, but I already started having fun before. So, I went in, out of my mind, and they saw this crazy guy, and they thought, ‘We can’t do this movie with this guy…’ I (messed) up. I was a total idiot…. It could have been a whole different ballgame for me.”

Tell us, do you think Bacon was perfect for the role or do you wish one of these other stars would have been cast instead?

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1980s Top Summer Blockbusters

July 2019

Celebrate the biggest summer movies of the ’80s, when moviegoing morphed from mere entertainment to blockbuster events.

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