When Footloose was released in 1984, it became a cultural phenomenon. The movie was a huge hit nobody could escape. It even featured a very early acting appearance from Sarah Jessica Parker!
The star of the film, however, was Kevin Bacon. His role as the rebellious young man who fights for his right to dance captured hearts everywhere. And the film’s theme song, sung by Kenny Loggins, was a smash hit.
However, Bacon often carried a feeling of embarrassment around the film. He thought it ruined his image and hurt his chances of doing the kinds of roles he wanted to do in the future.
There’s also one aspect of his Footloose fame he can’t escape and he goes out of his way to avoid it at all costs.
Kevin Revealed The Original Ending Of The Movie Was Very Different
When Footloose was released, it was a huge hit. The film’s dance sequence that ends the story was a particular highlight with audiences.
However, this scene almost didn’t appear in the movie.
When speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Bacon recalled how the film was originally meant to fade to black after his character shouts “Let’s dance!”
“I run into the place, I say, ‘Let’s dance!’ and there’s like a moment of dancing, and then right away, it goes into slow motion,” he said. “There’s glitter falling from the sky, and everyone is just moving in slow motion. This was the original ending.”
This version of the film didn’t fare well with test audiences.
“The studio tested the movie, and they were like, ‘This doesn’t work at all,'” Bacon said. “Everyone wants to get up and dance at the end of this movie.”
Unfortunately, they had not filmed a dance sequence to include at the end of the film. Therefore, there was no footage to use and they would have to film an entirely new scene from scratch.
It would take almost a year after production on the film originally wrapped before the cast and crew could come back together to film the dance sequence.
They kept the original “Let’s dance” line from the original footage, “But from that point on, it was choreographed and L.A. dancers were hired. Chris Penn was out there — and me and Lori [Singer]. We had to gather the cast together and try to get the hair to match. That was a completely re-shot ending.”
When Bacon appeared on The Howard Stern Show in 2013, Stern asked him about his experience doing the film. Stern asked him if wedding DJs ever played the Footloose theme when he was in attendance.
“Every f****** time,” Bacon said. “And then if I do dance, people kind of form a circle around me and start clapping like I’m a trained monkey.”
Bacon said that he has tipped DJs in the past asking them not to play the song. He also said that he felt uncomfortable getting all the attention at an event meant to celebrate two other people.
“When you go to a wedding, the stars of the show should be the bride and groom,” he said.
Bacon also said that he doesn’t consider himself as good of a dancer as he appears in the film. Bacon told Stern that while he did work very hard as a dancer for the movie, he still “had a lot of doubles for a couple of things I couldn’t do.”
Bacon also expressed disappointment when the film didn’t give him the image he craved.
“I wanted to be De Niro and Pacino. I didn’t want to be the [teen idol] in Footloose,” he said.
The enduring influence of Footloose is still being felt with each new generation. The movie even inspired a dance trend on TikTok.
The trend was so popular that Bacon and his wife Kyra Sedgwick participated in the viral sensation. In the challenge, one person must hold the other by their arm and leg before dancing to the film’s theme song.
“I don’t remember this being part of the original #Footloose choreography,” Bacon captioned his post. “but figured we’d give it a spin.”
Despite his uncertainty, the couple pulled it off very well. The two ended with a high five at the end.
And despite his previous misgivings about the effect the movie would have on his career and image, Bacon now says he’s proud of the film.
“I love it,” Bacon recently told the Today show. “I think it’s great. It’s like all of those things that you think ‘Oh, my gosh, is it ever going to go away?’ At a certain point, you have to embrace the beast.”
“I think that it was a great gift to be part of that movie,” he continued. “I certainly took it very seriously when I was doing it and I love that people will still come up and say that they just showed it to their kids.”