Kevin Bacon has admitted that he didn’t understand Footloose was a dance movie when he auditioned for the leading role.
The actor starred opposite Lori Singer in the 1984 classic as newcomer Ren McCormack, who tries to loosen up his conservative Midwestern town that has outlawed dancing and rock music.
“If I’m being honest, I didn’t even really understand that it was a dance movie,” Bacon, 64, said on a recent episode of the Podcrushed podcast. “I thought it was just a movie, and then, where they would indicate that there was dancing, I would just get up.”
The Apollo 13 star was 24 at the time of filming and was “not a dancer”, he told Podcrushed hosts Penn Badgley, Nava Kavelin and Sophie Ansari.
“They said something about a choreographer and I said, ‘You don’t really need a choreographer. I’ll just get up and dance. It’s not a big deal. Just play the record for me and I’ll jump around,’” Bacon recalled. “So I was definitely not trained by any stretch of the imagination.”
The film became an instant commercial success upon its release and put Bacon on a level of pop stardom of sorts, he said. But being a “pop star” was the “last thing” he wanted to be.
“I had already moved into, ‘I want to be Dustin Hoffman or Meryl or John Cazale or De Niro. I want to work with [director Martin] Scorsese. I want to do Chekhov.’ You know what I mean?” he said.
“I was so into what my idea of a serious actor was, and all of a sudden I was given this thing that was completely not a serious actor. So I rejected it, full on. I tried to self-sabotage that piece of myself and my popularity.”
Bacon continued: “I was very, very uncomfortable with photo shoots and magazines, and all these things that I dreamed of as a kid. Everything that I had dreamed of gave me a tremendous amount of self-doubt and anxiety.”
Following his breakthrough role, he went on to work with several legendary directors, including Clint Eastwood on Mystic River (2003) and Ron Howard on Apollo 13 (1995).
Most recently, he worked with director Macon Blair on his critically acclaimed remake of the superhero horror comedy The Toxic Avenger, which made its world premiere on 24 September at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas.