Zac Efron was originally cast as Ren McCormack, but he pulled out in March 2009 because he did not want people to think that all he could do was sing and dance, and so he could star in "Charlie St. Cloud"
Kevin Bacon was given the script, but could not find a role he was willing to play. One particular role originally written for him was Ren's deadbeat father. However, he gave director Craig Brewer his blessing.
The film is dedicated to the original Footloose (1984) director, Herbert Ross. Not only in the end credits, but the cop who pulls over Ren has "H. Ross" on his name tag. He is credited as Officer Herb.
After discovering Footloose fan, Emily Whitcomb's "Footloose Rap" on Youtube, director Craig Brewer invited her to attend a preview screening of the movie where he filmed a "remake" of the rap with actors Julianne Hough and Kenny Wormald as backup dancers. That clip was also uploaded to Youtube and was included in the Blu-ray special features.
During the barn dance, tons of confetti is shot out of a blower onto the happy crowd. Unfortunately, the mylar confetti was requested to be cut in 1/4 inch squares. It fell like lead. More confetti had to be hurriedly ordered and while it was the right size and shape to flutter down, there was not near enough of it for take after take. Between every take the confetti was swept and vacuumed up and recycled (along with anything else that happened to be on the floor). By the end of the night, everyone was covered in dirty, sweaty confetti.
In the original Footloose (1984), Frances Lee McCain played Ren's mother, Ethel McCormack (who was very much alive.) In the 2011 version, the photo of Ren's mother (who, in this version, has recently passed away) is actually a photo of Frances Lee McCain.
Although it is pretty rare, there have been individual towns or counties in the United States that have forbidden public dancing by law. For instance, in 1980, People Magazine ran a story about students at Elmore City High School in Elmore City, Oklahoma, who had to lobby the town's and school's officials for permission to have a prom. They were successful, and their prom was the first legal public dance in Elmore City since the town's 1861 founding. The plot of both this movie and its source, 1984's Footloose (1984), were loosely based on Elmore City's story.