In a 2013 interview with Howard Stern, Kevin Bacon admitted that he has actually tipped DJs at weddings NOT to play Footloose. He stated that people expect him to dance the song as he did in the movie. In truth, while he did do some of the dancing there was also a dancing double for him as well.
Loosely based on events that took place in the small, rural, and extremely religious farming town of Elmore City, Oklahoma in 1978. Dancing had been banned for nearly ninety years, until a group of high school teenagers challenged it.
Kevin Bacon was offered the leading role for the Stephen King movie Christine (1983), at the same time that he was asked to do a screentest for Footloose (1984). The producers had to convince Bacon that turning down a sure role in "Christine" for a part he might not even get in "Footloose" was the wiser choice. The producers told him that if he got the part for "Footloose", the role would make him a star. Thirty seconds into the screentest, Bacon was offered the part.
With the Principal's knowledge, 24-year-old Kevin Bacon attended the Payson Utah High School as "Ren McCormack", a transfer student from Philadelphia to get into his role. With his narrow tie and new-wave haircut, he was treated pretty much like in the film. Bacon gratefully left with the location scouts on the afternoon of the first day.
Per Kevin Bacon, Peter Tramm, his credited main dance double in the famous warehouse scene, was married at the time to Marine Jahan, the famously uncredited dance double for Jennifer Beals in Flashdance (1983).
Lehi (named for a prophet described in the Book of Mormon) is the town where the Lehi Rollermills resides. The Lehi Rollermills is actually an old time grain house as depicted in the film and it's still (2012) operating in Utah. The film is often considered Lehi's claim to fame.
In the liner notes for the re-released "Footloose" soundtrack (1999), there's a brief introduction by Kenny Loggins, which mentions that the script for the film was loosely based on actual events which transpired in the young life of his longtime friend, Dean Pitchford.
Kevin Bacon broke out in hives around his midsection when he had to film the City Council scene where he makes the case for holding a prom dance. The actor says he is uncomfortable when speaking in public, but has never had a reoccurrence of hives.
Tom Cruise and Rob Lowe were both slated to play the lead. The casting directors were impressed with Cruise because of the famous underwear dance sequence in Risky Business (1983), but he was unavailable for the part because he was filming All the Right Moves (1983). Lowe auditioned three times and had dancing ability and the "neutral teen" look that Director Herbert Ross wanted, but he pulled his knee, and the injury prevented him from taking the part. After watching Diner (1982), Ross had to convince the producers to go with Kevin Bacon.
During the filming of 3rd Rock from the Sun: Dr. Solomon's Traveling Alien Show (1998), one of the characters playing a circus strongman took John Lithgow aside to share a personal story with him. He confided that he was from a small town in Louisiana where his own father, a Baptist minister, would not allow the kids dance or listen to rock 'n' roll music. When he saw 'Footloose' he explained that Lithgow's 'reverend' was the epitome of his own father. After he brought his father to see the film, without any warning of its plot, his father was so touched by Lithgow's performance, the man said that he was the first of 6 children that were permitted to attend their high school prom.
Michael Cimino was originally hired as director. He was fired when he asked for a 250,000 dollar advance for re-writing the entire screenplay prior to shooting. (The movie's total budget was only 7.5 million dollars.)
The movie was adapted to a Broadway musical and opened on October 22, 1998 at the Richard Rodgers Theater, ran for 709 performances. It was nominated for four Tony Awards: Best Actress in a Musical (Dee Hoty as Vi Moore), Best Choreography, Best Score and Best Book of a Musical.
The two girls who play Ren's little cousins, Mimi and Meghan Broadhead, are actual sisters and are residents of Utah. In addition to Mimi and Meghan Broadhead, their father J. Paul Broadhead appears as Mayor Dooley in the town hall scene and their mother and two brothers play extras.
This is the 1st movie that John Lithgow has played a preacher. The 2nd time was in the 2004 movie Kinsey. Coincidentally, in both movies he is seen at the beginning of each movie preaching to a congregation about the currupt values of that periods society.