See Kevin Bacon’s Audition for Iconic “Footloose” Role

Joseph Brannigan Lynch
Movie Talk
Kevin Bacon
Kevin Bacon

Kevin Bacon's turn as the hip-wiggling Ren McCormack made the 26-year-old actor a major star when "Footloose" danced across screens in 1984, but apparently the studio wasn't biting at Bacon in the beginning.

They didn't think Bacon—known mainly at the time as a supporting player in "Diner"—was sexy enough to play a Chicago teen scandalizing a small town through dance. But "Footloose" director Herb Ross disagreed, and to make them see the light, he filmed a scene run-through with young Bacon lookin' fine AND in fine form.

[video: Paramount Home Entertainment]

This audition clip, which is included as an extra on the forthcoming "Footloose" Blu-ray, features today's Kevin Bacon reminiscing about the Bacon of the Eighties. "You can tell that I'd been watching a lot of James Dean movies at the time. I was a big James Dean fan," notes the actor in critiquing his approach to a scene in which he checks himself out in a Beetle's rear view mirror before being surprised by the beauty of his date. "To tell you the truth, there's things about this screen test that I think I did better in the screen test than in the movie," shares Bacon. (As EW points out alongside another piece of audition footage, the actress he's trading lines with near the moodily lit Volkswagen, Haviland Morris, played Jake Ryan's girlfriend in "Sixteen Candles," also released in '84. The actual "Footloose" role was played by Lori Singer, then-famous for the TV show "Fame.")

You can compare Bacon's screen test to the actual, finished scene below. The "Footloose" remake, starring Kenny Wormald and "Dancing with the Stars'" Julianne Hough, hits theaters on October 14: