Kevin Bacon in Footloose.
Kevin Bacon in Footloose.

Big stars who turned down Footloose

It's hard to picture the original Footlose without Kevin Bacon.

The Hollywood veteran, now 60, was on the cusp of fame when he was cast as Ren McCormack in the iconic 1984 dance film. Now he's a multi award winner, Oscar nominee and has a star on the Walk of Fame.

But he almost didn't get the lead part in the movie, which is now streaming on Foxtel to celebrate its 35th anniversary.

Kevin Bacon leading the cast of Footloose.
Kevin Bacon leading the cast of Footloose.

Tom Cruise, who was already established at the time having starred in Endless Love and Risky Business, was originally offered the role of Ren.

The producers were reportedly desperate to cast Cruise, but he knocked it back because of a scheduling conflict with the 1983 movie All the Right Moves.

Thankfully, for Cruise, turning down the big role didn't hurt his career at all.

Producers loved Tom Cruise’s famous sock slide scene in Risky Business.
Producers loved Tom Cruise’s famous sock slide scene in Risky Business.

Cruise starred in one of the most famous movies of all time, Top Gun, in 1986 and quickly became hot property in Hollywood.

The 56-year-old is still one of its biggest stars and one of the highest paid actors of all time. He is said to be worth about $US550 million ($A759 million).

He's not the only actor who was reportedly offered the gig.

The studio then turned to teen star Rob Lowe, now 54, who gained critical and commercial attention in the 1983 movie The Outsiders.

Directors said he had the "boyish charm" they were looking for.

And he probably would have got the role, however while dancing during his third audition he blew out his knee and was unavailable for filming.

Lowe has also gone on to enjoy a successful career but was said to be distraught at the time.

Rob Lowe had the boyish charm Footloose producers were after.
Rob Lowe had the boyish charm Footloose producers were after.

Another former teen heart-throb, The Blue Lagoon star Christopher Atkins, now 57, claimed he was a shoe-in to play the lead role, but his wild partying lifestyle cost him the gig.

His career went down the toilet not long after the 1980 breakout movie with Brooke Shields, the actor going on to star in several direct-to-DVD movies. And that's about it.

Atkins, who married Australian woman Lyn Barron in 1985 before divorcing in 2007, now reportedly owns an outdoor sports company and has even patented a fishing lure. He has two children with his ex-wife - Grant, 35, and Brittney, 33.

In a 2009 episode of the reality series Confessions, Atkins revealed he was given the part of Ren on a silver platter but screwed it up.

"I had Footloose, and I went to meet with the producers and the director of the movie, but I was on my way to Palm Springs to go have some fun, but I already started having fun before (the meeting)," he said.

Iconic.
Iconic.

"So, I went in, out of my mind, and they saw this crazy guy and they thought, 'We can't do this movie with this guy'.

"I messed up. I was a total idiot. It could have been a whole different ball game for me."

Atkins' loss was Bacon's gain.

After moving to New York at the age of 17 and struggling to find acting jobs, Bacon waited tables and worked in theatre before landing the part of Timothy Fenwick in the critically acclaimed 1982 movie Diner.

This was where he made it onto the radar of Footloose director Herbert Ross, who convinced producers to go with Bacon. And we wouldn't have it any other way.

The cult classic movie became an immediate commercial success when it was released in February 1984, grossing $US80 million domestically with only an $US8 million budget.

Lori Singer played Bacon’s love interest in the flick.
Lori Singer played Bacon’s love interest in the flick.

While it did garner a few critical reviews upon its release, the flick continues to be one of the most cherished movies of all time, with the song of the same title still getting people on the dancefloor.

Most notably, it made a big star of Bacon, as well as another A-lister, Sarah Jessica Parker, who played the small part of Rusty.

Four years later, a little show called Sex and the City hit TV screens

Footloose is available to stream on Foxtel.

 

Atkins pictured in Sydney in 2005.
Atkins pictured in Sydney in 2005.

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