With a reboot of 1984’s Footloose hitting theaters next month, it feels like the perfect time to take a stroll down memory lane back to when Kevin Bacon couldn’t get arrested in Hollywood. Sure, the baby-faced twentysomething actor had already had a bit part as the evil preppy Chip Diller in Animal House, and been shish-kebabed through the neck in Friday the 13th. But Paramount was far from sold on him as Footloose’s rug-cutting rebel Ren McCormack. According to Bacon, they didn’t think he was sexy enough. But the film’s director, Herb Ross, thought otherwise. So he got Bacon a $1,500 haircut and set up a screen test for him to strut his stuff for the studio in the hopes of changing their mind.
Until now, we’ve always had to take it on faith that Bacon gave an electrifying audition that won him the part. But thanks to the new Blu-ray release of Footloose (available on Sept. 27), we finally have the first-hand proof: Bacon’s audition is included on the disc’s extras. And if you don’t feel like waiting, you can see a snippet of it exclusively here:
“When I look at this kid it’s almost hard for me to believe it’s me,” Bacon says in an extensive new interview that accompanies the screen test. It’s easy to see what he means. The actor is so young and brash that it’s hard to take your eyes off of him. But in case you can, you’ll notice that his partner isn’t Lori Singer (who hadn’t been cast yet), but Haviland Morris – better known as Jake Ryan’s girlfriend from Sixteen Candles.
Elsewhere on the Footloose Blu-ray’s extras, Sarah Jessica Parker drops by for a new interview to talk about her role as Singer’s feisty sidekick, Rusty, and to reminisce about the late Chris Penn, who played the dancephobic hick Willard, and who she confesses was “the first love of my life.” Who knew?
As for Bacon, he still seems proud of the film that made him a star. “People think of it as this kind of fluffy, pop thing,” he says. “But if you really go back and look at it…the movie is an edgier movie than I think people remember.”