The actor Kevin Bacon first shot to fame after playing the high-school student and gymnast Ren McCormack in the 1984 musical film Footloose, but is Bacon a gymnast himself?
Kevin Bacon is not a gymnast, nor a dancer. Whilst he performed the majority of the dance routines in the film himself, he had two gymnastics doubles, one student double and one dance double on hand to perform the more difficult moves.
Read more about Footloose and Bacon’s performance in the film.
The film follows McCormack as he moves from Chicago to a small town in Oklahoma, where dancing and rock music are both banned. McCormack attempts to overturn this ban throughout the film, in order to allow the senior class at the local high school to hold a prom.
Although the film is set in the fictional town of Bomont, it is based on events that took place in the real town of Elmore City, Oklahoma. Public dancing in Elmore City had always been forbidden by law since the town was founded in the late 1890’s.
In 1980, a group of students from Elmore City High School requested that dancing be allowed so they could have a prom. Despite pushback from a local reverend, the youngsters succeeded and the prom was able to take place.
The film is famous for its dance scenes complete with backflips and other complicated moves, including when McCormack dances out his anger alone in a warehouse and the final prom scene when the students are finally allowed to dance.
Lynne Taylor-Corbett, the film’s choreographer, told the New York Post that in the original Footloose script, Ren McCormack had been a runner. However, she asked for him to be a gymnast instead so that his dance routines could incorporate a greater range of movement.
Kevin Bacon as Ren McCormack
In an interview with The New York Post, Kevin Bacon revealed that when he first auditioned for the film, he didn’t know he would have to perform choreographed dance routines, saying “The script didn’t really indicate anything.”
In the same interview with the New York Post, he explained “It just said, ‘and then they dance,’ and again, ‘and then they dance,’ I thought it was like when you’re in a bar, and you start moving around. I said, ‘I don’t know if you really need a choreographer, because I just like to dance. Why don’t you just let me dance, and turn the camera on?’ ”
Bacon and a number of other cast members received dance lessons in preparation for filming, which Bacon has described as “tough” and “frustrating.”
Discussing the lessons, he said “I was doing things I wasn’t used to doing, at a super-accelerated rate,” adding “Ultimately, there were things I just couldn’t do, like the gymnastics, flying around on high bars and stuff, and some dance moves that were too complicated.
In an interview with People magazine, Bacon revealed that while he did perform most of the dancing in the film himself, he had a number of doubles for the famous warehouse scene.
At the time, Bacon was angry that he couldn’t perform the entire routine himself, which included a number of backflips and complicated dance moves. In the same interview with People magazine, he said “Are you kidding I was furious.”
In the same interview with People magazine, Bacon explained “I had a stunt double, a dance double and two gymnastics doubles.” He said “There were five of us in the f—ing outfit, and I felt horrible.”
Watch Kevin Bacon and his four doubles dance in the iconic warehouse scene in the below YouTube video.