Peter Tramm, who played Bacon's double, received a screen credit, but many of the other dancers -- such as the breakdancers in the classic prom scene -- did not, especially since they were brought in for a last-minute reshoot to add some zeitgeisty moves.
Moviefone talked to the original's choreographer, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, as well as uncredited dancer Christopher Harrison and the late Tramm's partner, Jay Grimes, to revisit 'Footloose' and learn why they had to shoot that prom scene twice.
So, why did they reshoot the prom scene?
Lynne Taylor-Corbett: They were dropping confetti and it didn't work with the slow-motion. When [director] Herbert Ross got the crushing news that the finale didn't work, he turned around and decided, "We're going to bring in these new people and we'll just film it again." They brought in these really hot kids they found in LA clubs and they just started doing their own thing. There was something new in the air and, in this case, Ross had the good fortune to be able to insert that one special breakdancer.
Tell us about Peter Tramm, the dancer who doubled for Kevin Bacon.
Taylor-Corbett: Kevin hadn't initially wanted a double. He was so terrific, he worked so hard, but the truth is, you can't fake having danced your whole life. It wouldn't have looked as good as it did and I think we made it look as good as possible. I myself was incredulous with the way it cut together. That scene in the warehouse is always used in clips of 'greatest dance scenes.'
And you had gymnast Chuck Gaylord doubling him on the gymnastics moves!
Taylor-Corbett: Yes, and then there was also a stunt man, so at one time, I had a picture of four Kevins on set!
What are your thoughts on the remake?
Taylor-Corbett: I just hope they find a great cast. [Writer] Dean [Pitchford]'s a good friend and I'm sure he's working on it and updating it a little bit. I don't think any of us ever dreamed the movie would become quite as classic -- especially the dance stuff. I feel really good about my place in that whole experience. I wish them all luck. It just has to be the right kid.
They've cast Kenny Wormald, who has a background in dance.
Taylor-Corbett: I'm not familiar with him, but that's great they've cast a dancer. I'm sure he's going to be great. People can spot doubles and so the bar goes up. And that's as it should be. It will probably engage a whole new generation of kids.
Did Peter Tramm mind being a double?
Jay Grimes [Tramm's former partner]: No, but he did want screen credit. At the time, Peter was married to Marine Jahan, who'd done all of Jennifer Beals' dancing in 'Flashdance' -- and there was a big scandal when she didn't get any credit. It made Marine a semi-star. When Peter was offered 'Footloose,' he was very excited but he was upset because they didn't want to give him screen credit. I just said, "No, no, no, you don't want screen credit. The screen credit will go by so fast, no one will see it -- but if we can create another big scandal, that's priceless publicity." But then of course they ended up giving him the credit!
What else did he do besides 'Footloose'?
Grimes: He had a wonderful career. He did a lot of commercials and TV. He did Vegas. He did movies and he was always a featured dancer. Peter was in 'Can't Stop the Music,' the fictitious story of how the Village People came into being. He has a lot of featured dancing in that; he's the very clean-cut, all-American-looking boy. And he was in the ZZ Top 'Sharp Dressed Man' video. That's Peter, the blonde guy. That was one of his biggest videos.
It's such a shame that he died so young, only seven years after 'Footloose.'
Grimes: That was a terrible, terrible thing. We lost so many great, great talented people. It was a horrible time, it changed the world of entertainment, certainly changed the gay world. With Peter, he was so vital and so alive and such a brilliant dancer. To think of him not being able to dance, or being hurt or injured... The whole idea of him growing old is almost incomprehensible. He would be 52 now. I can't even imagine.
How did you get cast in 'Footloose'?
Christopher Harrison: When Lynne Taylor-Corbett and (assistant choreographer) Spence Henderson came to town to audition, they got all the kids from the University of Utah. I was a dance major there and I was on the cheerleading squad. They were crazy for my tumbling abilities and so I got cast and eight or nine of my friends got cast, too. They took us to the Osmond studios where Lynne paired us with different people and then separated us into two different groups: those that would wind up doing the cowboy number, and the group doing the drive-in. I was part of the drive-in group.
Tell us about shooting that scene at the drive-in.
Harrison: It was all night shoots at this drive-in in Orem or Provo. They asked, "Does anyone have a car they're willing to dance on?" I said yes, and Herbert Ross said, "Hey, are you willing to do a flip off your car?" and I said, "Sure!" So I did this whole thing where I flipped off the car and dove inside the window and kicked my legs up. They said it was the best footage they got. It was a very exciting moment. They ended up liking me a lot and using me for quite a few of the scenes because they said I'd be recognizable because of that footage.
Excellent. What do you remember about shooting the final prom scene?
Harrison: They had buckets and buckets of this very thick confetti. We would dance in this confetti and they'd sweep it up and dump it down on us again. They kept saying, "Please don't look up -- you don't want this in your eye." A few people got the confetti in their eyes and then we'd have to stop and shoot it again. That was a whole night or two of doing that. That was Lynne's choreography and we were very specific about what we were to do, and it was very clearly staged. There wasn't a whole lot of freestyle to it.
How did the reshoot happen?
Harrison: Even though he had all this great footage, Herbert decided it wasn't edgy enough, because they didn't know about the cool new dances in Utah and he wanted to have some of that in there. At the time, 'Flashdance' had just come out and everyone said, "This is going to be the male version of 'Flashdance'!"
They chose maybe four or five of us from Utah who were the more recognizable and flew us to Paramount Studios. They mixed us in with a whole new group of people, but they wanted to have some continuity with the other footage. When we went to do the final scene, some of us were still there, like Peter Tramm, and there were a couple of us from Utah and then all these new kids that they found dancing in the clubs in L.A. with all these cool break dancing moves. At the time, none of us from Utah had ever seen any of these moves. It was such a trip. It was this eye-awakening experience, a kid from Utah going to Hollywood and going out to clubs dancing. I felt bad for my friends in Utah who didn't get to do it.
Watch the 'Footloose' prom scene
Which one are you in the final prom scene?
Harrison: I didn't get one of the features. My best work wound up on the Paramount editing floor.
When did you find out that your big scene was cut from the film?
Harrison: They had a big screening in L.A., and I happened to be in town. I was so excited, even though the scene in the drive-in had gotten cut down. They decided that the story was more important than the dancing, so they cut a lot of the dancing. The thing I get to boast about is that, in the film, I'm the very first person that you see dancing. You're in the drive-in, a chick walks by, I'm jamming for her. I'm that guy.
And there's a big argument whether I'm the guy doing Kevin Bacon's standing back flip in the prom scene [note: see the back flip here, at minute 4:26], or whether it was Peter Tramm. Peter was his official stand-in, but that day his ankle was bothering him, so I put on the jacket and did some flips. So I don't know if it was Peter or me. Our technique was the same, and he was also a former gymnast.
Watch the 'Footloose' drive-in scene
How well did you know Peter?
Harrison: We became friends in L.A. after that and we'd see each other at auditions. I was very, very sad when I heard he had died. He was one of the most successful dancers in L.A. at the time.
Why didn't you get a credit in the film, like he did?
Harrison: Because I was from Utah and didn't have an agent. I never got credit on the film, but I got my SAG card out of it. People say, "Yeah, right, you're in 'Footloose'! We never see your name on it anywhere." But that was back in the day when dancers did not get credit. The only ones who did were the ones who had an agent out of L.A. I'm not on IMDB.com, so it's almost as if I didn't do it.
Do you know what happened to those deleted scenes?
Harrison: I don't. Paramount has it. Herbert Ross himself came up to me and told me, "I just want you to know that that drive-in scene with you flipping off the car is the best dance footage and I'm here to apologize that it got edited down. But it turned into a film about a story and not about the dance." He told me that on the day of the screening. I was a little crushed, but I looked on the bright side: I'm in a movie! I moved to New York and it was literally on the marquees when I got there. It opened the door for me.
What have you done since 'Footloose'?
Harrison: Kevin Bacon gave me the best advice. I asked him, "What do I have to do to make it in New York?" And he said, "You have to go there -- and you have to stay there." And I asked, "How do you know when you've made it?" And he said, "Because The New York Times will write about you. And last year, the Times did.
Now I have this company called Anti-gravity, which is very successful. We perform all over the world. We've provided thousands of jobs to dancers and brought this incredible mix of gymnastics and dance -- and it's all because Kevin gave me that advice and Lynne Taylor-Corbett opened doors for me in New York. It would never have happened had I not done 'Footloose.'