Kevin Bacon and John Lithgow Reminisce About Filming ‘Footloose’

John Lithgow is happy to say he only has one degree of separation from Kevin Bacon.

The two shared the screen in a little movie — cue laughs — that Bacon calls “the F-film.” The movie Bacon is referring to, of course, is the 1984 mega-hit “Footloose.”

In a conversation for Variety’sActors on Actors” series, Bacon and Lithgow shared stories from the only time the pair worked on a film together, in a role Bacon calls “life-changing.”

Lithgow’s first memory of working with Bacon was before the two even officially met.

“In my box at that dismal little motel where we all lived, it was a note from you saying what an honor it was to work with me. [It] made me feel very old,” Lithgow said.

Added Lithgow, “You definitely used the word ‘honored,’ which was more than I deserved.”

“It was true,” said Bacon, who admitted he didn’t remember leaving the note. “I wasn’t making it up.”

Bacon was in his 20s during filming, marking a 12-year age difference between him and Lithgow, which was verified in a Google search by Lithgow himself.

“I and Dianne Wiest, who were the preacher and his wife, we felt so old with all these youngsters, and you were the oldest among the youngsters,” Lithgow shared. “We felt like we were the old ‘fuddie duddies.'”

Lithgow didn’t let the age difference between him and the rest of the crew stop him from having fun.

“Somehow, I think in compensation for the fact that we were the conservative older generation, Dianne and I were wild,” Lithgow said. “We had these parties — do you remember the parties? — where we would do soul train and dance.”

This was an experience that Bacon did indeed remember, pointing out that the movie was filmed in the conservative Mormon Country in the ’80s.

One night, Lithgow and Wiest took off their clothes and swam in the pool.

“There was a memo sent out to every member of the production the next morning from Dan Melnick that said, ‘Behave yourselves,'” Lithgow recalled, laughing. “It was directed to Dianne and me.”

Another humorous memory they shared involved the late Chris Penn, who played Willard Hewitt in the film.

“One of the things I loved about Chris was he went out and somehow got a hibachi,” Bacon said. “He would grill, which is just not something you’d expect from a 17-year-old.”

It’s been 33 years since “Footloose” hit theaters, and the two still look back on the film with positive memories.

“It was actually a wonderful experience,” Lithgow said.

Added Bacon, “It was great.”

The interview will air in its entirety on Variety’s “Actors on Actors” Season 6, presented by Shutterstock, which premieres June 13 on PBS SoCal.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

  • TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley' Final

    TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley's' Final Season Sets October Premiere Date

    In today’s roundup, “Silicon Valley” returns to HBO on Oct. 27 and Quibi greenlights a new cooking competition show “Dismantled.” DATES The fifth season of Netflix‘s “Peaky Blinders” will premiere on the streamer Oct. 4. The newest season will continue to follow one gangster family in the lawless streets of Birmingham, UK during the midst [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content