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Footloose: Why Rob Lowe Left Auditions in an Ambulance

CBR 9/16/2022 Cassidy Stephenson

There was a time when Kevin Bacon was virtually unknown in the film industry. The X-Men: First Class actor became a household name for his lead role in Footloose. Although, Bacon wasn't the only actor considered to play Ren McCormack in Herbert Ross' 1984 film, loosely based on the true story of Elmore City, Oklahoma.

Tom Cruise and Rob Lowe were among the prospective actors to appear in Footloose. Cruise was coming off the hype of Risky Business, which was released the year before Footloose. Coincidentally, Cruise and Lowe had starred together in the 1983 film The Outsiders before they were both considered for the role of Ren. Lowe could have even appeared in Footloose if it wasn't for his audition that ended with an ambulance ride.

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Footloose follows Chicago high school student Ren McCormack and his adjustment to life in the rural town of Bomont. Ren learns Reverend Shaw Moore and his wife, Vi, drive the town's dancing ban. Ren befriends their daughter Ariel and discovers the reason for the ban was due to her brother's death after a night of dancing and alcohol. In the end, they convince the town to hold a high school prom, the first one in several years.

Footloose became one of the most iconic dancing films in the 1980s but almost starred a different actor. Lowe was a guest on The Kyle & Jackie O Show in July 2020 and spoke about his horrific experience during the audition for Footloose. The St. Elmo's Fire actor recalled how he made it as far as the dance auditions, but a serious mishap sent him to the hospital. "The dance audition ended with a big running jump to your knees sliding across the floor -- and I blew out my ACL," Lowe said. Lowe had to leave the audition in an ambulance.

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Lowe recalled how badly he wanted the Footloose role and how seriously he took the audition process. The 58-year-old actor said he practiced the dance routine for two weeks before auditions. Lowe's sudden injury had ruined his chances, but the actor wasn't too discouraged when the casting team informed him they would hire a dancer instead of an actor for the part. Although, that ultimately wasn't the case.

"Forty-eight hours later, high on morphine, I read that Kevin Bacon got the part," Lowe said disappointedly. Despite not being cast in Footloose, Lowe still had a successful acting career throughout the 1980s. The actor appeared in films like St. Elmo's Fire and Square Dance before starring as Chris Traeger on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation. Here's hoping Lowe doesn't ever have to have a terrifying audition experience like that again.

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