Kevin Bacon announces return to Payson High for 40th anniversary of ‘Footloose’

Mar 22, 2024, 9:48 AM | Updated: Mar 23, 2024, 12:00 pm

PAYSON — Payson High students will get a lot closer than six degrees to actor Kevin Bacon, who announced Friday he is returning to the school where “Footloose” was filmed 40 years ago.

Bacon made the announcement on the TODAY Show Friday morning.

“I have been so impressed with everything that’s been going on there with this crazy idea to get me to come back,” he said on the TODAY Show, noting how big the movie and the school have been to his life.

Students had been working for months to get Bacon’s attention. This will be the final prom at the current school before a new high school opens later this year.

“Payson’s the one place where you could ask like 100 people and every single one has watched ‘Footloose,’” sophomore Scott Jardine said.

Students posted pictures with a life-sized Bacon cut-out and recreated the movie’s memorable choreography around campus, posting the photos and videos they created on social media hoping Bacon would join them for their spring prom. Even Gov. Spencer Cox got in on the fun, posting a personal invitation on social media.

“I’ve been amazed at the work that all of you have been putting into this, with the musical and the flash mobs and the re-creations,” Bacon told the TODAY Show.

Staheli said the theme of this year’s prom is none other than “Footloose.”

“We’re going to have it in the gym, we’re going to decorate it like an 80s prom,” she said.

The morning of the prom, Payson High is inviting the community to help them create resource kits in efforts with Bacon’s nonprofit SixDegrees.org.

In honor of the film’s anniversary, Six Degrees is hoping to create 40,000 kits. Payson High School is aiming to contribute to 5,000 of those.

Staheli told KSL that the most rewarding part has been the community involvement.

“Really it has been a schoolwide, communitywide, statewide, in a lot of ways, effort,” she said.

Prom is scheduled for April 20.

The movie remains one of the more memorable films shot in Utah, which is also celebrating a major anniversary this year. This year marks 100 years of movies and television filmed in the state. Virginia Pearce, director of the Utah Film Commission, said Friday’s announcement adds to the celebrations the commission is sponsoring this year.

“‘Footloose’ is one of those iconic moments in Utah’s film history that made both an impact on Utah and the world,” she said. “I am so proud of the Payson High School students and hope this celebration will remind everyone of Utah’s rich film history.”

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Kevin Bacon announces return to Payson High for 40th anniversary of ‘Footloose’