Everybody cut loose: Utah actress recalls experience filming ‘Footloose’

Apr 20, 2024, 4:52 PM | Updated: 5:17 pm

OREM – Remember the scene in “Footloose” when Ariel climbs out of her friends’ moving car and tries to get into her boyfriend’s truck? The driver – Ariel’s friend, Edna – was played by then-19-year-old BYU acting student Kim Abunuwara.

A Utah County native, Abunuwara and some friends had decided to audition for “Footloose,” not knowing that she would land a speaking role.

“We got called back. There were five of us that were reading for a couple speaking parts,” Abunuwara said. “Then I read with Herbert Ross, and that’s when I understood that there was a principal role available.”

Abunuwara was given a 5-week contract with Paramount.

“I would ride my motorcycle down to the hotel where the actors who weren’t local were staying, and then we’d get into the vans and go to whatever location, whether it was the Roller Mills or down in Payson,” she said.

Now, 40 years since the release of the iconic film, Abunuwara still remembers the fun times she had on set and the friendships she made.

“Kevin was extraordinary to work with. They called him ‘One Take Bake.’ He was very professional; very self-possessed,” Abunuwara said. “And then working with John Lithgow – extraordinary. And Diane Wiest. These were great people to get to associated with and learn from.”

Abunuwara’s love of acting didn’t stop there.

She has since acted in other local films and now teaches a performance studies class at UVU – all while fondly remembering her time spent kicking off her Sunday shoes.

“It was a really good moment,” she said. “It was a really lucky thing that fell into my lap and I’m grateful for it.”

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Everybody cut loose: Utah actress recalls experience filming ‘Footloose’