‘Footloose’ actor Kevin Bacon fulfills Utah students’ wish: He’s coming back for prom

Students have been campaigning all year to get #BacontoPayson, where the 1984 movie was filmed.

A yearlong campaign by students at Payson High School, where scenes from the iconic ‘80s film “Footloose” was filmed, to bring star Kevin Bacon to prom has paid off.

“I’m going to come. I’ve got to come,” the actor told an assembly at Payson High on Friday morning, via a remote call from Atlanta. The moment was carried live on NBC’s “Today.”

Students, faculty and school have been campaigning to get Bacon, who played the lead character, Ren McCormick, in the 1984 film. The campaign took on urgency because the school building, where many scenes of the movie were filmed, is being torn down after the school year.

The campaign — #BacontoPayson — has been highlighted nationwide, even drawing the attention of Utah Gov. Spencer Cox.

On Friday, students at the assembly erupted into cheers and hugs, even happy tears, when Bacon announced that he’s coming. Some students promised Bacon that they would “dance hard.”

The announcement comes just a month before Payson High’s prom on April 20. Bacon told the students that he was “so impressed” with the kids’ campaign, and “it hasn’t gone unnoticed” by him.

“The movie, and Payson High School, was a big part of my life, and I’ve been amazed at the work that all of you have been putting into this,” Bacon told the students.

#BaconToPayson has been in the works all year, with the student body holding all types of events. One of the final pushes was a commitment for students to help out Bacon’s nonprofit charity SixDegrees on the day of prom.

“We are so excited about Kevin Bacon’s announcement that he’ll be coming back to Payson!,” Jenny Staheli, who as the school’s student council adviser helped the students with the campaign, said in a statement. “This was a combined effort with the students, faculty and local community, as well as support from the larger Utah community, and we want to say thank you!”

“Footloose” has roots all over locations in Utah County. Many of the dancers in the movie’s famous final dance scene were Utah teenagers, performing the same moves they did at a local disco in Provo, said Brian Wimmer, an actor who made his movie debut in “Footloose.”