Kevin Bacon Returns to High School Where ‘Footloose’ Was Filmed After Student Campaign

Kevin Bacon returned to the high school where 1984’s Footloose was filmed, 40 years after the movie’s release.

The actor gave a speech to the school’s student body in Payson, Utah, on Saturday, following a student-led social media campaign, hoping to get Bacon to attend the prom before the school was relocated.

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Local news outlet ABC4 reported that Bacon initially told the crowd, “Go Lions! Here we are on this beautiful, beautiful spot on this beautiful, beautiful day. It’s been a long time — 40 years — that just blows my mind, you know. Things look a little different around here. I’d say the thing that looks the most different is me.”

For months, students used social media to try and gain the Leave the World Behind actor’s attention, adding the hashtag #bacontopayson in posts and re-creating movie scenes. But their planned event on prom day to benefit Bacon’s foundation really caught his eye.

“When I first heard about this Bacon to Payson thing, I was like, ‘Wow, this is crazy.’ But you were all just tireless. Unrelenting.… You talked me into it,” Bacon reportedly said in his speech. “I think it’s great to see that kind of commitment to anything. I also think that it’s amazing the power that this movie has had to just kind of bring people together, and connect on the basic ideas there are behind the movie — you know, standing up to authority sometimes, and to being forgiving to people who are not exactly the same as you, and for standing up for your own freedoms and your right to express yourself, and for having compassion for other people.”

Last month, the actor surprised students, announcing on the Today show that he would attend this year’s prom at the school. At the time, he shared his appreciation for all the students have done and how it “hasn’t gone unnoticed.”

As part of their campaign, and to show their appreciation for Bacon’s return, students offered to help support the foundation by pledging to create 5,000 “essential resource kits” for youth and schools, out of the nonprofit’s 40,000 goal.

“And that’s what all of you have shown here, by turning what could be just a movie star coming back to get a pat on the back, into something really positive. And that’s what we’re going to do today when we build these kits,” Bacon added in his speech. “Thank you so much for your commitment to giving back to your community and to the people you’re sharing this planet with, and I’m thrilled we’re going to be working here together today.”

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