The Cast Of 'Footloose': Then And Now

Jordan Claes
The prom scene in 'Footloose'.
Paramount Pictures | Paramount Pictures

The '80s was a decade defined by two things: music and movies. When trying to pick out the film that perfectly encapsulates those two ideals, no one does it better than Footloose.

I feel sick to my stomach saying this, but it's been nearly 40 years since we watched in wonder as Kevin Bacon furiously danced through that abandoned warehouse. Let's take a look at what he and the rest of the Footloose cast are up to — then vs. now.

Then: Frances Lee McCain

Ethel and Ren McCormack in 'Footloose'.
Paramount Pictures | Paramount Pictures

Frances Lee played Ren's mother, Ethel McCormack, in the film. Ethel does her best just to try and make ends meet. She loves her son more than she loves herself and would do anything for him.

Now: Frances Lee McCain

Frances Lee McCain in 'Better Call Saul'.

Frances has worked sporadically over the years, opting to take multiple breaks from the world of acting. She's undergone quite the career resurgence in recent years, having appeared in Better Call Saul, The Comeback Trail, and End of the Road.

Then: Chris Penn

Chris Penn sitting on a cooler in the gym in 'Footloose'.
Paramount Pictures | Paramount Pictures

Chris Penn was the brother of Sean Penn and a rising star in his own right. Chris played the part of Willard to perfection and went on to have a successful acting career afterward. Sadly, he passed away at 40 years old, due to an enlarged heart and an accidental mixture of medication.

Then: John Laughlin

John Laughlin goofing around in 'Footloose'.
Paramount Pictures | Paramount Pictures

You could be remiss for not remembering John Laughlin as Woody — one of Ren and Ariel's classmates/close friends in Footloose. This was Laughlin's first starring role since his breakout performance in An Officer and a Gentlemen.

Now: John Laughlin

Kevin Bacon saying "Let's Dance!" in 'Footloose'.
Giphy |

John Laughlin has made a name for himself as "that guy" from "that movie." He's had numerous walk-on parts in movies and various TV shows over the years but has never been able to step out of the shadow of Footloose.

Then: Dianne Wiest

Diane Wiest in 'Footloose'.
Paramount Pictures | Paramount Pictures

Dianne West as Vi Moore is the quintessential preacher's wife. There's no denying that she loves and supports her husband, but she's also far less naive. Both she and her husband are haunted by the ghost of their dead son and long for the life they once had.

Now: Dianne Wiest

Dianne Wiest in 'Mayor Of Kingstown'.
Paramount + | Paramount +

Dianne Wiest always was and continues to be a woman of many talents. She most recently portrayed the matriarch of the McLusky family in Mayor of Kingstown and prior to that was best known for playing Joan Short in Life In Pieces.

Then: John Lithgow

John Lithgow and Dianne Wiest in bed in 'Footloose'.
Paramount Pictures | Paramount Pictures

Shaw Moore may have started out as the villain in Footloose, but that's never the road he intended on traveling. At the end of the day, the reverend was little more than a grieving father, attempting to protect the only family he had left in any way possible.

Now: John Lithgow

John Lithgow giving the thumbs up while wearing a tuxedo.
Giphy | SAG Awards

John Lithgow has taken on some truly chilling roles since his days on the set of Footloose. He played the chilling Trinity Killer in Dexter and most recently can be seen in the hard-hitting FX spy series, The Old Man.

Then: Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker in 'Footloose'.
Paramount Pictures | Paramount Pictures

Rusty Rodriguez is the fast-talking best friend of Ariel Moore. Although she can be a bit scatterbrained at times, Rusty's intelligence and intellect are undeniable. With a little help from Ren, she's soon made to realize that she and Willard are meant to be together.

Now: Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker shrugging and nodding her head.
Giphy | Divorce

Most people today recognize Sarah Jessica Parker for her role as Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, as opposed to Rusty from Footloose. Sarah recently completed the prequel series And Just Like That and is set to reprise her role as Sarah Sanderson in Hocus Pocus 2.

Then: Lori Singer

Lori Singer in 'Footloose'.
Paramount Pictures | Paramount Pictures

Lori Singer portrayed Ariel Moore, the daughter of Reverend Shaw Moore as well as the principal love interest of Ren McCormack. Ariel and Ren truly are kindred spirits: they're reckless, stubborn, and determined to enact change in Bomont.

Now: Lori Singer

It's been more than five years since movie audiences last saw Lori Singer in front of the camera. In 2023, she's set to star as the title character in director Victor Nunez's dramatic tale of griefRachel Hendrix.

Then: Kevin Bacon

Kevin Bacon in 'Footloose'
Paramount Pictures | Paramount Pictures

Arguably Kevin Bacon's most iconic role to date is that of rebel Ren McCormack. The troubled Chicago native helped to change the landscape of Bomont, Texas forever with his awe-inspiring dance moves combined with his devil-may-care attitude.

Now: Kevin Bacon

Kevin is still as busy as ever. His acclaimed crime series City on a Hill is now in its third season, and when Kevin isn't in front of a camera, he can usually be found on stage as the frontman in The Bacon Brothers band.