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Sarah Jessica Parker: 'I almost lost Footloose job because of my hair'

Published 18/10/2016

Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker returns to her childhood Annie role for a Hillary Clinton fundraiser.

Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker almost missed out on a role in the 1984 film musical Footloose which catapulted her from semi-famous child star to a grown-up leading lady.

When she was offered the role of Rusty opposite Kevin Bacon, Parker turned it down almost immediately - because she didn't want to mess with her hair. A natural brunette, she had played the role of iconic orphan Annie in the musical of the same name on Broadway from 1979-80, for which she had to cut her hair and dye it red.

As part of a conversation for People's The Jess Cage Interview on 13 October (16), she revealed that the film's

producers asked her to do the same thing again, and she wasn't at all excited at the prospect.

"They wanted me to cut my hair off and dye it red because the character’s name was Rusty, and I was like, ‘Oh God, my hair just grew back from Annie.' I couldn’t imagine cutting my hair off and dying it red again, and being a redhead didn’t really suit me, so I passed, and they hired (Square Pegs actress) Tracy Nelson.”

But something went wrong and producers decided they needed to offer the part to Sarah Jessica once again.

“They called me from the set. It didn’t work out, and they said, ‘Can you fly to Utah tomorrow?’ I was like, ‘I can, but I cannot cut my hair off and dye it red.’ They were like, ‘Don’t worry about your hair. Just get here.’"

The film became a cult classic and also gave Parker her first adult role.

"That was my first job as an 18-year-old which on the (U.S.) West Coast mattered because you didn’t have to have a guardian."

She also found a friend in the film's late director Herbert Ross but admits she and other cast members found themselves on the receiving end of his famous temper.

"The thing that I got yelled at for was I learned dance routines slowly. Some people pick it up super-fast and I wasn’t fast. But I loved him and was very sorry when he passed (in 2001)."

Funnily enough, Parker returned to her red roots on Monday night (17Oct16) in New York City at a star-studded Broadway for Hillary (Clinton) benefit - to sing Tomorrow from Annie.

And no, she didn't cut her famously long sleek ombre locks, or dye them red.

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