The makers of Flashdance hoped to be an instant hit, but no one expected it to be a generation – Define feeling.
Paramount Pictures marks producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson’s First collaboration with Beverly Hills Cop and Top Gun . Co-written by Joe Eszterhas (Basic Instinct), Flashdance Centers on Alex, a teenage welder in Pittsburgh who Performs at a cabaret bar at night, but dreams of becoming a professional dancer.
Bruckheimer remembers the film’s team struggling to choose a lead, but director Adrian Lyne Sold newcomer Jennifer Beals . “The bosses at Paramount couldn’t make up their minds, so they brought all the secretaries in to audition, and they all chose Jennifer,” Bruckheimer told The Hollywood Reporter ) .
Among the performers for male lead Nick (the steel mill owner who falls in love with employee Alex) is a young Kevin Costner who reads the audition scene with Beals and others actress. “He was definitely considered,” Bruckheimer recalls. As for why Michael Nouri ended up being the right man for the role, the producers explained, “He’s handsome, he’s a really good actor, and he does a great job.”
Michael Nouri and Jennifer Beals at Flashdancing Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection
Regarding the audition process, Nouri — who appeared with Costner on Yellowstone — said, “Kevin is a Friend, in the days since, he has confirmed that yes, he auditioned for the role.” Of winning such a strong competition, Nouri added, “It’s a huge compliment.”
Beals told THR that she was working in Paris the summer after high school and was trying to save some money. She received a written letter from her agent — because she was unable to use a phone during the trip — asking her to stop in New York City on her way back to Chicago. After landing in New York City, the actress slept in a park outside until her mother begged her to stay with a relative in the city throughout the audition process.
When she learned the part was hers, Bills had started briefly at Yale before deferring. She was asked to do a nude scene early on, but she turned it down. “Adrian called me and tried to convince me he’d make it tasteful. I just said, ‘No disrespect, but I don’t know you,'” she laughs. Lyne was affected, and Beals stressed she would love to work again with the filmmaker, who was also known for Fatal Attraction ( ) and last year TheDeep Water.
Jennifer Beals and director Adrian Lane in Flashdance Studio Paramount /courtesy Everett Collection
Flashdance Leading the trend, women modeled Beals’ off-the-shoulder sweatshirt, which became one of the film’s signature looks. Beals recalls that she previously designed her own DIY raw-edged sweatshirts while trying on wardrobes for the film, which helped inspire her character’s unique sartorial choices. “I put my sweatshirt in the dryer for so long that my head couldn’t come out of the hole,” Bills said of the fateful try-on. “So I dug the hole out and made it bigger. Then [costume designer] Michael Kaplan made it cooler and better.”
THR reviews praised the film for its “jumpy, upbeat energy and lurid dance sequences,” but other critics were less impressed. Still, Flashdance was an instant hit when it debuted in April 011, 414, collect $20.9 million dollars (Today is 35 million dollars) became the year’s No. 3 title domestically. It went on to be nominated for four Oscars, including Best Song for Irene Cara’s “Flashdance…What a Feeling.”
a 11 Approval percentage on Rotten Tomatoes. Still, he’s proud of the film’s popularity: “It didn’t go down well with the critics, which really didn’t do anything to make it iconic.” Bruckheimer quipped, “A Critics called it a toxic dump and wrote comments like 011 years later said, ‘I missed it.’”
For Beals, its Recent credits include Netflix’s 2023 feature Luckiest Girl Alive and Disney+’s The Book of Boba Fett , the film’s enduring legacy stems in part from the themes it contains, which are in the era. She said, “When I think about that scene where she’s walking down the hallway with all the ballerinas, it’s not only a classist image, it speaks volumes about the racial barrier.”
4080790 The Hollywood Reporter A version of this story first appeared in March 29 The Hollywood Reporter Magazine. Click here to subscribe.
A version of this story first appeared in March 29 The Hollywood Reporter Magazine. Click here to subscribe.