Saturday, September 12, 2020

Interview: Kim Jensen (Ariel’s friend Edna in “Footloose”)

In Footloose (1984), Kim Jensen (now Abunuwara) played Edna, friend to Lori Singer’s character Ariel Moore.

Kim’s behind-the-scenes recollections of the experience:

What were you doing professionally prior to Footloose?

I was an undergraduate acting student at Brigham Young University. Not much professional at this time.
How did you get the role?

There was a huge cattle call. Then another trimmed down [call]. Finally, five of us [were] called back to read for [director] Herbert Ross in a hotel room in Salt Lake City. I think I was cast because I was blond and not rail thin (as he already had Lori and Sarah who were brunette and rail thin), and I’m a decent actor.
Is there one story about your Footloose time you tell more than any other?

Because it strokes my ego: When rehearsing the scene where Lori climbs out of my [moving] car into her boyfriend’s [moving] truck, Herbert rode in the back of a camera truck and held up a pencil for us to look at as a focus point for our reactions when we were to pretend to see the approaching rig. After we did it the first time, Ross said something like “it’s too much” or “you’re overdoing it, I’m only getting anything real from Kim.” I was incredibly proud of this because it isn’t easy to look at a pencil and act like it’s an approaching rig.

While working on it, did it seem like just another script to you, or did it feel like something special?

I wasn’t sure that the script was special. But I knew the people involved were special:
Wiest, Lithgow, Bacon, Ross. I felt, because of them, the movie could be special.

Kim with Laura Wardle
What do you remember about your impression of Kevin Bacon? 

Incredibly professional, focused. Doing his job.
Chris Penn? 

Not much interaction with Chris.
Lori Singer? 

She may have been in a tough patch. She didn’t seem to be on her game. One day someone brought a viola to the set (I think we were at the Osmond Studios that day because it was inside a large studio and we were very often outside on set) and she played for us in a pink robe and curlers and she was amazing! I thought, wow, she is a very gifted musician.

John Lithgow? 

He really helped Lori to focus when shooting the scene when he finds her listening to music (bad) at the Hi Spot. When the cameras were reversed and they did Lori’s shot, he could’ve left and let an AD read, but he stayed and pointed at her and really gave her a lot to work with. Also, when they did his shot and he is supposed to be super disappointed in and betrayed by his daughter, the track was set in his path so as he walks away it would have to be over some very wide dolly tracks which would make him need to take unnaturally large steps. As John walked off, the shot was going to be on his face. I remember Herbert offering to reset the shot and John said no and just made it work; acting it perfectly while taking these enormously awkward steps over the dolly track. What a pro.
Dianne Wiest? 

Just incredible. Just super professional. And wow, able to make so much out of material that is just “meh.”
Sarah Jessica Parker? 

Incredibly confident and charming. She was the doll of the production. She was incredibly funny and entertaining. Witty. A people magnet.
Did you attend the premiere, and if so, what was that like? 

We had a premiere in Utah that I attended. My boyfriend took the wrong exit and we were late and I could’ve murdered him.
How often were you recognized on the street? Any funny stories about that? 

Never. I am no one.
Do you remember what you earned for the movie?

$16,000. It paid for graduate school and 3.5 months in Europe. 

Do you still earn residuals?

What are you doing these days?

I teach at UVU. Do voice work and the odd TV show that is shooting in SLC.

Any interest in acting more frequently? 

Sure. The money is great when it works.
Where do you live? 

Orem, Utah.

Ages 27, 25, 24, 20.
If they have seen you in Footloose, what do they think about it? 

The love me a lot and are very proud of me.
Have you ever participated in a Footloose-related event (reunion, convention, documentary, etc.)? 

No, I haven't taken part in anything like that. I wouldn't want to.
When was the last time you saw a member of the cast, and was it on purpose or by chance?
I haven’t.
When was the last time you watched Footloose? How did you think it held up? 

Can’t remember. Although last year they showed [Lori’s] climbing-out-of-my-car-into-her-boyfriend’s-truck scene in faculty senate at UVU while I was serving as a faculty senator. People think its special that I was in a movie.

Do you have any mementos from the experience such as set photos, a script, or anything from the set? 

I used to have a small oblong cardboard dashboard sign that said "Paramount" that I stole out of one of trucks. I wish I still had it.
Have you been interviewed before about this specifically, and if so, do you have those clippings (particularly from back then)? 

Once. But I don’t know where the clipping went. It was a SLC paper.
What did you think when you first heard from me? 

Happy to help.
How do you look back on your Footloose experience? 

If the experience changed your life in any way, how? 

Well, it has always been an attention getter. It is a well-known film. It looked good on my résumé. It paid for school and a trip to Europe. Those things certainly changed my life.


Jason said...

Thanks for this interview! I grew up not far from where Footloose was filmed, and it's always been a favorite of mine (it's a time capsule of what home used to be like, before everything got suburbanized). Always happy to see anything related to it!

Andy said...

I always thought she was prettier than Lori Singer. She should have been cast as Ariel.