Music | Pop Culture | Movies | 80s

12 Facts About 'Flashdance' That Will Make You Go 'She's A Maniac!'

During the dance movie craze of the 80s, there were plenty of titles you could choose from: Dirty Dancing, Saturday Night Fever, and Footloose all ushered in a genre that we previously had no idea we totally wanted.

One of the most iconic entries in the genre was 1983's Flashdance, a movie which made every girl cut the collars off their sweatshirts and decide to invest in spandex and dance lessons, while making every guy in the audience fall in love with Jennifer Beals. Based on the astonishing amount of money the movie's made over the years, chances are that if you're reading this, you already love the movie. BUT, did you know these facts about it?

Jennifer Beals's iconic sweatshirt was a total accident.


Beals had brought the shirt from home, only to find out that it had shrunk in the wash without her knowledge. She had to cut the collar off just to fit her head through it.

The dancing was actually done by multiple different people.


Jennifer Beals didn't actually do any of the dancing scenes herself. Dancer Marine Jahan was her body double for all the dancing scenes, and even appeared in the video for "Maniac."  Alex's leap through the air in the audition scene was also done by gymnast Sharon Shapiro, and the break-dancing was done by Crazy Legs.

The person who the movie is based on kinda got ripped off.

The National

The movie is based on the life of construction worker-turned-dancer Maureen Marder, who was paid a lump sum of $2,300 by Paramount and given no claim to the rights or royalties. The movie went on to gross over $150 million. Ouch.

The theme song was written in a few minutes.

Singer Irene Cara literally wrote the lyrics to "What A Feeling" while in a car on her way to the studio to record it. It went on to win an Oscar.

The video release actually boosted ticket sales.


Paramount tried an experiment with the movie's home video release; they released it while the movie was still playing in some theaters. Analysts thought that this would tank ticket sales, but it turned out that seeing it on video made people clamor to see it in theaters.

The facts just get more surprising from here...

You pretty much needed to be a maniac to try to dance to "Maniac."

Michael Sembello apparently drew his inspiration for the song from cheesy horror movies (no, seriously), and wrote it with the intention of it being impossible to actually dance to.

The movie almost had a much more famous director.

Brian De Palma was originally tapped to direct the movie, and actually went through several weeks of pre-production. However, he ultimately dropped out in order to direct a little movie called Scarface. You might have heard of it.

Paramount had no faith in the movie at all.


The studio gave the rights to producer Don Simpson after he was fired from his executive position, with people suspecting they wanted to give him what they thought was a "worthless property." They also sold off 25% of their share of the project mere days before it opened in theaters.

A lot of people almost played Nick.


The role was offered to Gene Simmons, Al Pacino, and even Burt Reynolds before Michael Nouri was ultimately cast. Fun fact: the runner-up to him was a then-unknown actor named Kevin Costner.

There's a pretty big age difference between the movie's stars.


Michael Nouri is exactly double Jennifer Beals's age. At the time of filming, she was 18 and he was 36.

The story was almost much darker.


Director Adrian Lyne insisted that part of the movie should focus on Alex having been molested as a child. Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas was horrified, saying it would "sink the entire story," leading to the two having constant arguments about it. Ultimately the studio sided with Eszterhas, and the plot line was left out.

And almost much longer.


The movie's original runtime was 2 hours and 20 minutes, but against the wishes of both Lyne and Eszterhas, studio heads Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg insisted that it be cut down to 95 minutes.

What's your favorite part of Flashdance?