Kevin Bacon was subsequently cast in the iconic film, which helped launch his career.
Meanwhile, Atkins -- star of "The Blue Lagoon" and "The Pirate Movie" -- was finding it tough to land more acting jobs.
Now 47, Atkins builds high-end swimming pools and is hoping to kick-start his screen career by appearing on the VH1 reality television series, "Confessions of a Former Teen Idol," alongside other former celebrities like Adrian Zmed from "T.J. Hooker," Billy Huffsey from "Fame," Jeremy Jackson and David Chokachi from "Baywatch," Jamie Walters from "Beverly Hills, 90210" and Eric Nies from "The Real World."
"I had 'Footloose,'" Atkins said in a recent episode of "Confessions." "And I went to meet with the producers and director of the movie, but I was on my way to Palm Springs to go have some fun, but I already started having fun before. ... So, I went in, out of my mind, and they saw this crazy guy and they thought, 'We can't do this movie with this guy...' I (messed) up. I was a total idiot. ... It could have been a whole different ballgame for me."
Atkins revealed that losing the role caused him to have a breakdown for which he was hospitalized. He said he then spent some time in rehab and has been clean and sober for 22 years.