Paramount Pictures announced today that it has finally completed principle casting on the remake of “Footloose,” after two high-profile stars and a well-known director danced away from the update of the 1984 dance drama.
Following an extensive worldwide search, newcomer Kenny Wormald will play the lead role of Ren, which made Kevin Bacon a star back in ’84. Playing his love interest Ariel (the role originated by Lori Singer) will be previously announced song-and-dance star Julianne Hough.
Dennis Quaid is joining the cast in the role of stern minister Rev. Moore, played by John Lithgow in the original. Also newly cast is Miles Teller as Ren’s pal Willard, whose dancing boots the late Chris Penn filled back in ’84.
Director Craig Brewer (music-oriented indie films “Hustle & Flow,” “Black Snake Moan”) has been hired to helm the project from his rewritten script. It will be set in the South in present day.
“I saw ‘Footloose’ in my hometown theater when I was 13-years-old and it rocked my world. It was a teenage rebellion movie that explored the struggles of faith and family in a small town, and it had a killer soundtrack. I can promise ‘Footloose’ fans that I will be true to the spirit of the original film. But I still gotta put my own Southern grit into it and kick it into 2011,” said Brewer in today’s news release. “It’s going to be a blast!”
The first “Footloose” film starred Bacon as a Chicago teen who moves to a rural community that has a law prohibiting dancing.
The film was loosely based on actual events in Elmore City, where students in 1980 convinced the school board to let them organize the school’s first prom, despite an 80-year-old city ordinance banning public dancing. The Oklahoma farming community marked the 30th anniversary of the first prom in April.
The remake has been dancing on shaky ground since March 2009, when “High School Musical” star Zac Efron pulled out of the project. Director Kenny Ortega, also of “HSM” fame, left the film last fall. In April, Efron’s replacement, Chace Crawford, also departed the picture.
Production will start this summer on the remake, which is due in theaters April 1, 2011.
Hough will make her feature film debut in “Burlesque” in November, opposite Christina Aguilera and Cher, which will also coincide with the release of the two-time “Dancing With the Stars” champion’s second country album.
She will co-star alongside newcomer Wormald, who appeared in the MTV series “Dancelife”, and most recently toured with Justin Timberlake. The film will mark the first major U.S. feature film role for the Boston native.
Quaid, known for his starring roles in countless hit movies including “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” “The Day After Tomorrow,” “Traffic,” and most notably for his Golden Globe- and Screen Actors Guild-nominated role in the acclaimed movie “Far From Heaven”, also joins the cast. The actor most recently starred in the critically praised HBO movie “The Special Relationship.”
Teller, who will next appear in John Cameron Mitchell’s “The Rabbit Hole” starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart, will also appear in the film.
The “Footloose” remake will feature choreography from Jamal Sims, who recently worked with Madonna on her “Sticky & Sweet Tour.” Sims has choreographed numerous movies and videos and will next choreograph the Neil Patrick Harris’ production of the award-winning musical “Rent,” starring Nicole Scherzinger and Vanessa Hudgens, Aug. 6-8 at the Hollywood Bowl.
“When we discovered Kevin Bacon in 1984, we were both excited and gratified – and also knew the chances of ever duplicating that effort was a million to one shot. Decades later Kenny Wormald proved history could repeat itself,” said Craig Zadan, who served as a producer on the original film and is executive-producing the remake. “We’ve wanted to work with Brewer ever since we saw ‘Hustle & Flow.’ His fresh and contemporary vision will bring ‘Footloose’ to a whole new generation of moviegoers when the movie opens in 2011.”