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Footloose’ star: Remake cheesy but has morals

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Remakes are all the rage these days, and 1984’s “Footloose” is up next.

Based on the popular ‘80s film starring Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer, an updated take on “Footloose” starring Kenny Wormald (“Center Stage: Turn It Up”) and

Julianne Hough (“Dancing With The Stars”) is scheduled to hit theaters Friday.

Ren McCormack (Wormald) is transplanted from Boston to a small southern town where he experiences a heavy dose of culture shock. A few years prior, the community was rocked by an accident that killed five teenagers, and Reverend Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid) responds by implementing ordinances that prohibit loud music and dancing.

McCormack challenges the ban, revitalizing the town and falling in love with the minister’s troubled daughter Ariel (Hough) in the process.

Hough spoke to The Lantern in a conference call about the film.

Remaking a popular movie was a challenge, Hough said.

In fact, Hough herself wasn’t fond of remakes going in to “Footloose.”

“When I first found out they were doing a remake of an iconic movie like ‘Footloose,’ which is really close to my heart — I grew up watching this movie, and I lived in Utah where it was filmed, I thought the same thing — ugh, remakes, they suck, you know?” she said.

Director Craig Brewer went to work on the script. Pages of the script that retained aspects of the original film were marked with blue tabs, with new elements being marked with white tabs.

The script Brewer and crew crafted was still starkly different from the first imagining of the remake, led by director Kenny Ortega (“High School Musical”) and starring Zac Efron.

“So once Craig joined on and I read that script, I was like, whoa, this is – this is way different,” she said. “This is way more like the original. And it basically is the original, with just minor tweaks, and I have to do this.”  

Hough was put in charge of revisiting Ariel, who was played by Lori Singer in the original, alongside Kevin Bacon.

Hough said she studied Singer’s role and felt the pressure to replicate it, but said she wanted to bring something new to Ariel and make it her own.

“But one thing that I felt like I missed from Ariel back in the original was, I felt like she was just kind of a bad girl and she was a trouble-maker, like why does Ren end up with her?” she said. “She’s not even that cool. Like, she’s kind of a b—-, you know?”

Remaking a film that was “a little cheesy” originally at a time when gritty realism is seemingly the direction a lot of major films have taken, Hough said.

“Back in the day, (‘Footloose’) was not bubble-gum, but when you look back at it, it kind of seems a little cheesy,” she said. “But it’s very easy to make that cheesy again.”

Even in that climate of extended realism in movies?

Hough said yes, because movies need more moral value that can appeal to teenagers.

Brewer even said that “Footloose” works better now than it did originally by adding more meaning to the updated take on the film.

“I think we managed to make ‘Footloose’ more relevant today than it was in 1984,” Brewer said in a separate conference call.

Now, with “Footloose” in her rearview mirror, Hough is looking to the future.

“I’m really hoping it’ll open the doors to doing more dramatic things: comedic roles, just a whole wide range of characters,” she said.

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