'Footloose': Like dancing, a remake isn't sacrilege, just fun
Nearly from the instant Paramount announced plans to remake the classic '80s dance flick "Footloose," the project has been plagued by problems.
Ren McCormack, the rebellious protagonist made famous by Kevin Bacon, was initially slated to be played by Zac Efron in the modern version. But Efron wanted to distance himself from his "High School Musical" days and accordingly dropped off the movie. He was replaced by "Gossip Girl" star Chace Crawford, who eventually quit as well because of a scheduling conflict between the movie and the CW teen soap.
Ultimately, the studio settled upon Kenny Wormald, a native of Stoughton, Mass., with little acting experience who had been a backup dancer for the likes of Justin Timberlake and Mariah Carey.
At the "Footloose" premiere in Westwood on Monday night, Wormald said he was less nervous about being a replacement but more anxious because of his respect for the original movie.
"When those guys were attached, I was jealous. I was like, 'Oh, I could do Ren justice. Give me a chance,' " he said in a thick Boston accent. "And then when I heard that they opened casting to an 'unknown,' I was so pumped and I just beelined it toward the prize."
Meanwhile, some fans of the original are still angry that a new version is hitting theaters Oct. 14 -- regardless of who its star is.
"People are getting really hateful, saying, 'You should not remake this movie. You should burn in hell.' I've heard some crazy stuff," said Miles Teller, who plays Ren's best friend, Willard. "I would just say, 'Calm down with that.' We're celebrating the original .... We're all very excited to do it, and it's good for new actors to get a chance."
Andie MacDowell -- one of the only cast members who remembers what it was like when the original "Footloose" was released -- believes audiences could do with some fun.
"I think we need a movie that makes us feel good," she said. "I think everything is so depressing and everybody is exhausted from worrying about the economy that everybody just needs to go out and have a good time."
-- Amy Kaufman
Photo: Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough at the premiere of "Footloose" in Westwood on Monday. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Reuters