FOOTLOOSE remake loses a star, but gains a new director
Paramount’s FOOTLOOSE remake has already had its share of cast and crew whiplash, and the long-gestating project isn’t even officially in pre-production yet. When the project was first announced over a year ago, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL director Kenny Ortega was attached, fueling copious rumors that fancy-footed Zac Efron would be taking over the dancing shoes to portray the character Kevin Bacon originated. But then Efron was officially out, with Gossip Girl star Chace Crawford (head-scratchingly) in. Then Ortega was out, followed by rumors that the film’s screenwriter, Craig Brewer, was in to helm.
And, if you’re not already exhausted from these different switcheroos, in January, Paramount yanked the film from its schedule. Still with me? Today brings us a quadruple-whammy of news. Crawford is out! Brewer is in! The film will start shooting this summer! We still don’t have a leading man!
Crawford’s dropping of the project is being pinned on scheduling conflicts with Gossip Girl. With the film shooting this summer, and production resuming on Gossip Girl this July, Crawford simply couldn’t do both. I maintain that Crawford’s casting as Ren always struck me as seriously bizarre, and I can only hope that the next leading man Paramount picks actually has something even resembling a background in dance. I know, I’m a dreamer.
Professional dancer (and country singer!) Julianne Hough is still signed on to play the role Lori Singer originated, Ren’s lady love Ariel Moore. But who, pray tell, will fill the big shoes of her daddy, first played by John Lithgow? This is the casting news I most eagerly anticipate.
Even with the news that the remake is down one leading man, the announcement that Brewer is officially on board as director is overwhelmingly positive for the production. The attachment of a director means that the film will aim for a summer filming start, and having an eyed timeframe will only push casting to get cracking.
Also a screenwriter, Brewer has penned his own rewrite of the script (last worked on by ERIC BROCKOVICH scribe Susannah Grant), that “some say is closer to the original film…[and] has been fully embraced by Paramount chief Adam Goodman.” Part of that equation might be the “edgier tone” Goodman desired. If it’s edgier he wants, turning to the director of HUSTLE & FLOW and BLACK SNAKE MOAN could be the best decision anyone has made in terms of this project yet.
Source Entertainment Weekly and Variety (via Cinema Blend)
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