Rather than overreact like so many would when I confessed to having never seen the hit 1984 dance flick “Footloose,” Kenny Wormald — star of the “Footloose” remake in theaters Friday — admitted he wished there were more people like me.
“I think it’s cool if you haven’t seen (the original) because you don’t have that grief of ‘Why did they ruin my baby?’” said Wormald, sitting in a Wrigley Field suite in early September alongside co-star Julianne Hough and director Craig Brewer. “I think that’s the cool way to see (the remake).”
Brewer, who also directed 2005’s “Hustle & Flow” and 2006’s “Black Snake Moan,” was a little more surprised by my “Footloose” confession. He did, however, agree with Wormald that it might be harder to please those who have seen the original, which starred Kevin Bacon, than those who haven’t.
“It’s daunting to do a remake,” Brewer said. “There have been a lot of remakes where they’ve thrown the name of the old move on top of the story but left some part of the spirit behind. By rebooting it, they set it back five paces. Because I was very protective of the movie and (originally) didn’t want to do it for the same reasons people would be against it, I thought ‘What was it that I really connected to?’
“There’s something special about ‘Footloose.’ I think it’s about frienship and the heart that really happens between these young kids as they realize they can stand up for themselves. There hasn’t really been any teenager movies lately — especially dance movies — that give that platform for young people to experience.”
The remake is set in a small town in Georgia that bans dancing after five students are killed in a car crash following a dance party. In comes Ren McCormack (Wormald), a rebellious transfer student from Boston who challenges the dancing ban (he would’ve been from Chicago, as in the original, but the script was re-written to incorporate Wormald’s thick Boston accent).
Yes, the remake includes the scene, made famous by Bacon, in which McCormack dances alone in a warehouse to let out his frustration. No, Bacon doesn’t make a cameo in the film.
Hough, who sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during that afternoon’s Cubs game along with Wormald, doesn’t mind if people go into the film expecting the worst. The “Dancing with the Stars” veteran just wants people to give the remake a chance in hopes that it can prove them wrong.
“When most people think of a remake, they usually think of a bad remake,” Hough said. “So they already have that initial feeling like ‘Oh, they’re going to remake this great classic movie and it’s going to be (garbage). That’s the hardest part. The greatest joy we get is those people going in (with that mindset) and coming out totally surprised and happy.”
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