2011 Movie Preview: ‘Footloose’
For fans of the 1980s movie “Footloose,” few scenes matter more than Kevin Bacon’s “angry dance” where the then-25-year-old mixes bombastic gymnastic tricks with high-flying stunts as he thrashes around an empty warehouse to the song “Never” by Moving Pictures.
“For me, that’s the coolest thing I ever saw,” says Craig Brewer, best known for his gritty, musically infused movies “Hustle & Flow” and “Black Snake Moan,” who is directing the upcoming “Footloose” remake, set for release Oct. 14. “I know people can laugh at me and look at the tight jeans and big hair, but I wasn’t seeing that the first time I saw it. I saw a guy all over the place. He’s getting hurt. He’s a little bit sweaty and gritty. That’s the reason I did this movie. I’m doing the … angry dance.”
Brewer is anything but angry about the opportunity to direct the remake of a film he adored as a 13-year-old kid. As such, with the exception of setting this musical drama in modern times and orphaning his protagonist Ren MacCormack (Kenny Wormald), Brewer’s “Footloose” will honor the plot of screenwriter Dean Pitchford’s original: A city boy moves to a small Southern town that has outlawed dancing in the wake of a tragedy.
Even the music from the original will be heavily integrated into the remake. Expect to hear renditions — or maybe even exact copies — of Kenny Loggins’ theme song and Deniece Williams’ “Let’s Hear It for the Boy.”
For the remainder of the soundtrack, Brewer is still choosing from a wide swath of submissions from all kinds of musical artists. There will be a new interpretation of Shalamar’s “Dancing in the Sheets” from Brewer’s rapper friend David Banner, and possibly a new version of the love song “Almost Paradise,” first performed by Mike Reno and Ann Wilson.
“The great thing about the original is the music always spoke to the character, even if it’s in a popcorn basic way, it served the story, not the other way around,” says Brewer.
But is the storyline — about a town that legally prohibits dancing — too quaint and old-fashioned for today’s world? Brewer doesn’t think so. “It’s not inconceivable to turn on CNN and see some horrible wreck that involved high school seniors after a dance. It happens every year. If I was a parent at that school, and they issued a bunch of rules, I, unfortunately, see myself falling right in line with it.”