Updating a classic can be treacherous, like building a strip mall on hallowed ground; but director Craig Brewer ("Hustle & Flow") avoided the dreaded "High School Musical" route for his remake of "Footloose."
Fans will be relieved to hear that two of the original songs made the cut. Some other adjustments include having four very different dance sequences, and demolition derby buses instead of tractors. Brewer also anchored the script by fleshing out a backstory in which five Bomont teens were tragically killed after a night of dancing and loud music.
But the best upgrade to "Footloose" is the casting of professional dancers in the two lead roles. Everybody loves '80s dance movies, but come on, back then it was super-obvious whenever they swapped Kevin Bacon or Jennifer Beals with their wig-wearing dance doubles.
Also Check Out: "Footloose" Then and Now
The film, opening this Friday, is already catching some major buzz. Let's take a closer look at the new cast.
Role Originated by: Kevin Bacon
Where You’ve Seen Him: "Center Stage: Turn It Up," MTV’s "Dancelife," dancing in videos for Madonna, Christina Aguilera and Mariah Carey
Wormald as Ren McCormack: You can thank Justin Timberlake for this one. The music superstar recommended Wormald to his "Black Snake Moan" director after Wormald danced in Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveShow tour in 2007. Since "Footloose" catapulted the career of Kevin Bacon in 1984 -- the same year Wormald was born -- Brewer always felt that the role of Ren should go to a newcomer. Wormald already had a thick Massachusetts accent, so Brewer simply swapped Ren’s hometown from Chicago to Boston. Expect to see Wormald (and his sinuous athletic body) kill it in the "angry dance" warehouse scene.
Role Originated by: Lori Singer
Where You’ve Seen Her: ABC’s "Dancing With the Stars," "Burlesque"
Hough as Ariel Moore: This triple threat beat out Hayden Panettiere, Miley Cyrus and Amanda Bynes to fill Ariel’s red cowboy boots. Hough (pronounced "Huff") came from a religious Southern family, so she could easily relate to the wild and rebellious preacher’s daughter. Her Ariel is more vulnerable than ever, especially in those daddy-daughter scenes. Frankly, Hough doesn't have too tough a job replacing Lori Singer, who was known at the time as little more than the poor man’s Daryl Hannah.
Role Originated by: Chris Penn
Where You’ve Seen Him: "Rabbit Hole"
Teller as Willard: Last year, Teller wowed critics with his feature debut opposite Nicole Kidman in "Rabbit Hole." Teller steals many a scene as Willard, Ren’s country friend who learns to dance, and audiences in preview screenings have responded strongly to his sweet and funny portrayal. Interestingly enough, this is not Teller’s first crack at the endearing role played so memorably by the late Chris Penn. During his sophomore year, Teller made his acting debut as Willard in a high school production.
Role Originated by: Sarah Jessica Parker
Where You’ve Seen Her: "Road Trip: Beer Pong," Lifetime's "Army Wives," "Drop Dead Diva"
Colon as Rusty: In her largest role to date, Colon is all sassy smiles and curly locks as Ariel’s best friend, not unlike SJP from the first film. But her being of Puerto Rican descent helps inject some much-needed diversity into the all-white original cast. Expect Colon’s Rusty to be a lot smarter, tougher, and more kick ass this time, while still looking adorable saying lines like, "sexier than socks on a rooster."
Role Originated by: No one
Where You’ve Seen Him: ABC Family’s "Jane by Design," "All My Children"
Blain as Woody: The part of Woody did not exist in the previous "Footloose," but Brewer decided that Ren and Willard needed another dude friend to complete the bro-triangle. So instead of the odd couple from the first film, you have a small posse of three friends who navigate the krunk dancing scene in Bomont, teach Willard to dance and help Ren make his own personal prom a success. Blain is an actor/model/singer enjoying his biggest breakthrough role to date.