It only made sense to actors Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough that, if they were going to promote a movie like their remake of "Footloose," they had to kick up their heels and travel the country to tell everybody about it in person.
After all, the original still has a deep meaning to fans more than 27 years after its release.
"All of the screenings we've been going to, all the fans have been saying that they were a little leery of watching a remake of 'Footloose' because they loved the original so, but yet they still get something out of it," Wormald said in a recent interview. "They revisit the old emotions but they're getting some new stuff, so they've told us that we've changed their mind. That's why we traveled with this and have been showing it, so we can change everyone's minds."
Wormald, Hough Bring Impressive Dance Backgrounds To Film
Hough said that she, Wormald and director Craig Brewer braced themselves for the reactions with the first couple of tour stops, but eventually settled in because they're very confident in the film. (The trio hit several cities including Phoenix, Minneapolis, Detroit, Philadelphia and Boston).
"We are so proud of the film and how much justice we did to the original," Hough said. "There's pressure because it is a remake, but there's not pressure because everybody is expecting it to fail. So when people go into the film expecting that it comes out even better."
The original "Footloose" was released in 1984 and of course, made a superstar out of actor Kevin Bacon and starred the likes of Lori Singer, John Lithgow and Dianne Wiest. The new version, opening in theaters Oct. 14, is once again set in the fiction southern town of Bomont, which is reeling from the deaths of a group of high schoolers in a car crash following a party. As a result, a curfew was imposed
"I think this version really made Ariel's story much more poignant," said Hough, who's also found success as a country music artist. "I feel like you understand more in this version why she's being the rebellious kid she's being and acting out against her dad. You feel for her more in this version. I think a lot of people are thinking that this is going to be the Broadway musical version of 'Footloose' and I was hired for my dancing and singing, but that's not the case at all."
"The new version is just like the original with dancing in it, but the fact able to focus on the acting and push the limits with character was a perfect fit for me," Hough added.
While both are thrilled to be a bit part of the "Footloose" remake, Wormald and Hough said they're not interested in becoming a part of director Kenny Ortega's planned remake of "Dirty Dancing" -- even though both have a leg up, so to speak, on the competition.
by the town's council and the town's preacher, the Rev. Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid) who lost his only son in the crash. Also, in a move to prevent more tragedy, the town also votes to outlaw dancing and rock music.
Wormald assumes the Bacon role of Ren McCormack in the remake, a rebellious transplant from Boston who comes to live with his uncle (Ray McKinnon) and aunt (Kim Dickens) following the death of his mother. Almost immediately breaking all the rules set by the town after the tragedy of three years earlier, Ren attracts the attention of Moore's daughter Ariel (Hough), who has been acting out against her over protective father since the death of her brother.
No matter what the expectations are for fans of the 1984 version, one thing for certain is that Wormald and Hough are no doubt qualified in the dancing department. Both professional dancers, Wormald has toured with the likes of Justin Timberlake and did some footwork in "Center Stage: Turn It Up"; and Hough appeared on three seasons of "Dancing with the Stars" from 2007-2009, and had a supporting role in "Burlesque."
Despite being relatively new to the film world, Wormald said perhaps the greatest pressure doing the remake actually rested on the shoulders of Brewer ("Hustle & Flow"), who also wrote the screenplay.
"The daunting process for me was the audition," Wormald recalled. "Once I booked it I was like, 'Cool, let's do this.' Since Craig re-wrote the script, it felt like we were making a new movie. It didn't feel like we were making something I had already seen before. There wasn't so much pressure making it as there is now, with doing interviews and meeting people, and having them saying, 'This better be good.'"
Naturally there are notable differences between the old and new "Footloose," and among them is more depth for Ariel, played in the original by Singer.
Julianne Hough and Kenny Wormald in "Footloose."
Photo: Paramount Pictures
"I'm looking forward to doing more roles, just not in the musical department. I'm actually attached now to a film called 'Someone in the Dark' and there's no dancing involved at all,'" Wormald said with a laugh. "That doesn't mean I'm going to stray away from dance. I'm always going to dance. Right now, I definitely want to show the world and Julianne and I aren't just dance kids."
Besides, Hough added, she just completed filming the plum role of Sherrie Christian in the big-screen adaptation of the Broadway musical "Rock of Ages" opposite Tom Cruise, and is ready to give her feet a rest.
"Since I just did 'Rock of Ages,' 'Footloose' and before that 'Burlesque,' I just think I'm going to try to focus on some more dramatic roles and try to venture out a little bit," Hough said.