Newcomers Julianne Hough and Kenny Wormald inherit the dancing sneakers of Lori Singer and Kevin Bacon, respectively, in Paramount’s remake of the coming-of-age boogie-woogie classic “Footloose”. Alicia Malone caught up with both of them for a sit-down chat about the surprisingly effective redo.
Okay, so instead of playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon we’re going to play Six Degrees of… well, let’s see how many ways you guys are connected to the original ”Footloose.”
Kenny : We have a bunch of coincidental things..
Julianne : For one, I grew up in Utah where the original was shot. Two, my first dance on Dancing with the Stars was to ‘Let’s Hear it from the Boy’. Three, my brother played Ren on the west end in London. Four, I played Ariel in this like small musical version of Footloose during high school. Five, when I finished my audition I rang up my mother and she was like, ‘Wait, I just have to turn down the radio’, I was like ‘Wait, what was that?’ and she was like ‘Footloose was playing’. She didn’t even know I auditioned for the movie.
Kenny : I actually don’t have anything like that… erm, I actually have nothing; I’ve no connection [Laughs]
Well, then what are your memories of seeing the original film?
Kenny : I grew up with Footloose. I was a dancer, and I use to get teased a lot because of that – especially doing things like ballet – but I’d always come back to school and tell people to watch Footloose. Kevin Bacon is so cool in it; he’s masculine, and he’s the coolest dude on the block.
You actually had a couple of happy accidents that led you to this role?
Kenny : Yeah. I danced with Justin Timberlake and the casting director that casted Social Network casted Footloose. And our director Craig Brewer had worked with Justin on Black Snake Moan. So there was a little triangle there. Anyway they called Justin and he gave his blessing and told them they should keep looking at me for the role [of Ren]. It all worked out.
Is it hard these days to make dancing seem more impressive onscreen. We’ve seen so many dance movies…
Julianne : Yeah, I think that for our generation dancing is so accessible, it’s on TV, it’s on YouTube and it’s even cool for guys to dance now.
Kenny : I wish I’d had that then [Laughs]
Julianne : Now of course people are watching So You Think You Can Dance and [are acting like they’re experts] going, ‘Oh, she just totally missed her split’.
Is it hard to make this one feel fresh when it is a remake?
Kenny : No, cos it’s fresh for us. It was the first time we were doing this. I felt like we were doing our own movie not a mimic or a copy.
Julianne : And then for this generation, who have never seen it, it’s fresh to them.
Was it hard to make that role your own? Were you thinking about Kevin Bacon while doing it?
Kenny : No, I was very aware what Kevin did, and I’d seen the film like fifty times as a kid, and I watched it while I was going through the audition process, but once I booked it I stayed away from it. And I added some things – like the Boston accent – that made my take a little different.
It looks a lot of fun while you’re dancing on screen. How do you describe the feeling when you dance all out?
Julianne : It’s funny, it’s exhilarating, it’s an expression of who you are and what you want to say with your body.
Kenny : It’s hard to explain how exactly it makes you feel but it’s like a release. You forget about the world. And your just totally in that world. The songs are blaring. We had huge speakers on set playing the songs so that all helped.