When Footloose opened in movie theaters in 1984, it became an instant dance classic. Kevin Bacon played Ren McCormack—a city kid who moves to a small town and fights for his right to dance while falling in love with the preacher’s daughter.
Now, nearly three decades later, Footloose is back! Kenny Wormald, a familiar face from Center Stage: Turn It Up and MTV’s “Dancelife” (you probably also know him as a faculty member with JUMP), has taken over the part of Ren, and this time around his love interest is Julianne Hough of “Dancing with the Stars” and Burlesque fame. With choreography by Jamal Sims (is there anything this multitalented guy can’t do?) and Dondraico Johnson, plus a dancer-packed cast, this remake is sure to make a splash. But can it live up to the original? DS scored some time with rising star (and serious cutie) Kenny Wormald to get the full scoop on the flick. —Alison Feller
Dance Spirit: How’d you get the leading role in Footloose?
Kenny Wormald: My acting agent called me about going to a general casting call audition for Ren. I knew the remake was happening, but I’d heard rumors about Zac Efron and then Chace Crawford being the lead. So when I found out they were opening casting to “unknown” actors, I was pumped. The casting director saw on my resumé that I danced for Justin Timberlake—and she contacted Justin after my audition to ask about me! The ball kept rolling from there: I auditioned a few more times, did a film test at Paramount Studios and made it down to the final cut with one other actor. I was golfing with a few friends when I got the call saying I had booked the job. I’ll never forget that moment. I went crazy and threw my golf club!
DS: Had you seen the original version of the film?
KW: Of course! Throughout my childhood I watched the movie many times. That scene with Kevin Bacon dancing through the warehouse…it’s iconic. It’s a powerful dance moment.
DS: How is the remake different from the 1984 movie?
KW: The culture is current and the music is relevant. We didn’t try to go back and repeat the ’80s. But we did stay true to the feel of the original, so if you liked that version you’ll get to revisit those emotions this time around. The team found a good balance between sticking with the original concept and adding elements from today.
DS: What are you most excited about?
KW: I’m excited to share the movie with the world! We’ve worked so hard for so long and have been anxiously awaiting the release. I’m excited to create a new generation of Footloose fans.
DS: Why should DS readers go see the film?
KW: It’s a new dance classic. This film will teach you to fight for what you believe in. Plus, they didn’t go and cast an actor who can’t dance—I hold it down for the dancers!
Photos top to bottom: Movie poster, Courtesy Paramount Pictures Corporation; Kenny Wormald, Courtesy Paramount Pictures Corporation; Kenny (right) dancing in the film, Courtesy Paramount Pictures Corporation