More physical choreography in 'Footloose' remake clashes with fans' expectations

More physical choreography in 'Footloose' remake clashes with fans' expectations

October 14th, 2011 by Casey Phillips in Life Entertainment

New, more physical choreography in 'Footloose' remake clashes with fans' expectations.

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

CAST AND THE RECAST

[1984 first, 2011 second]

• Ren McCormack: Kevin Bacon, Kenny Wormald

• Ariel Moore: Lori Singer, Julianne Hough

• Rev. Shaw Moore: John Lithgow, Dennis Quaid

• Vi Moore: Diane Wiest, Andie MacDowell

• Willard Hewitt: Chris Penn, Miles Teller

• Wes Warnicker: Arthur Rosenberg, Ray McKinnon

• Rusty: Sarah Jessica Parker, Ziah Colon

• Chuck Cranston: Jim Youngs, Patrick John Flueger


SIX DEGREES OF KEVIN BACON

Movie fans suggest any actor can be linked to "Footloose" star Kevin Bacon through six or fewer roles. Based on "Six Degrees" iPhone app, here are the ties between Bacon and some of the cast members of the "Footloose" remake:

• Julianne Hough acted in "Burlesque" with Katerina Mikailenko, who acted in "Crazy, Stupid, Love" with Bacon.

• Andie MacDowell acted with Bacon in "Beauty Shop."

• Ray McKinnon acted with Bacon in "Apollo 13."

• Dennis Quaid acted in "Something To Talk About" with Kyra Sedgwick, who is married to Bacon.

• Patrick John Flueger acted in "The Princess Diaries" with Tracy Reiner, who acted in "Apollo 13" with Bacon.


'FOOTLOOSE' THEN AND NOW

1984 SOUNDTRACK

• "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins

• "Let's Hear It for the Boy" by Deniece Williams

• "Never" by Moving Pictures

• "I'm Free" by Kenny Loggins

• "The Girl Gets Around" by Sammy Hagar

• "Holding Out for a Hero" by Bonnie Tyler

• "Somebody's Eyes" by Karla Bonoff

• "Bang Your Head (Metal Health)" by Quiet Riot

• "Waiting for a Girl Like You" by Foreigner

• "Hurts So Good" by John Cougar Mellencamp

• "Almost Paradise" by Mike Reno and Ann Wilson


2011 SOUNDTRACK

• "Footloose" by Blake Shelton

• "Where The River Goes" by Zac Brown

• "Little Lovin' " by Lissie

• "Holding Out for a Hero" by Ella Mae Bowen

• "Let's Hear It for the Boy" by Jana Kramer

• "So Sorry Mama" by Whitney Duncan

• "Fake I.D." Big N' Rich

• "Almost Paradise" by Victoria Justice and Hunter Hayes

• "Walkin' Blues" by Cee Lo Green featuring Kenny Wayne Shepherd

• "Window Paine" by The Smashing Pumpkins

• "Suicide Eyes" by A Thousand Horses

• "Dance the Night Away" by David Banner

Local fans of "Footloose" said changing such an iconic film is just as blasphemous to them as dancing was to the town of Bomont's conservative reverend.

"I'm not going, in protest," said Merrile Stroud, 46, of the "Footloose" remake, which hits theaters today.

Stroud saw the original film during its 1984 theatrical run. Now, three of her four daughters, ages 12 to 20, have expressed interest in seeing the remake, but Stroud said the changes she's seen in trailers leave a bad taste in her mouth.

"The dancing then was so much more wholesome [in the original]," she said. "Now, it's so sexual that it's just inappropriate.

"I feel like my girls are being raised in a culture that is overtly sexual anyway, and to take what could have been a fun movie celebrating dancing and to distort it doesn't surprise me, but it makes me go, 'Seriously?' "

"Footloose" tells the story of how the teens of a small, conventional community rally behind defiant outsider Ren McCormack to oppose a law banning music and dancing.

Donning Ren's skinny tie helped launch the career of Kevin Bacon, who was a relative Hollywood unknown in 1984. For the remake, director Craig Brewer ("Black Snake Moan," "Hustle & Flow") turned to another professional dancer and acting novice Kenny Wormald to fill the role.

Based on production notes made available through Paramount Pictures, there are many other parallels between the original and the remake. Fans will recognize familiar elements such as McCormack's yellow Volkswagen Beetle and the cowboy boots worn by Julianne Hough, who reprises Lori Singer's role as rebellious preacher's daughter Ariel Moore.

Those similarities are an intentional homage to a film Brewer said he was influenced by as a teen, according to quotes in the production notes.

"When I was 13, 'Footloose' had a profound effect on me and completely rocked my dome," said Brewer, 40. "I felt that it was truly a story that could be told today and still be relevant, entertaining and essentially still 'Footloose.' "

While there are nods to fans, the production crew said the new film is not a rehash.

The soundtrack features a few re-recorded songs, including the iconic title track by Kenny Loggins, as well as a number of new tracks by artists such as Gnarls Barkley founder Cee Lo Green.

The plot has also been tweaked. The film opens with a fatal car crash that kills several teens, an event mentioned in the 1984 original but never shown on camera.

Hough, a two-time "Dancing With the Stars" champion, said this somber start helped shape her approach to her role.

"Audiences will see more of Ariel's vulnerable side and why she acts out instead of just portraying her as someone you don't want your son hanging out with," Hough said, in the notes.

The modernization also features completely new choreography, a change that angered local fans the most.

"They're trying to make it more up-to-date with the hip-hop style," said Natalie Honkonen, 25, who is training to be a ballroom instructor.

"It's going to be a lot of booty popping and dancing on top of each other," Honkonen continued. "It's taking a classic and ruining it. Classics should be left alone."

Nina Jones Chapin, 55, was cast as a background dancer in the remake. Earlier this year, she traveled to Cowboys, a bar in Marietta, Ga., for three days of shooting for a line-dancing scene. Line dancing was not featured in the 1984 film, but it will be the highlight of the remake, Chapin said, adding that the film offers its own take on the style.

"It's line dancing with a twist," she said. "It's nasty dancing. It's bump-and-grind. It's sexy dancing."

Local dance instructors said that, while a more physical style of dancing might clash with expectations of "Footloose" fans, the choreography accurately reflects how teens dance today.

Laurel Zahrobsky, 39, is a dance educator at Girls Preparatory School. If anything, she said, the footage in trailers looks somewhat subdued from how she has seen teens dance.

"I think it's downplayed, actually," Zahrobsky said. "Dancing in the '80s seemed to express more individual creativity, whereas today's dances seem more sexualized."

As a fan of the original "Footloose," Zahrobsky wasn't pleased by the idea of it being remade. She said she still will see the film, if only to use its choreography as a teaching tool.

"I can use it ... to bring up conversation as to, 'Is this appropriate or not?' with my students," Zahrobsky said. "I think it can foster some really good discussion, especially with young women today."

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