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FOOTLOOSE

The Cast Of Footloose
The original "Footloose” catapulted the career of Kevin Bacon who, at the time, was little known to audiences. "When casting beyond established actors, audiences get to identify with a character without the baggage and burden that stardom brings to it,” says Brewer.

Brewer first heard about Kenny Wormald from musical superstar Justin Timberlake, who appeared in Brewer's last film, "Black Snake Moan.” A friend and former back-up dancer for Timberlake, Wormald has had great success in the dance world and was waiting for the right opportunity to make the transition into acting. The role of Ren MacCormack had the unique opportunity to utilize his great talent as a dancer and provide an ideal introduction as an actor.

The magnitude of this opportunity was not lost on Wormald. The moment he learned that he landed the much coveted role is something he'll remember for a lifetime. "I was golfing with my friends when I got the call and I screamed, tossed my golf clubs and went ballistic. I knew right then I had an amazing opportunity to not only dance, but to work with an amazing company of actors.”

"Finding a terrific actor who was also an amazing dancer was one of those miracle things, and Kenny has given us an incredibly new and exciting interpretation of Ren,” says Brewer.

Being aware of the inevitable comparisons with the original Ren, Wormald knew he had to approach the character differently and truly make it his own. "I wanted to put my own twist on the character. I am definitely honored and humbled by this opportunity, but I wanted to make my own mark as well.”

Brewer recognized something about Wormald during the casting process that would truly make the character his own. "I noticed that there was something a little off and finally realized that Kenny was trying to hide his Boston accent. I said to him, ‘You know what? I really want you to be yourself,' so we scratched out that Ren was from Chicago and made it Boston. From that moment, we really started seeing his character come to life.”

Triple threat actor/singer/dancer Julianne Hough, a two-time Dancing with the Stars champion was fully committed to the role of the rebellious preacher's daughter Ariel from the start. After Brewer came on board, he met with Hough to explore whether or not she fit into his vision of the movie and flew to Nashville to meet with her.

"I wanted to find out why she wanted to play Ariel. I thought she had wanted to do it because she is a dancer but, after meeting her and hearing about her life, I saw that she really understood Ariel. Julianne is mature well beyond her years and I was incredibly impressed by her.”

Recalls Hough, "I had to fight for the role, but there was absolutely no way I was not doing this movie.”

Although the role offered the opportunity to utilize her known talent as a dancer, Hough felt she truly understood Ariel's challenges and why she acted out the way she did. "For me, growing up in a religious family with lots of brothers and sisters, I definitely had to fight for attention in many of the same ways that Ariel does and could completely relate. In Craig's film, 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.”

Producer Craig Zadan was excited to give audiences the opportunity to discover Hough as an actress while satisfying their desire to see her dance. "We really lucked out to get a new actress who's really talented and can deliver those heavy scenes in the same package as a famous dancer. When you put together her abilities as an actor with her incredible talent in dance, it's truly overwhelming.”

Brewer was truly impressed with Hough's ability to handle the depth and complexities of the emotionally charged scenes. "There are some scenes where she really has to bare her soul. Ariel is a complicated character and is rebelling because of her pain, so while she has to be the sexy wild child, audiences need to see a crack in her facade. Julianne worked every scene and really swung for the fences.”

Bringing out the complexities of the strained relationship between Ariel and her father was another big priority for Brewer. "To me, the conflict between Ariel and her father is one of the greatest narratives in eighties movie history,” he explains. "I can remember the audible gasp in the theater when Ariel blurted out in church to Reverend Shaw that she wasn't a virgin. It was like a thunderclap in the theater. That storyline was one of the reasons I really wanted to make "Footloose”.”

For the role of Reverend Shaw, the community preacher leading the charge on Bomont's long list of restrictions and ordinances, the filmmakers knew they needed to find an actor who could find the delicate balance between loving and concerned father and overbearing town leader. They found their Shaw in prolific actor Dennis Quaid and were elated by his willingness and passion for the role.

"Dennis is someone I've always wanted to work with,” says Brewer. "When we first met, we talked a lot about faith and shared the same respect for religion because of how we were raised. He really had an understanding of the role and storyline from the perspective of a man of faith and as a parent.”

"When we were casting, we didn't want the traditional stereotypical fire and brimstone preacher,” recalls producer Neil Meron. "We wanted someone that was a human being, someone that you'd understand from both sides and Dennis had the capability to do that.”

Quaid signed on after getting a sense of Brewer's take on the film and how it could relate to an entirely new generation. "The reason that I am here is Craig Brewer. He's a really great director. I like working with directors who can write as well because they understand the music of the spoken word.”

Growing up in the Baptist church with a grandfather who was a preacher, Quaid felt as though he wanted to tap into the role with accuracy and with great respect. "I grew up in the culture and my life was preparation, so I understood it. I've never played a preacher before and it was important to me that the performance and the sermons be authentic.”

While working with a legendary actor might intimidate most newcomers, Hough dug deep and bared her soul with the support of her co-star. "To have Dennis call me the real deal and ask if I needed additional takes was amazing. The boost of confidence he gave me and the advice he offered, there is nothing like it. I am so grateful for that and will never forget it.”

"I have a two year old daughter and it's really kind of a preview of some of the discussions I'm going to be having later on in life. Julianne is very authentic, fantastic and she brings it, that's for sure,” says Quaid.

When it came to how to approach the character of Vi, the preacher's wife and mother to Ariel, Brewer wanted to redefine and update his idea of a contemporary preacher's wife. "In the original, the role of the preacher's wife seemed more of a tight reserved Puritanical position that Dianne Wiest did beautifully, but I feel like it's different these days,” explains Brewer. "Preachers' wives now seem less separate from the congregation and this Vi is much more steeped in community and her own family.”

Filmmakers found their perfect Vi in Andie MacDowell who is celebrated for her understated and powerful performances. "Andie is from the south and truly understands where Vi is coming from and is absolutely radiant,” says producer Neil Meron.

"It's an honor for me to be a part of this movie and I think people will r

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