The Cast of Footloose were never trying to reinvent the wheel, but they knew the challenge of adapting a well liked teen film for a new generation. For stars Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough, they came in as dancer who may not be known for their dramatic chops. For relative newcomers Ziah Colon and Miles Teller it was a chance to step into the mainstream. Whereas for Andie McDowell it was a chance to play a meaty mother role. Our interview with cast follows after the jump.
What do you think of Craig Brewer’s retweeting of people responding good or bad?
Jullianne Hough: I think it’s funny, the best are when people say things like “I can’t believe they’re doing a remake, Patrick Swayze is going to turn in his grave.”
Did you revisit the original?
Kenny Wormald: Seeing it a bunch as a kid we didn’t need to revisit it. I did for the audition, but once we were doing it, we knew it enough to not have to. Craig, who rewrote it had a lot of it in it, but you don’t want to have Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer in your head.
JH: And in this generation there’s a lot of things we’d do now that they wouldn’t do then. Ariel is a little more likeable in this, and not just because of character choices, but because there was more depth in the script.
KW: I think a lot of things Craig adjusted helped me, having Ren’s mom pass away is huge, and Ren’s uncle in this one he embraces him. Craig’s from the south and that’s not who we do it in the south, if you’re family you’re family and we’ll stick up for you.
How long was your audition process?
KW: How long was it really, or how long would they like me to say it was? It was grueling, but it was worth it. Finally when I danced for them five auditions later they got it.
Was it surreal to do the scenes you auditioned with in the final film?
KW Yeah, a couple of the ones we did together were weird, and the speech – that was the biggest part of the auditions. And the day we shot that Craig re-wrote the whole thing. Dude kept me on my toes, and I had to learn it on the way to set.
As professional dancers did you have to tone it down?
KW We had to tone it down, but
JH: Kids nowadays
KW: People are exposed to so much good dancing you could get away with it a little more. I think Ren could be better, but Julianne couldn’t, she couldn’t be pristine, nor the other kids in the town. Craig made it a point to cast to point heavy set girls and skinny scrawny nerdy dudes, he wanted the full spectrum from the town.
Did you know how to dance beforehand?
Miles Teller: Yeah.
Is it harder to pretend to have no rhythm?
MT: I was always tried to be off-rhythm but that didn’t work for me, so I tried to think about how dancer must think when they’re dancing, and that’s very self-conscious, and that was my in. If you’re good you know what bad is. Sometimes when people are bad, they don’t know they’re bad.
How was it taking on these roles?
MT: I hadn’t seen the original, but I had done the play of Footloose, and I played the role of Willard, so for me I have nostalgia associated with the character, so I was nice to come in with a strong understanding of the part. And now I’m much bigger, when I was in high school I was scrawny.
Ziah Colon: It’s intimidating now, but it wasn’t when I got it. Saturday Craig told me I had the roll, Wednesday we were working, so it was straight into work, I didn’t have time to think about anything. And we had so much fun that we didn’t think about it until now.
MT: Recently there’s an awareness of how defensive people are about these characters. As they should be, but hopefully people will love it.
Was there much mixing and matching in the casting?
MT: When I was first involved in it Thomas Dekker was the Ren, he was the first Ren that I tested with. They kept me, and went in another direction. I read with five Rusty’s in LA and they just could not find anybody who was authentic. Brewer felt that none of them were legitimately Southern. So they went down to Atlanta and got some home cooking. (laughs)
What’s your familiarity with the original?
Andie McDowell: I think – like everyone else – I remember it as being groundbreaking in a way, and loads of fun and wild, and now it seems kind of subdued, but I think the new one is more contemporary in our progression and in our society.
Do you like to dance?
AM: I like to dance, and I danced growing up, and my kids dance professionally, I was a dance mom. I love dancing, I don’t know if I’m any good, but I love to dance.
If you were presented with a similar situation, would you respond in the same way?
AM: I think I empathize with the idea that these people have been so damaged, so the reaction is to protect the children, but I do like my character, you have give your kids a chance to be kids. They are going to make mistakes, and you can hide them or shut them up. And you definitely can’t tell them not to dance?
What was the auditioning process like?
AM: Craig wanted me right away. I was very lucky.
How often do you get people asking for projects?
AM: It happens sometimes, I still am willing to audition. I much prefer to be given a job than audition (laughs).
When you found out you got the role, did you watch the original?
AM: I watched it again just for fun, but they didn’t want me to be like Diane (Wiest), they wanted me to be less repressed and more contemporary, a stronger woman, like women would be now.
What was it like working with Kenny (Wormland) and Julianne (Hough)?
AM: I knew Kenny because I carted my daughter around to dance classes, and she had taken his class. And the kids just adore him. And all the little dancers I know were fired up, because they knew him. And I was happy to support Julianne, just be loving and supportive in the church scene. Like a mother would be. And hopefully give her a safe environment to do that role. Both of them were just great kids, hard working well prepared. And Craig was perfect. It was interesting to see how he treated them, it was like watching him orchestrate. When he did the court room scene he was kind to everyone, he made the background people important.
Is that different than some of your previous experiences?
AM: Definitely. I wouldn’t say who, but that doesn’t always happen. They sometimes treat those people like cattle, and that was not the case. Everyone got to feel like participants, and it gave a good feeling, goodwill. Which was important.
Footloose opens October 14. Check it out.