Hollywood is cashing in on your memories. At some point, every movie you once loved, no matter how iconic or hallowed, will be repackaged and pushed into the marketplace as something different, something new. So like it or not, you’d best kick off your Sunday shoes, ‘cause “Footloose” is back in theaters, starting Friday.
Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough have heard it all before, and you’ll pardon them if they disagree.
Wormald, a Boston native who began dance training as a 6-year-old after his mother caught him mimicking the New Kids on the Block, says he saw the 1984 original “about 50 times,” and has no interest in disrespecting its memory.
Now 27 — or, if you’re keeping score, one year older than Kevin Bacon when he played the same part many moons ago — Wormald stars in Craig Brewer’s “Footloose” remake as Ren McCormack, the city slicker who relocates to a repressed red state and quickly runs afoul of one small town’s prohibition against dancing.
Hough, the blond, blue-eyed Salt Lake City native who, every day on her way to school, used to pass the roller mills where Bacon first performed his now-famous “angry dance,” plays Ariel, his fleet-footed flame and the daughter of the preacher man (Dennis Quaid) most responsible for the ban on teenage exuberance.
Neither seems fazed by skeptics who question the need for another “Footloose” — haters gonna hate, after all — nor do they seem particularly concerned about tarnishing the legacy of an admittedly campy classic. If anything, they want to introduce a new generation to the story that once inspired them to dance, and they make no apologies for it.
“I’ve gone into remakes of movies that I loved and I’ve been so disappointed,” admits Hough, 23, who has appeared on two seasons of TV’s “Dancing With the Stars.” “Are we biased because we made the film? Sure. But we’ve seen the crowd reactions — people are laughing in all the right spots, clapping along, dancing in their seats. Their minds are being changed because they’re giving it a shot.”
“The original writer, Dean Pitchford, he saw the film and cried afterward,” adds Wormald, a veteran of TV’s “Dancelife” who says he didn’t seek Bacon’s blessing, though the 53-year-old star happily gave it to Brewer.
“If [Pitchford] loved it, that’s the only critic that matters in my mind. And for the 12- and 13-year-olds who’ve never heard of ‘Footloose,’ we get to be their first Ren and Ariel. That’s pretty cool.”
IF YOU GO
Starring Julianne Hough, Kenny Wormald, Dennis Quaid, Andy MacDowell, Miles Teller
Written by Dean Pitchford, Craig Brewer
Directed by Craig Brewer
Running time 1 hour 53 minutes