Friday, August 14, 2009

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Casting Coup: Footloose

Maybe it's because I flove Kevin Bacon. Maybe it's because I did the show twice -- once in sixth grade, then again my senior year of high school. Maybe it's because I just really dig the music.

The fact is, the prospect of a Footloose remake had me excited. Zac Efron, who I admire and respect as a talented singer and charismatic actor (those who say differently: quit hating on the popular kids -- it's sad), was cast as Ren, and surely if anyone could take the reigns from Mr. Bacon, it was Troy Bolton. Kenny Ortega, who co-choreographed my second favorite movie-musical Xanadu, would be directing and choreographing. And it was to be a musical, which meant we would actually get the film version of the stage show, notable for making Ren's mom and the Reverend's wife into actual characters.

Then Zefron dropped out. And then it was announced that the songs would all be original, so this would not be a stage-to-screen adaptation. And I got sad.

I hadn't heard anything about it for a while, so I looked it up today. And realized that I really need to pay attention to all movie news. I had no idea the role of Ren was recast in May. Nor did I know that the role of Ariel, the love interest, had been cast in June. I could kick myself for being so out of the loop. Any later and I'd be Juno.


Who is He: The new kid in town who wants to dance...BUT DANCING'S A CRIME! In the musical version, he raps the law out of the legislature. Which is an interesting choice.

Originally played by: Golden Globe Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (The River Wild), SAG Award Winner for Best Ensemble (Apollo 13)

Kevin Bacon (Frost/Nixon, Mystic River)
Dance, Kev, dance!

Now played by:

Chace Crawford (TV's Gossip Girl, The Covenant)
We like Chace here at the SSR. But we also can't help but notice that he looks more or less like a taller Zac Efron. Playing it safe. Playing it pretty. I know he's a little older, but wouldn't Robert Hoffman be fun in this part? Hold that thought....

Who is She: The reverend's daughter. She's also a rebel! Look out for Miss Hot Pants, she's a live wire!

Originally played by: Golden Globe Winner for Best Ensemble (Short Cuts)

Lori Singer (The Falcon and the Snowman, Trouble in Mind)

Now played by:

Julianne Hough (TV's Dancing with the Stars)
Yes, so far Hough is best-known as one of the female dance partners on Dancing with the Stars. Don't worry, she's taking acting classes.

The film is slated for release June 10, 2010. And only two of the principals are cast. You know what's about to happen, right?

That's right. It's a dream cast for Footloose! CASTING COUP...ASSEMBLE!

Who is He: Oh, just the town bully. A roughneck among rednecks. Dates Ariel, but apparently he's all abusive. And stuff. In the MUSICAL (which they should totally do), he sings "The Girl Gets Around". You know the song?

"The girl gets around
She knows what she likes
I got what she needs
Just wait 'til tonight
We'll both make our move
Yeah, we'll cover some ground
The girl gets around, around, around, around, around, around
Good GOD, this girl gets around!"

Sex, sex, sex. My parents were right. My generation is definitely the more overtly sexual.

Originally played by:

Jim Youngs

My Choice:

Robert Hoffman (Step Up 2 the Streets, She's the Man)
Yes, he's almost thirty, but that doesn't stop Eric Christian Olsen from playing high schoolers. Come on. You know you want to see this. You're thinking..."YES! YES YES YES! YES YES YESYESYES! YES YES YES! YES! YES YES YES!"

Who is She: Ren's mother. That's all she is in the film. In the MUSICAL (man, I hope they decide to do that), she gets a duet with Vi about how she wants to speak her mind.

Originally played by: Frances Lee McCain

My Choice: Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress (L.A. Confidential), BAFTA Award Nominee for Best Actress (L.A. Confidential), Golden Globe Winner for Best Supporting Actress (L.A. Confidential), SAG Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress (L.A. Confidential)

Kim Basinger (Batman, The Informers)
Okay, so this is funny. While browsing through movie news, I saw on IMDb's Footloose page the news item: "Basinger to play Zac Efron's Mom". And I thought to myself, "Curious." As it turns out, it's a different movie altogether, and is on IMDb's Footloose page because it mentions how Zac dropped out of the musical to do this movie, I think. Anyway, The idea of Basinger in this role just wouldn't leave me, and after discovering that she does, in fact, have a beautiful voice, I went with it. Much to my surprise. I'm not a huge Basinger fan, but somet hings just feel right. This is one of those times.

Who is She: Ariel's best friend. Loves the a-rhythmic Willard. Also sings a number of songs at random: "Somebody's Eyes", "Let's Hear It for the Boy", "Holding Out for a Hero". You know, the good stuff.

Originally played by: Golden Globe Nominee for Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy (The Family Stone)

Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City, Girls Just Want to Have Fun)

My Choice: SAG Award Nominee for Best Ensemble (Bobby)

Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Sky High, Live Free or Die Hard)
Oh, man, I don't even know if she can sing. Maybe this wasn't the best choice. Except that she's really, really hot. And a good actress. Could she be too pretty? Maybe if they gave her glasses. That's movie shorthand for not pretty. Okay, I just looked it up -- she did Broadway musicals. She's in.

Who is He: Ren's friend in town, a guy who can't dance and appears to be reluctantly enamored of Rusty. He does love his Mama, though. At least, in the MUSICAL (hey, that'd be a good film, too!).

Originally played by: Golden Globe Winner for Best Ensemble (Short Cuts)

Chris Penn (Rush Hour, Corky Romano)

My Choice:

Chris Warren, Jr. (High School Musical 3: Senior Year, Love & Basketball)
Young, talented, and has yet to make a name for himself outside of the High School Musical series. And true, maybe playing a supporting role in a high school-set musical starring Zefron's older brother isn't the way to go. But, uh, still. You know.

Who is She: The reverend's much put-upon wife. She is the heart and conscious of the story, leading both daughter and husband to the correct path when they veer too far off. Best damn role in the movie, really. The one in the MUSICAL WHICH THEY SHOULD DO ain't shabby either.

Originally played by: Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress (Hannah and Her Sisters, Bullets Over Broadway), BAFTA Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actres (Radio Days), Golden Globe Winner for Best Supporting Actress (Bullets Over Broadway), SAG Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress (Bullets Over Broadway) and Best Ensemble (The Birdcage)

Dianne Wiest (Synecdoche, New York, Dan in Real Life)
Sometimes, I think I should've given Samantha Morton's spot at this year's Hollmann Awards to Dianne Wiest. But is that just, or just fanboyosity? Morton was pretty B.A. in that movie, after all.

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee for Best Actress (Transamerica), Golden Globe Winner for Best Actress in a Drama (Transamerica), SAG Award Nominee for Best Actress (Transamerica)

Felicity Huffman (Hackers, Magnolia)
Hardest role to cast, really. I wanted someone who could sing, though Vi only has one song, and it's not the most difficult piece in the world. I also wanted someone who could conceivably give birth to Julianne Hough. I went through many: Michelle Pfeiffer (too pretty), Patricia Clarkson (too sexy), Allison Janney (don't like her voice), Hope Davis (can she sing?), Embeth Davidtz (can she sing?). Last night, I went to bed thinking maybe Felicity could do it. But then this morning I thought maybe Marcia Gay Harden could do it, too. I submitted the problem to my roommate -- who, strangely enough, also suggested Michelle Pfeiffer and Embeth Davidtz, before I explained I had two finalists -- and we decided. It must be Felicity Huffman, who is pretty, but could convincingly play a small-town preacher's wife. Also, she sang back-up for Tina Turner once.

Who is He: Oh, the town may have a mayor (actually...does it?), but we know who's really in charge. Shaken by the death of his son, Shaw goes on a religious crusade, banning dance and secular music. In the MUSICAL, he gets most of the original songs, huge monologues set to music. I know: most solos are just that. But I mean...they really sound like a guy droning on while music plays. On the original cast album, at least. In both productions I was in, the reverend was perfect.

Originally played by: Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (The World According to Garp, Terms of Endearment)

John Lithgow (Confessions of a Shopaholic, Harry and the Hendersons)
And much as I would love to see him reprise this role, it being a rare, restrained performance, I sha'n't pollute this version with visions of the past.

My Choice: Academy Award Winner for Best Actor (American Beauty) and Best Supporting Actor (The Usual Suspects), BAFTA Award Winner for Best Actor (American Beauty), Golden Globe Nominee for Best Actor in a Drama (American Beauty, The Shipping News), Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy (Beyond the Sea) and Best Supporting Actor (The Usual Suspects), SAG Award Winner for Best Actor (American Beauty) and Best Ensemble (American Beauty)

Kevin Spacey (Moon, L.A. Confidential)
Phenomenal actor. He can sing, he can do accents, he's a class act. Not even the great Maggie Smith has won every Oscar she's been nominated for. Kevin Spacey? Walk in the park.


Oh, if only they would get that cast to join Chace and Julianne. That's a movie I'd see in theaters twice. If it was the MUSICAL, I mean.

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