Interviewing the Stars of "Footloose"
Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough
Published: Friday, October 7, 2011
Updated: Friday, October 14, 2011 15:10
Boston boy Kenny Wormald returned home after finishing his first major film role in "Footloose", a remake of the Kevin Bacon favorite now directed by Craig Brewer ("Hustle and Flow", "Black Snake Moan"). After a high energy screening with his family in the crowd, Wormald and his female lead Julianne Hough (known for a stint on "Dancing with the Stars" among other notable dance/music credits) sat down with the Voice to discuss remaking a cult classic, how it was working with the highly regarded Brewer, and the difficulties (and the perks) of being into ballet while growing up in Brockton.
Have you met any of the original cast?
Kenny Wormald: Not at all man. It was weird – oddly enough I had a dream I met Kevin Bacon last night. I think it's because I've been getting asked that question a lot.
Julianne Hough: We've been following him! He was in Chicago, we were there. We were in Boston, he's here.
So what was your favorite part of the film to shoot?
KW: The angry dance was how we finished the movie; that was the last three days. I think it was just strategically planned, in case I broke my leg or fell off the car and missed the mat or something, they'd still have the film done. But that's the most iconic scene from the original, and it was just insane to shoot it, a blast.
So how was growing up a dancer in Boston?
KW: You guys have all been here long enough to know it's a ‘tough guy' city, ballet doesn't really have that appeal. But for example, first time I saw "Footloose", I was ten, I was getting made fun of at school – kids calling me ‘sissy' and a bunch of other names I won't say. But I saw Kevin Bacon dancing, and it was masculine, and it was powerful, and it was on film, and it was something I'd never seen before. And I knew Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, but this was a new thing. It inspired me to say ‘screw you, he's doin' it, he looks cool, he's a tough guy he's not a sissy.' So movies like that inspired me to forget what they were saying. When I'm dancing I'm not thinking of getting made fun of.
And the male/female ratio isn't bad at all.
KW: Exactly. "You can go shower with the guys after football, I'll just go dance with, like, 40 girls."
And how does the dancing help your acting?
JH: It's body language; you can just do so much acting without talking. Your eyes, your body language, and we can just be very comfortable with our bodies. We worked with an acting coach before, and he just showed us movies, talked to us. He would show us James Dean running across the street…
KW: His run has three speeds.
JH: And how to fall, things like that. They'd bring people in to fall for us, and we'd just have to be like, "We know how to fall."
Craig Brewer is such an inspired director; and about to become a very well known director.
KW: Craig Brewer is really incredible, and this could have been really bad. But I'm so proud of it.
What did he bring to your performance, to the movie?
KW: Everything. I told him I'd wash his car and babysit his kids, forever. He's incredible. He's in love with "Footloose" so knowing his past work, what he can do, mixed with his love and wanting to be so true and honest to the original, we just knew we were in good hands. We felt so protected. He's an actor's director. He came from this world, he did musical theater, so he knows our side of it as well.
JH: I honestly can't say anything but praise for him. He's so great, and I'm so happy for him that he's getting commercial stuff while still keeping the filmmaker side of him in them.
How was it watching the film with a crowd filled up with a lot of your family?
KW: It was different. Because they know I'm lying, you know what I mean? But all my friends and family said they were watching Ren, not Kenny, so it feels good to hear that. But I was more anxious. I could hear some girl eating chips in the back and I just wanted to turn around and be like "Shhh! My granny's trying to watch this movie!" So it was tough.
"Footloose" is now playing everywhere.