The development of Paramount Picture's "Footloose" remake is becoming a movie unto itself.
Originally set up as a full fledged musical reboot starring Zac Efron, the studio and director Kenny Ortega ("High School Musical") were unable to come up with a tone they could both agree on. Efron, who never seemed that into the project in the first place, dropped the film a few weeks before his comedy "17 Again" showed he was more than just a song and dance man at the box office. That found the similarly tween demo friendly Chace Crawford jumping on board to fill the role Kevin Bacon made famous in the 1984 classic. Even when Ortega left citing a need for rest after editing "MIchael Jackson's This Is It" things seemed pretty set when "Dancing with the Stars'" Julianne Hough was cast as Crawford's love interest. But not so fast.
Just when Paramount has a script they finally liked from "Hustle & Flow's" Craig Brewer, EW broke this afternoon that Crawford has dropped out of the project. Why, is still unclear. Now, the studio appears to be ready to move forward with an unknown playing the Bacon role and Hough still in the fold.
More intriguingly, Variety is now reporting that Brewer, who also helmed the eyebrow-raising "Black Snake Moan," has also agreed to direct his "Footloose" screenplay. This is somewhat surprising since Brewer was suppossedly locked into the action-comedy "Mother Trucker" for New Regency. Instead, Brewer is shifting gears and will bring an edgier and more realistic tone to what has returned to an almost purely dramatic remake.
Production on the new "Footlose" should begin sometime this summer.