MTV gleefully revealed on Tuesday the first trailer for their I-can’t-believe-this-is-actually-happening remake of Footloose, due to hit theaters October 14. Some of you may remember the early development of this remake of the bizarrely-watchable 1984 original, which was to have had Zac Efron in Kevin Bacon’s dancing shoes and his High School Musical director Kenny Ortega at the helm. Ultimately, Efron left to make a name for himself as a more serious actor (how’s that working out?) and replacement Chace Crawford of Gossip Girl soon left himself.
Now, with Hustle & Flow director Craig Brewer running the show and dancers Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough, the latter of Dancing with the Stars fame, as big-city kid Ren and his preacher’s-daughter squeeze Ariel, it looks like a new generation is about to be cutting Footloose.
And the weirdest thing about the trailer, other than Dennis Quaid’s decidedly subtler performance as antagonistic preacher Shaw Moore (not a patch on John Lithgow’s delightful, scenery-chewing turn in the original), is how wildly faithful everything is in this remake. Sure, it’s 2011 and the kids have got to pop and lock rather than jam out to some Kenny Loggins tunes (what? I’m sure it happens…somewhere). But a couple of the scenes in the preview are nearly shot-for-shot homages to the original. And look at the subtle details. The yellow VW Beetle. Ren’s leather jacket and tie as he enters high school. Ariel’s “Dance Your Ass Off” t-shirt. Brewer and company must be major Footloose fans to throw those kind of callbacks out there. Even the original film’s title card has been reused, this time in the style of a neon bar sign.
It seems unusually intriguing that MTV, which co-produces of the film, seems to be catering to both the generation that bought nine million copies of the original film’s soundtrack and the ragtag group of modern teenagers who are barely old enough to remember the silly Broadway musical adaptation more than a decade ago. If the soundtrack manages to wrangle some covers of the original songs in the film, I may have to catch this one when it opens.