"Footloose" is currently director-less with the withdrawal of the appointed Kenny Ortega from the remake project. The news broke out to the surface only days to the theatrical release of Michael Jackson's "This Is It", in which this "High School Musical" director/choreographer is serving as helmer.
According to Variety, both Ortega and Paramount Picture have confirmed his exit and put "This Is It" as the reason why. The statement released by Ortega's camp read, "Coming off the extraordinary project, Michael Jackson's 'This is It,' director Kenny Ortega has decided it is premature for him to commit to his next film and will not be moving forward with 'Footloose' as previously reported."
In spite of those official words, there is suggestion that Ortega's exit was mostly caused by the differences on tone and budget the filmmaker has with the studio. Variety reported that insiders revealed Ortega wanted an elaborately staged musical with a budget at around $30 million, but Paramount production chief Adam Goodman wanted an edgier drama with a budget less than $25 million.
A remake to the 1984 film of the same name, "Footloose" centers its story on a city kid who moves to a conservative town where his love of rock music disrupts the school and sends the local preacher on a mission to shut him down. "Gossip Girl" star Chace Crawford takes over the leading role initially set for Zac Efron.
"Dancing with the Stars" two-time champion and country singer Julianne Hough joins Crawford in the cast ensemble. Production is expected to start in March 2010 with the aim of June 18, 2010 U.S. release.