I am a child of the 1980s and watched most of the popular films of the time. Some of them would unfortunately be considered cheesy. 1984’s Footloose, which helped launch Kevin Bacon into stardom, was no exception.
Zac Efron is going to get the chance to fill Bacon’s shoes with a fast-tracked remake of the film. I give him props. He’s young, he’s got girls going nuts over him and he’s likely to bring an audience of High School Musical fans over to see the remake once it hits theaters. The problem, for those of us still tapping to the soundtrack in our MP3 players, is that it was Kevin Bacon’s movie.
Bacon was able to look good and look dirty. Zac Efron just looks good. If they were thinking about casting for the remake, Corbin Bleu would have been a better choice. He can act, sing, and dance circles around Efron and is more of a real person on screen.
But Bleu, being a black man in a franchise largely marketed towards white audiences, wouldn’t fit. If he were to be in the movie it would have to be like the HSM movies: Bleu plays a rather useless character while Efron’s character gets all the glory. For good and even more insulting measure the studio would probably throw in Monique Coleman and put in the equally useless part of Rusty (which Sarah Jessica Parker played in the original).
Another part of the problem with remaking Footloose lies in the fact that it is not really a true musical. High School Musical has characters singing within the scenes; Footloose largely has the songs in the background to push the scenes. Unless Efron's acting has improved beyond HSM, he's going to have to put a lot of work in. You wouldn't have this problem with The Bleu. This is something HSM musical director Kenny Ortega, who will direct the remake, must understand and get with.
Even though it hasn't been said that the characters will sing, I just get this bad image in my head that frightens me.
I see in my nightmares Zac Efron singing through his frustrations in the infamous warehouse scene in the original. I see Vanessa Hudgens with Efron in the remake singing "Almost Paradise" before kissing each other. I see the entire cast doing a big number at the end to "Footloose."
Dear God… the horror… the horror!
The way I generally feel about it comes down to one thing. It all comes down to who they cast as the lead. They are never going to get the quality music of the original down, nor are going to have any better a plot than the original without making the cheesy plot of the original worse. Get The Bleu and you’ll have a hit.
I’m sure The Bacon would agree with me, but apparently even he thinks Efron can do it.