Kenny Wormald Gets ‘Footloose’ & Explains How Remake Differs from Classic Film
He made his mark (and showed off his dance moves) with a starring role in Center Stage: Turn It Up, now Kenny Warmald is about to get his big break with the leading role in Footloose with Julianne Hough.
The up-and-coming actor talks to Celebuzz about the daunting task of remaking a classic, stepping into Kevin Bacon’s famous dancing shoes — and why they changed the script after he was cast as the film’s star.
As a Boston native, Kenny says he decided to stand out from the other actors vying for the role by keeping his accent. The part was originally intended for his character to hail from Chicago.
It seems like your character has a bit of a different background then the original film, is that correct?
Yes that’s correct. During the audition process, I’m originally from Boston Massachusetts, so I wanted to be different from all the other guys going in the room. I just gave it a shot with my Boston accent and as I got further and further to getting the job no one told me to change it. When I booked it, they changed the script from being from Chicago to being from Boston … It’s cool because I definitely sound like an outsider as soon as I step into Belmont, because everyone has a very thick southern accent. That helps separate the two, but yeah, that one was mine.
Can you explain how else the movie has been updated?
It takes place in current day and a lot of the music from the original one is in this, but it’s slightly remixed or changed a bit — and there’s new music introduced to it. I think the music has an important part in the update. It takes place in Georgia this time [rather than Texas] and there’s a lot more to offer, culturally. We stay true to the heart of the original story, definitely didn’t want to mess with the plot too much. All the basic elements are the same, we just sprinkled some 2011 on top.
Were you nervous about stepping into the role Kevin Bacon made famous?
Yes! He’s incredible in the first one and everyone remembers him. That role was very iconic. I was definitely a bit nervous, but I felt like in the hands of a good director, the pressure was more on him, and he let us perform and do what we do. Obviously you have pressure and you want to do good by the original cast, and the original fans.
It seems some elements are a bit bigger than the original?
Yea [there are] definitely [some] pumped up elements for sure. It’s funny, because everyone kind of knows that the new version of the tractor [chicken scene is with buses]. We were trying to keep it a secret, but then they put it in the trailer and we were like well, there it goes.
Did you do all your own stunts?
All the dance scenes are all me, all the fight scenes and the driving of the buses, we actually did all of that. It was actually incredible. The stunt guys were ready to go … but they never even used them.
When did you first meet Julianne?
I hadn’t met her till the screen test for my audition. I had to go to paramount and it was still between a couple guys, two guys I think, I met her then it was wonderful. It’s funny, because normally when you meet someone you just talk and have a coffee, have a dinner, and we were just told to dance right away because it was the audition process … right away the chemistry clicked and we both come from the dance background.
You have an extensive dance background, do you still take classes?
Since I’ve toured with Justin Timblerake I’ve gotten opportunities to teach in places I’ve never imagined, so I still teach and I’ll take a class here and there … Teaching is wonderful because I remember, when I was young, I’d take a class from some guy who was in a video or in a show or something like that … and I’d be like, “Oh my god this guy dances for Janet Jackson!” I was just so inspired. When I teach, these kids know that I was either in a video or in Footloose, and I tell them, “I came from your world. I came form the same exact position your in right now in this dance studio and I’ve been chasing my dreams and reaching them.”