Zac Efron, best known for his leading man role in the blockbuster High School Musical franchise, will not be cutting “Footloose,” as announced earlier this fall. The actor has reportedly withdrawn from the multimillion dollar remake of '80s classic Footloose in order to distance himself from the movie-musical genre with which he is closely associated. In addition to three HSM films, Efron also appeared in the 2007 remake of Hairspray and appeared last month in a production number celebrating musicals during the 2009 Academy Awards ceremony.
A replacement for the actor has not been named.
The withdrawal comes as a surprise, as Efron had recently received the blessing of original Footloose star Kevin Bacon and spoken enthusiastically of the project to MTV News, explaining he “couldn’t be more excited” about the film and the support of Bacon.
The film was to reunite Efron with HSM director Kenny Ortega, who is “reinvigorating” the Footloose franchise with co-producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan both of the big screen’s Chicago and Hairspray adaptations, as well as co-producer Dylan Sellers. Also involved is Peter Sollet the mastermind behind summer hit Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, who will rewrite Jon Hartmere’s Footloose’s original script. The remake will be aimed at an older audience, and will bring back hit songs from the original soundtrack, including "Let's Hear it for the Boy" and the title tune recorded by its co-writer Kenny Loggins, while introducing new songs penned specifically for the project.
Footloose was adapted into a Broadway musical in 1998, and opened on October 22 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre that year. The show, which starred Jeremy Kushnier as Ren, played 709 performances and nabbed four Tony Award nominations before closing on July 2, 2000.