Footlose star Kenny Wormald, says when he first heard that director Craig Brewer wanted to find someone who wasn’t “already a celebrity” for the role of Ren McCormack, he “bee-lined” for the role. Not that Wormald’s casting in the 1984 remake was a piece of cake by any means, as he described to Collider in a recent interview.
“I auditioned a lot because they wanted to make sure they made the right decision. Half-way through the casting process, they tested another actor who was already-established, so I got put on hold and I was like, “Damn, there it goes!” It didn’t work out, for whatever reason, and they called me back in, which is when I danced for them. Once I danced for them, I saw a shift and got a little more confident. I was working with my acting coach, sometimes twice a day, right before the audition. I just wanted to really make sure that my dancing was up to par with what I could bring on the dance side of things. That’s how it went down. And then, my final audition was with Julianne and Miles. They had already booked it, and I had to screen test at Paramount. It was down to two guys, and I had to go in there and dance a little bit with Julianne and do the scenes, and do the scenes with Miles, and then just pray for the phone call. And, I got it.”
When Wormald finally got word that he was officially Footlose‘s star, he says the feeling was “surreal. I’ll never forget it. It was a three-way call from my agent and manager, and I was just screaming and yelling. And, they were like, “But, you can’t tell anyone for a week!” I was like, “What?! Thanks for telling me, but damn, it’s going to be hard not to tell anyone.” Paramount wanted to release the word themselves, so I had to wait and hold back.”
The Stoughton, Massachusetts native was also allowed to keep his real-life accent for the role. Although Brewer wanted to keep most of the modernized version of Footlose the same, he also opted to make a few changes. “I think Craig’s decision to keep my accent was cool. That’s how I speak and it’s where I’m from, so it was a natural thing for me to speak like that, and I think that separates it, right off the bat.”
Footlose, starring Wormald, Miles Teller, Julianne Hough and Dennis Quaid debuted in theaters on October 14th 2011.