Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough Talk ‘Footloose’


Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough are on the road promoting their new movie “Footloose,” a remake of the 1984 flick that catapulted Kevin Bacon to stardom. Besides the confetti splashing dance climax, the key scene of that movie was “the angry dance.” The new angry dance is just one of the things that Wormald and Hough talk about in this interview. There’s a little bit of James Dean and Natalie Wood in their personas, not that Dean and Wood ever made a movie together. But Wormald and Hough’s chemistry sizzles, and together, they make on the floor look hot. What a disaster it would have been if Zac Efron had accepted the lead part.

Reporting from Los Angeles.

Let’s warm up here. You’re both cruising down the road in separate cars, what song are you blaring at the top of your speaker volume, as your character does? What’s the song that you love that much that you just want to cruise with?

Kenny: I am blaring Jay-Z/Kanye’s album “Watch the Throne,” top to bottom.

Julianne: I am blaring Adele’s album.

What were your favorite scene to work on or choreograph? Dance wise?

Kenny: Dance wise? All of them, you can’t pick one. Of course, the angry dance was insane. Shooting that was a blast. And I’ve been on sets for years as a dancer and I knew ton of the dancers that got hired because they were from LA. Being on set with friends doesn’t feel like work.

Julianne: My mom and my three sisters were in the country line dance, and you can see them in the movie. It was really fun to be able to share that with them.

Is it a special boost of esteem when director Craig Brewer hand picks you himself to say “I want you to be in my movie?”

Kenny: Yes, definitely. The thing that helped me the most was when he called me and said, “You booked this film because of your acting, not because of your dancing.” That gave me a ton of confidence. It’s that moment that you feel solidified and you’re ready to go.

Julianne: Same for me. I was attached to an earlier version but I had to audition for Craig again. He had the option of re-casting and he kind of wanted to because he didn’t really know who I was. I was just some dancer chick. When I went in, I wanted him to see what I can do. I ended up reading the whole script with him and he hired me on the spot.

How are each of you like your character personality-wise?

Kenny: I have always fought for what I believe in. I used to get made fun of for dancing and I would argue back to fight the kids or what whatever I had to do to shut them up. So I have that in me, I’m from Boston so I’m kind of a hard head.

Julianne: I relate to Ariel a lot. The conversation she has with Dennis at the very end of the movie where she says that she doesn’t want him to be disappointed in her anymore, I remember having that conversation with my dad. I can definitely relate to her, especially in how she wanted attention. I grew up in a very religious community and having five kids running around and I was the baby, so I had to do something to get attention. I was a good kid though.

Did you two have an opinion of the original “Footloose” long before you were attached to the project?

Kenny: Oh yeah, I’m a huge fan of the original. Growing up dancers, you’re crazy if don’t love it.

Do you have a favorite scene?

Kenny: The angry dance.

Julianne: For sure.

You shot the angry dance yourself as the last three days?

 Kenny: Yes, the last three days in case I died!

What kind of direction did he give you? What did he want to do different from Kevin Bacon in the 1984 original “Footloose?”

Kenny: The main thing that is different is not only the song, but in the original Bacon was perfect. He doesn’t mess up, he doesn’t fall, and he doesn’t so any of that. In mine he wanted that struggle. Guys can relate to falling down, getting back up and wiping yourself off mentality. Having those differences made it great.

Julianne, in the past you won awards for your choreography. Was it hard for you to step back and let someone else take over?

Julianne: No I love it, if I could teach or learn the rest of my life, I would learn! Plus this kind of [dancing] was not my field of expertise, but I kind of got to my own flair to it.

Do you guys plan on focusing more on your acting careers now or dancing career?

Julianne: I don’t think we will ever get rid of our dancing, but I think we are on a track right now that we want to stay on.

Kenny: Same for me. I want to be around for a long time and I’ll never stop dancing. If the right dance project comes around again as far as doing it for a movie I’ll do it. I have gotten offers for dance projects that I’ve turned down because I want to be picky in that light and not just do dancing.

What are differences in the training for a TV show and a movie when you were on “Dancing with the Stars?”

Julianne: On the show its training 7 days a week, 8-12 hours a day and it’s only the dancing that we are focused on. In the movie, we have rehearsals and it is grueling, but then we are focusing on the acting and what kind of scene it is. Then there is another level to it when we do shoot the dancing scenes, and it takes all day. About 12-15 hours a day or more.

Kenny, the relationship you have with Miles Teller, as Willard, in the movie is an important relationship. How did you like building this relationship on set and what did you think of Miles Teller?

Kenny: As soon as I booked the film and we knew that we were going to be in Georgia, we found out that we were neighbors, basically he lives two or three streets away from me here in LA. So we just started hanging out. We started golfing, chilling, playing John Madden football, talking smack to each other, that camaraderie was just so natural. By the time we were shooting we were already best buds. By the end he is a friend of mine forever.

When you first knew you were going to be the parts did you two do anything to get to know each other at all off set?

Julianne: We actually worked the same acting coach.

Kenny: We spent a lot of time together working with him and watching other films and referencing certain looks or a kiss from a movie. Once we were in Atlanta we all hung out all the time.

Kenny, how much time did you spend in the south growing up such as visiting family and friends?

Kenny: Zero.

So it was a new thing for you to go down there and shoot a film? What are the surprises on a personal level?

Kenny: It was good to shoot down there and not do a fake representation of Georgia in LA. Or Vancouver. I never been down there in Georgia or the South, but I learned that everyone is the same. Being in a film that shows the south in a positive light and doesn’t try to poke fun at it or anything was important. Craig Brewer is an amazing director and he is from there so he depicts it in the right way. We went to a Nascar Race, an Atlanta Braves game, we mingling with the folks down there and it was a blast. I would definitely go back.

The church scene was fantastic. That was a really pinnacle point of the whole movie. Did you feel a lot of pressure on that?

Kenny: Yeah, I think both of our church situations were intense, but I made it a point to not watch any Dennis Quaid movies all summer. I didn’t want to be overly intimidated because it was my first go at this and he is a super pro. As soon as we met him we were really comfortable and he was great to work with. He was very helpful even off camera and treating it like it was his first film. We respect him so much for that.

Do either of you have a dream with working with any specific director or actor in your forthcoming careers?

Kenny: There’s a ton of people that I can obviously say. Like Martin Scorsese and the likes of his ranks. But I want to work with the Boston guys. Matt [Damon] and Ben [Affleck]. I grew up watching those guys, idolizing them. I’m from Boston, so if they can do it, I can do it, too!

Julianne: I’m actually excited that I’m working with Diablo Cody. And I will kill to work with Craig Brewer again. He is amazing!

Video Interview:





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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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