With its star's $42 million worth of opening-weekend muscle and the all-important Kevin Bacon blessing behind it, Zac Efron and his Footloose remake are leaping to the front of the development queue at Paramount. The updating of the studio's 1984 high-school dance melodrama, which has been idle at the studio for years without that singular, Bacon-esque talent to guide it to market, now has a rewrite on the way, new songs in the works and one heartthrob to rule them all — for a price, notes Variety.Efron could pull in mid-seven figures for Footloose — by far his biggest payday to date — in addition to script approval for the story of Ren McCormack, a surly city kid whose relocation to a Midwest hellhole where dancing is banned ignites a particularly well-choreographed civil-disobedience streak. Dirty Dancing's Kenny Ortega is attached to direct while Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist director Peter Sollett is polishing the screenplay. All of which are secondary details, we know, to the burning questions of what will survive from Bacon's star-making original. The soundtrack will reportedly retain hits including "Let's Hear it for the Boy" and "Holding Out For a Hero," but more importantly, what arrhythmic schlub will replace the late Chris Penn in the first song's requisite dance-instruction montage? And does Efron have the brooding edge to own the latter tune's cutthroat, tractor-centric game of chicken? The End of Ideas jury is still out on this one, but if Efron vetoes the bleacher make-out session to "Almost Paradise," expect trouble. The guy has to get to second base eventually.
- Paramount Fast-Tracks 'Footloose' [Variety]