After years of development, Paramount’s Footloose remake is finally getting off the ground, with Craig Brewer directing and unknown Kenny Wormald starring in the role originated by Kevin Bacon and abandoned by Zac Efron. But it isn’t the first Footloose remake out of the gate — an international collective of 50 different production teams has Paramount beat.
Our Footloose Remake, produced by David Seger and Tim Marklevitz, came about when the pair first heard about Paramount’s remake and thought it sounded awful. “If anyone is going to ruin Footloose, it’s us,” became the team’s motto, who began recruiting creators to tackle individual scenes a year ago — and premiered the final product last night at an 80s-prom-themed shindig in Los Angeles.
The list of those involved draws heavily from the online video world — an incomplete list from the poster includes Erik Beck (Indy Mogul), Chris Cantwell, Scott Gairdner, Adam Quirk (Wreck and Salvage), Mike Rose (Channel 101), Tyler Spiers (Channel 101), Team Tiger Awesome, Waverly Films, and Aaron Yonda and Matt Sloan (Chad Vader).
Each team was assigned one scene from the film to recreate however they saw fit, leading to the following tally: 33 different Rens (played by Bacon in the original), 15 different Reverend Shaw Moores (played by John Lithgow in the original) and 27 different Ariels (played by Lori Singer originally). The result is an insane but delightful mashup of styles and approaches — parody, animation, puppets, Dance Dance Revolution homage, reverse motion, video remix, stop-motion — with instances of both male and female drag, puppets, puppies and amazingly bad wigs.
Each scene’s creator is clearly denoted as it starts, and there’s no rhyme or reason as to the transitions between styles — but none is really necessary. For the purposes of continuity, participants were encouraged to dress their Rens in a white button-down and tie, their Reverends in all black and their Ariels in pink. But even when those elements were lacking, the film’s narrative actually came across pretty clearly (though it definitely helped to have seen the film a few days prior).
“We only like to make things that we know won’t make money,” Seger, wearing a blue ruffled shirt and bowtie, said last night while darting about making preparations. Which is probably the right attitude with this project; while there’s no one scene in Our Footloose Remake that uses intact audio and video from the film, original music and dialogue is incorporated at certain points. Which means that they’re probably better off not pushing the boundaries of fair use. Seger did attempt to contact Paramount about the project — by sending them an email telling them not to bother with their remake, because he had them covered — but there was no response.
Seger and Marklevitz’s plan for the film’s future is to continue doing live screenings wherever there’s interest — the New York premiere is scheduled for July 23, and thanks to a Montreal-based participant (whose scene was shot entirely in French), plans for a screening there are also in the works. If it comes to your town and you enjoy fun, make it a point to attend.
Ultimately, the project will end up online, with the goal being next summer, before Paramount’s remake comes out. And while I think the 2011 film might not be awful — Craig Brewer previously directed Hustle and Flow and Black Snake Moan, which could make for a unique twist on the tale of the town that outlawed dancing — it’ll never top Our Footloose Remake for its originality. After all — it’s amazing, the creativity that’s possible when talented people tackle the ridiculous.
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