SEATTLE â€” You may know Julianne Hough from â€œDancing with the Stars,â€ but now sheâ€™s dancing with the kids from Bomont High.
Hough wasnâ€™t yet born when the original 1984 â€œFootlooseâ€ arrived on the screen, starring Kevin Bacon as a dancing teen rebel and Lori Singer as a ministerâ€™s daughter. But sheâ€™s been a fan of the movie for a long time. â€œI grew up in Utah, where it was filmed,â€ she said in a telephone interview. â€œThat was one of my favorite movies growing up. Iâ€™ve seen it a gazillion times.â€
In the new â€œFootloose,â€ Hough (pronounced â€œHuffâ€) takes over Singerâ€™s role of Ariel â€” a role that was a long time coming. Originally, Hough said, the new version was envisioned very differently. It was going to be a full-blown musical, directed by Kenny Ortega (who made the â€œHigh School Musicalâ€ movies and the Michael Jackson concert film â€œThis Is Itâ€). Then â€œit all fell apart a little bit,â€ in Houghâ€™s words â€” â€œeverybody kind of was dropping out, doing different things.â€ Though Hough was attached to play Ariel, she began to have doubts, thinking â€œmaybe this isnâ€™t right, maybe itâ€™s too far stretched from the original.â€
But, as often happens in Hollywood, the project got reworked â€” as a faithfully updated version of the original, directed by Craig Brewer (â€œBlack Snake Moanâ€). â€œI could not be more proud of this movie,â€ Hough said.
A champion ballroom dancer since her early teens, Hough had to adjust her style for Brewer and choreographer Jamal Sims. â€œThey didnâ€™t want it to look like a music video,â€ she said, â€œor too perfect or pristine; they wanted it to be very real. Craig would tell me to tone it down a bit, so I didnâ€™t look so much like I knew what I was doing.â€
Though her focus now is primarily on acting and singing, Hough still speaks fondly of her days with â€œDancing with the Stars.â€ She made her debut in the fourth season of the show in 2007, partnering with Olympic gold medalist Apolo Ohno and finishing in first place. â€œThat samba I did with Apolo, it was kind of my coming-out party,â€ she said of that first season. She was on the show for five seasons, winning again in season five with race-car driver Helio Castroneves. (Favorite dance with Helio? The bouncy â€œThe Maskâ€-flavored quickstep.)
â€œDancing with the Starsâ€ brought many unforgettable experiences: wardrobe malfunctions (usually in dress rehearsal rather than on live TV â€” â€œthat was a good thing!â€), a sudden absence in season seven for emergency abdominal surgery and a newfound addiction to spray-tanning, despite the messiness. â€œWe would do spray tans on a Sunday and then not take a shower,â€ she recalled. â€œYou would wake up (Monday) and it would look like a crime scene in your bed. It was gross.â€
Next up for Hough are more movies: Sheâ€™s just finished the musical â€œRock of Agesâ€ alongside Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and recently signed to star in â€œJunoâ€ screenwriter Diablo Codyâ€™s untitled directing debut, opposite Russell Brand.