Oct 122011
Authors: Moira Macdonald McClatchy-Tribune

SEATTLE — You may know Julianne Hough from “Dancing with the Stars,” but now she’s dancing with the kids from Bomont High.

Hough wasn’t yet born when the original 1984 “Footloose” arrived on the screen, starring Kevin Bacon as a dancing teen rebel and Lori Singer as a minister’s daughter. But she’s been a fan of the movie for a long time. “I grew up in Utah, where it was filmed,” she said in a telephone interview. “That was one of my favorite movies growing up. I’ve seen it a gazillion times.”

In the new “Footloose,” Hough (pronounced “Huff”) takes over Singer’s role of Ariel — 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 “High School Musical” movies and the Michael Jackson concert film “This Is It”). Then “it all fell apart a little bit,” in Hough’s words — “everybody kind of was dropping out, doing different things.” Though Hough was attached to play Ariel, she began to have doubts, thinking “maybe this isn’t right, maybe it’s too far stretched from the original.”

But, as often happens in Hollywood, the project got reworked — as a faithfully updated version of the original, directed by Craig Brewer (“Black Snake Moan”). “I could not be more proud of this movie,” Hough said.

A champion ballroom dancer since her early teens, Hough had to adjust her style for Brewer and choreographer Jamal Sims. “They didn’t want it to look like a music video,” she said, “or too perfect or pristine; they wanted it to be very real. Craig would tell me to tone it down a bit, so I didn’t look so much like I knew what I was doing.”

Though her focus now is primarily on acting and singing, Hough still speaks fondly of her days with “Dancing with the Stars.” 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. “That samba I did with Apolo, it was kind of my coming-out party,” 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 “The Mask”-flavored quickstep.)

“Dancing with the Stars” brought many unforgettable experiences: wardrobe malfunctions (usually in dress rehearsal rather than on live TV — “that was a good thing!”), a sudden absence in season seven for emergency abdominal surgery and a newfound addiction to spray-tanning, despite the messiness. “We would do spray tans on a Sunday and then not take a shower,” she recalled. “You would wake up (Monday) and it would look like a crime scene in your bed. It was gross.”

Next up for Hough are more movies: She’s just finished the musical “Rock of Ages” alongside Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and recently signed to star in “Juno” screenwriter Diablo Cody’s untitled directing debut, opposite Russell Brand.

 Posted by at 4:20 pm

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