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Footloose - Julianne Hough interview


Compiled by Jack Foley

JULIANNE Hough talks about some of the challenges of remaking Footloose, which is released on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday, February 6, 2012, courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment.

She also reflects on her rise to fame, living in London when she was younger, training regimes and why aspects of her character seemed to emulate her own life.

Q. Footloose is a lot of fun. It makes you want to get up and dance…
Julianne Hough: [Laughs] Yes, that’s what I love about it. Sometimes you don’t want to see a movie that is heavy and this is definitely a fun movie.

Q: Apart from the fun I’m sure you had on the set, why did you want to do Footloose?
Julianne Hough: I was actually attached to the movie before [director] Craig Brewer was. It was going to be a whole different movie before Craig came on. A whole different script. It was going to be a musical with singing. I was just excited because it would be my first movie, it would be Footloose and I’d get to sing. I thought it would be more like the Broadway show. Then, when that fell apart and Craig signed on, he wanted to start from scratch. It became more about the acting. There wouldn’t be singing, but it would be acting and dancing. I read the new script and thought: “OK! I really want this. This is a chance for me to show I can act. I really want this.” I was told I’d have to audition again. I’d auditioned for the first version. But, I was OK with that. It was so worth it.

Q: From what I hear, Craig Brewer is an encyclopedia when it comes to Footloose trivia. He was a huge fan of the original?
Julianne Hough: We were lucky. Craig Brewer calls himself a Footloose-ologist and knows everything about the movie and it was like his baby too and, also, our producer (Craig Zadan) was on set everyday and he produced the first one. We knew we were being taken care of and wouldn’t stray too far from the original.

Q. Can you relate to your character, Ariel? You grew up in a community that is religious…
Julianne Hough: Yeah. The community in Utah was very religious. I definitely can relate to her. I was a typical teenage girl trying to find my sexuality. Unfortunately, girls do use their sexuality to find attention. I also understand why parents want to protect their kids. I think that’s what is great about our version. You can relate to where the parents are coming from.

Q: There’s that great scene in the church where Ariel announces she is a virgin…
Julianne Hough: Oh yes. The scene in the church I do with Dennis Quaid, it was very real for me. It was a good bit of free therapy for me [laughs].

Q: So, in Footloose you often were not acting. You were living out real aspects of your life?
Julianne Hough: Sort of. I certainly have my differences with Ariel. She’s a little bit more naive than me. She says she is going to apply to colleges that her Dad doesn’t know about. You think: “Oh, that’s sweet.” We definitely have our differences.

Q: One difference, I guess, is that Ariel is desperate to leave her small town, but you in fact did leave your home town at an early age. You moved to London…
Julianne Hough: Yeah. I was in London from the age of 10 to 15. I was supposed to be there for a few months but stayed for five years. I guess our lives are completely different in that way. My parents have a lot of kids. They divorced and have re-married so there are 14 kids altogether. I would have to fight for attention and would act out. My brother was the only boy, so I felt second to him. My Dad didn’t do it intentionally, but it would make me mad and do things that were inappropriate.

Q: What was it like for you as a 10-year-old moving to London? That must have been a little scary?
Julianne Hough: I have always been independent. It’s weird. Most 10-year-olds would probably not realize the opportunity they had. I knew the opportunity was huge and had to stay there.

Q. Did anything British rub off you? Are you a fan of fish and chips?
Julianne Hough: Definitely. They sold sausage bagels with HP sauce across the street from my school. We used to have a cup of tea and sausage bagel before going to school. I love the Dove ice cream cones. I remember the one hot day we would have each year in London (laughs) our teacher would take us across to the park and we would have an ice cream and sun bake in our school uniforms. It was awesome. I also love roast potatoes.


Q: Your big break was as a professional dancer on the US version of the TV show Dancing With The Stars, and now you are one of Hollywood’s top, young female actors. What about your music career? Do you still plan to sing?
Julianne Hough: Yes. Absolutely. In my next movie (Rock of Ages) I sing in it. I do have a country record that is done, but I’m just waiting for the right opportunities. Right now, I’m really loving acting. I remember being on the Footloose set and it helped lead me to where I’d like my career to go. I was like ‘OK, I want this as a career’. I’ll still write music and collaborate with people, but right now I’m focused on the acting path.

Q: What was it like being part of such a young, talented cast?
Julianne Hough: A lot of fun. We spent three weeks in Atlanta before we started shooting so we hung out a lot . Ziah (Colon) would come over to my hotel. We’d order dessert and got to know each other. The same with the other guys. We also bonded during rehearsals. It was fun. It was like summer camp.

Q: Your co-star Kenny Wormald is a dancer and, of course, that’s your background. Did you know Kenny before Footloose? Had you crossed paths?
Julianne Hough: No. I knew a couple of dancers were coming in to auditions, but I didn’t know Kenny personally.

Q: Did you watch the original Footloose while you were growing up?
Julianne Hough: Yes. Obviously, it was made before I was born, but growing up I wasn’t allowed to watch PG-13 movies. My parents hid their PG-13 VHS movies in their room and when they went out I’d go in, find them and put them on and then quickly put them back when they came home and pretend I never watched them. I remember watching Footloose and it was so exhilarating. I mean, those movies – Footloose, Flashdance, Grease and Dirty Dancing – those movies are what really made me want to do what I’m doing today. I’m so bummed I didn’t get a chance to do the Angry Dance in Footloose [laughs].


Q: What other films inspired you to want to be an actress?
Julianne Hough: I would say Singing in the Rain and all of those old, wonderful movies. What I love about the movie stars back then was they were entertainers. They could sing, dance and act. When I would watch them I knew that’s what I wanted to do.

Q: The original Footloose was actually shot in Utah…
Julianne Hough: Yeah. We used to go past a lot of the locations for the movie and say ‘Hey, that’s where they shot that scene’. I loved the original and I’m not knocking it, but in our movie I feel there is more development between Ariel and her Dad. You feel more for her in this version and understand who she is. They explain why she is acting out. At the end of the original movie I thought: “She’s not very nice. She is kind of a slut. Why would he want to be with her? She’s not very cool”. Craig Brewer did a great job of expanding the role of Ariel in our movie.

Q: Dennis Quaid plays your Dad. What was he like to work with?
Julianne Hough: It was great. He is so experienced, so for me to have the opportunity to observe and work with him was wonderful. He took me under his wing. He gave me everything I needed when we had scenes together, but the camera wasn’t on him. I have had experiences on other movies where I’m doing a scene and the camera is on me, but the actor on the other end is giving me nothing. They have literally been on their Blackberry. I’m like, ‘Really? That’s great’. Dennis was so great to me.

  • Q.What was your most challenging scene in Footloose?*

Julianne Hough: The most challenging was the scene in the church with Dennis where I tell him I’m lost and he hasn’t been paying attention to me and I tell him I’m not a virgin just to get a reaction. That was really hard, but so rewarding. We were in Atlanta and I had been so good with my diet – no sugar or carbs – and I remember after we shot that scene I went over to Fellini’s Pizza and ate a slice of pizza from every pizza on the menu. The next day i felt so sick [laughs].


Q: It’s interesting to hear you are so careful with your diet. I thought with all of the dancing you do you would not have to watch what you eat?
Julianne Hough: There was a time I didn’t have to watch what I eat, but when I stopped dancing regularly and I moved from my teen years to my 20s, my body started having curves and I gained 20 pounds. I’ve had to watch what I eat and work out. Oh man, why couldn’t I be 16 forever? [laughs]

Q: How do you keep fit? Is it just dancing or do you do other things?
Julianne Hough: I do a lot of dancing. I don’t like to run much because I get shin splints. I love being outside so I do a lot of hiking and I love to swim. I need goggles. If I don’t have goggles I run in to the walls of the pool [laughs]. I have no sense of directions. It’s very good for toning. I also do lots of light weights.

Read our review of Footloose

Footloose is released on DVD and Blu-ray by Paramount Home Entertainment on Monday, February 6, 2012.