'Gossip' star kicks off his Sunday shoes


Chace Crawford has gotta cut loose … a year from now.

Long-rumored for the lead in Paramount's "Footloose" revamp, the "Gossip Girl" star has made it official. He replaces "High School Musical" star Zac Efron in the role that propelled Kevin Bacon to stardom 25 years ago.

Kenny Ortega, another "HSM" alum, is set to produce and direct the feature, which won't go before cameras until March. Susannah Grant, who wrote "Erin Brockovich" and "The Soloist," penned the most recent screenplay.

Producing the film are Craig Zadan, who also produced the 1984 original, and Neil Meron. The pair produced the feature musicals "Hairspray" and "Chicago," the 2002 best picture Oscar winner. Dylan Sellers ("Agent Cody Banks") also is producing.

Efron, who starred in "Hairspray" and most recently "17 Again," originally was cast but dropped out in March.

Crawford, repped by CAA and Eric Podwall, is shooting the feature "Twelve," starring Kiefer Sutherland and Emma Roberts.

The Paradigm-repped Ortega directed and choreographed Disney's song-and-dance "High School Musical" trilogy. His resume also includes choreography for the films "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Dirty Dancing" and "Shag." (partialdiff)