Julianne Hough on 'Footloose:' 'I Had to Fight for the Role' Twice


After original director Kenny Ortega exited, she had to "prove" to his replacement Craig Brewer that she could play Ariel.

Julianne Hough had to win the role of Ariel in the Footloose remake twice.

First, Hough -- who rose to fame on Dancing With the Stars -- nabbed the part with director Kenny Ortega. But once he exited and was replaced by Craig Brewer, "I basically had to fight for the role for the second time. I had to prove to Craig that I was Ariel, and I did, so here we are," Hough tells Collider.com.

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"It was a long, long process," admits Hough. "I was attached when it was a musical. I was excited because it was a movie, and I was attached to it. I thought, 'Oh, this will just get my foot in the door for the films I really want to do later on, down the line.' Then, people started falling out, and Kenny Ortega left, and then Paramount decided to put it on hold for a minute…."

And that's when Hough began having second thoughts herself.

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"So I was like, 'Yeah, maybe I shouldn’t do this. This is not feeling right. It’s not the right script. It’s not like the original. The script is kind of corny,'" she says. "And then, Craig Brewer got attached and rewrote it, and I read the script and was blown away. I was like, 'First, it’s like the original. People aren’t going to get mad. Second, this will actually show a range that I can do, on the acting side. It’s not really about my dancing.'"

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Despite some criticism and mixed reviews, she promises "the super-fans of the original Footloose will not be disappointed ‘cause they’ll see the things that they loved and remembered. But then, the generation that hasn’t seen it, if they never knew this was a remake, then they would think it was a fresh movie. I think we did a lot of explaining from the original, and set the tone at the beginning, with the crash."

Hough says she always intended to go into movies.

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"A lot of people don’t know that when I first moved out to L.A., it was to act, and Dancing with the Stars fell into place. I know everybody has discovered me as a dancer, but hopefully this will be the chance that I’ve been looking for, for people to see me as an actress," she tells Collider.

"Honestly, I think this is the perfect movie that I could have done for breaking into the world. I’m not stepping out of my fans’ comfort zone too much, ‘cause you still see me dance, but it does give me room to actually act. It’s not just a dance movie with no storyline. That was great. I’m really excited about that,"  she adds.

Next up for Hough: Rock of Ages, co-starring Tom Cruise.

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"I’ve been really lucky. I know this does not happen every day, so I definitely don’t take it for granted," she says of her career. "I did my first film with Cher, and then Footloose, and then I got to do a film with Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Paul Giamatti. It’s pretty incredible. And, I almost didn’t do it because I was like, 'I don’t know if I want to do another musical. I want to branch out.' But then, I found out they were all doing it and I was like, 'OK, maybe I should do one more!' They all are seasoned actors, and they all changed a little bit to play these roles. They were all a little bit intimidated by the next person, so by the time we all came together, there were no egos anywhere. Everybody was wanting to learn from everybody, from all different directions. It was really fascinating and really cool."