Wire Image/ Paramount Pictures
Meet The 'Footloose' Scene-Stealer
There are a few things that happen as patrons exit showings of the Julianne Hough/Kenny Wormald-starring Footloose. First, people can't stop smiling since the remake is unexpectedly amazing. It totally honors everything that made the original great, while adding in enough modern day updates to justify its existence. Second, chances are they immediately want to find a club because the dancing in this movie is infectious. Third, and most importantly, they're buzzing about "the guy who played Willard."
Well, his name is Miles Teller and after absorbing his utterly endearing performance, I simply had to synch up with the 24-year-old rising star!
Insider.com: I have to say, you absolutely steal this film. Had you seen the original?
Miles Teller: I was very familiar with the story of Footloose because I did the play in high school, but I have yet to see the original except for snippets of it on TV.
Insider: Did you also play Willard then?
Miles: Yes. It was the first play that I ever did. So I came into this with a pretty strong foundation of who Willard was.
Insider: What was important to you when creating the big screen version of Willard?
Miles: I wanted to make sure I had the accent down. The first one I tried out for [director] Craig Brewer was so thick, he couldn't understand me. I'm from Southern Florida, I describe it as Appalachian American -- very red neck in the woods -- so I think it was actually too Southern. I twanged it up a bit and everyone liked it. Other than that, I guess the big difference here versus the high school play is that I was much smaller then. Now I am a little more intimidating.
Insider: The one thing my friends and I kept talking about is your dancing -- obviously you have rhythm based on the movie's ending, so how did you go about giving off the effect that you couldn't dance early on?
Miles: At first I was trying to think off rhythm but that wasn't working out, so instead, I made it less about the mind and more about the body. Focused on some of the movement training I'd done in college. You can add tension or relaxation in different places, and put your body in an altered state. For this, I just thought about how bad dancers must feel while dancing – awkward, self-conscious and unsure of themselves. So I tried to feel as uncomfortable in my own body as possible. And then, I went from ugly duckling to swan [laughs].
Insider: You embraced your inner Natalie Portman!
Miles: Yes, that was my inspiration for the dancing, Natalie Portman in Black Swan!
Insider: It's one thing to be able to dance, but to do it alongside performers who've toured with Justin Timberlake and won Mirror Ball Trophies had to be intimidating, no?
Miles: No, I was excited about it. Whenever Kenny & I go out, I'm the first one on the dancefloor. I'm usually egging him on. I just love dancing and I love watching people who are great dancers. It was fun to rehearse the dance scene but we only had about 4 hours in total for that finale number. There wasn't much time at all and if you watch the movie, there's a point where I turn to Kenny and I'm talking at him – that's just me, egging him on. "Come on bro, bring it on!" I was not intimidated, I was looking forward to learning from the dancers.
Insider: The remake got a lot of flack before it came out -- what kind of responses have you been getting now that people have seen it?
Miles: People seem to be really liking it. I haven't gotten many negative comments since it came out. I wasn't surprised but I was too -- you'd think that people who are hating on the movie, who loved the original, would see that this is just a love letter to the original. We're not trying to rip anything off. It all comes from a sense of enjoyment and pride in remaking it.
Insider: That said, is there any movie you loved growing up that you'd love to remake?
Miles: I grew up watching Wizard of Oz, like twice a day. But I would never want that to be remade. Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a favorite of mine. Maybe I could be a young Eddie Valiant, a young detective. And Jessica Rabbit, hello?
Insider: Although, after starring in Rabbit Hole, that movie might put you down a weird Rabbit-themed path.
Miles: [laughs] Right. Then all we need is some kind of car accident in Toonville, and it's full-circle.
Footloose is now playing.