Just days before the opening of his highly anticipated Michael Jackson concert film, This Is It (Oct. 28), Kenny Ortega has stepped down as director of the remake of the 1984 classic Footloose. Sources claim that his decision to call it quits stemmed from creative and budgetary differences with Paramount Pictures. Ortega, who directed the insanely popular High School Musical films and choreographed the timeless Dirty Dancing, is said to have wanted elaborate musical numbers and a $30 million budget. Paramount producers, on the other hand, had something else in mind. With the handsome Chace Crawford (Gossip Girl) starring in the lead role originally played by Kevin Bacon, they were looking to make an edgy drama with less emphasis on dancing for $25 million or less.
As of today, Paramount will begin looking for a new director, and Ortega is reportedly taking a small break. His team released this statement: “Coming off the extraordinary project, Michael Jackson’s This Is It, director Kenny Ortega has decided it is premature for him to commit to his next film and will not be moving forward with Footloose as previously reported.” Hopefully, Paramount will be able to find someone with Ortega’s skills, but we don’t envy them—they’ve got some very big shoes to fill indeed.