Kenny Wormald: JustJared.com Exclusive Interview!
Kenny Wormald is grabbing his dance shoes for another performance, but the venue this time is slightly larger – it’s the big screen!
The 26-year-old dancer, whose background includes tap, jazz, ballet, and hip-hop, will be starring as Ren MacCormack in the new Footloose remake hitting theaters this fall.
Kenny took time to chat with JustJared.com about taking on such an iconic role, his already impressive resume, and whose career in Hollywood he has his eyes on.
Click inside for JustJared.com’s exclusive interview with Kenny Wormald…
JustJared.com’s Exclusive Kenny Wormald Interview
JJ: We’ve been waiting for the trailer, but have you seen the full film yet?
KW: I have. I’ve seen it a couple of times and I just went to a screening with a full crowd. It played so well with a full audience at the private screening. It truly hit me last night to see the audience and how they reacted to it. It was really incredible.
JJ: What was the reaction like at the screening? Did they know you were there?
KW: Yes. It was a lot of friends and friends of Paramount and producers affiliated with the movie. Overall they were very happy leaving the theater and were coming up to me. I was just blown away by how everyone reacted. I mean, I [personally] felt great about the movie, but you never know how other people will react. I was so pumped it was crazy. My mom also got to see it because she happened to be in Los Angeles for a couple of days. It was pretty amazing, a pretty great night.
JJ: Let’s talk a little bit about your background because it wasn’t acting at first.
KW: Yeah, I started doing professional work as a dancer before I acted. I started dancing when I was 6. My mom signed me up for a dance class at a local studio cause I had tons of energy and I was trying to mimic Michael Jackson‘s moves and dancing to New Kids on the Block. I grew up in Boston and they were from Boston, so she signed me up for dance and within a couple of years I was taking tap, ballet, jazz, and I just fell in love with it and stuck through it until I was 18. I stayed at the same dance studio, training everything from drama to musical theater to tap, ballet, jazz, and hip-hop came around when I was a teenager and I just stuck with it and decided to move to California because I wanted to be in videos. I was inspired by, you know, when Justin [Timberlake] came out as a solo artist and Britney Spears‘ old videos with all the dancing. I was so moved by that. It’s pretty crazy. Here I am today. Full circle.
JJ: What about acting interested you?
KW: “I’ve alwasy been interested. I took drama as a kid and performing in dance shows. We wouldn’t just dance. We’d have acting and musical theater. I was pretty much around it my whole life. I’ve always been inspired by it. I’ve always wanted to be the guy who was in movies. I was a big fan of movies and nost just dance movies but movies of all types. When I moved to L.A., dance just kind of clicked first so I was going with what worked and what was going to pay my rent. I had certain gials as a dancer I wanted to reach and one of them was touring with Justin Timberlake and that opportunity came around a few years ago and I was just so stoked I had reached all these cool achievements. I was ready for a new challenge and ready to start focusing predominantly on acting and the Footloose audition came around and I had been training in classes, working with acting coaches, so I was prepared and ready to go. I think Footloose is a perfect opportunity for me to be on the big screen for the first time as an actor cause it has some acting in it, but what’s cool is that it’s not a typical dance movie. It’s a full on drama. There’s a full on storyline and the dancing accents it. That’s good since I want to continue to act and I don’t want to be stuck as this dancer kid who got a lucky break. I want to solidify myself as an actor and continue to work as an actor. I’ve always wanted to do it and now I’m getting to do it and I hope to just continue to grow.
JJ: Kevin Bacon’s name has already been mentioned. How have you approached playing a role that he made so iconic?
KW: Well I saw the original movie a ton as a kid and I was studying it during the audition process and I actually went into the audition and used my Boston accent. I put it on pretty thick just to be different from the other guys auditioning. In the original, [Ren] is from Chicago. He’s from up north and moves down south so I really wanted to make myself an outsider and feel like one when I walked into the audition room. Once I did that, they decided to keep that and change the location from Chicago to Boston. I think that was helpful for me, to be a bit different than what Kevin was. BUt at the same time he was so good and so amazing in the original, you don’t want to strain away from it. The director, Craig Brewer, he fell in love with the original one as all of us on the set did. We wanted to do right by him … We stayed true to the original, but we definitely added some elements to it to make it contemporary, make it modern, but definitely without getting too far from the original.
JJ: Any pressure at all taking on such a role?
KW: Yeah, definitely there’s pressure. Once I first booked it, I was like, OK, here we go. Not only do I have to do this movie but I have to do it right by the original fans. There’s a lot of people online who are already writing, ‘Why are they making a remake?’ Some people are stoked, some people are questioning it so there’s definitely the pressure about it. The great thing about working with Craig is that he rewrote the original script as well as directed it so he kind of took the pressure on himself. He let us do what we had to do. When we were on set we didn’t feel too much of that pressure. I feel like pressure comes from the outside world. When we were making it, we were so tapped into Footloose and [had this] tunnel vision for our film, so I didn’t feel that pressure while we were working, which is great becuase yu don’t want that to affect your performance.
JJ: Can you talk about working with Julianne. What was your first impression of her?
KW: First impression was great. Usually when you meet somebody [for the first time], you shake their hand, have coffee or something, a sit-down and talk, get to know them. Me and her? The first time we met was at the Paramount test screening. It was like, OK, we’re going to put on some music and see what happens. You two just go ahead and dance. So it was like, OK! Here we go! So we met on those terms and right away you’re bumping into each other dancing, stepping on each others’ toes. You have to let your guard down right away to be comfortable in a situation like that. It was actually a positive thing that we got to know each other so well off hand. There was no guard up, no wall up. No “hi, how are you doing?” It was like, boo, right away. And we continued that during filming and I still keep in touch with her. She’s an amazing girl and she absolutely kills this role. I think she’s going to continue to grow and do a ton of great things.
JJ: What was your best memory on set?
KW: “The cool thing about [filming] was a bunch of us were a young cast. Noe one was too famous or too big for anyone else so we all got along really well. We were in Atlanta, Georgia, for three months, going out the whole time. We had so many fun moments. It was truly like summer camp. When we were done filming, we were like, aww summer camp is over! Me and Miles [Teller], the guy who plays Willard in the film, became pretty much best buds right away and we keep in touch and I hang out with him in L.A. He lives down the street. Just to share that experience with someone who I can call a best friend, it was great cause I know it’s not going to be like that every set you’re on so I valued that 100 percent.
JJ: You’ve toured with some big artists and now have this big movie coming up. What’s your ideal next gig?
KW: I want to continue to make films and I want to continue to grow as an actor. Take on roles that don’t just involve dancing. I want to do a little big of everything. So I plan on working hard … and seeing how it all pans out. But I’m definitely planning on continuing to make films and hopefully be on the level one day like the other guys from Boston – the Matt Damons, the Ben Afflecks – a Good Will Hunting remake? [Laughs].
Footloose hits theaters Oct. 14!