Page last updated at 08:09 GMT, Thursday, 22 October 2009 09:09 UK

Gossip Girl star hits dance floor

By Tim Masters
Entertainment correspondent, BBC News

Chace Crawford
Crawford plays wealthy teenager Nate Archibald in Gossip Girl

Actor Chace Crawford is training in New York for movie remake Footloose, while simultaneously recording the latest episodes of hit series Gossip Girl.

"He's doing dance training and physical training," Footloose director Kenny Ortega told the BBC.

"We have a great teacher working with him there - he wanted it, he loves it."

The 24-year-old star will play Ren McCormack, the lead role made famous by Kevin Bacon in the 1984 film about a small town where dancing is banned.

High School Musical star Zac Efron had originally been lined up for the lead role, but dropped out in March 2009.

Efron apparently pulled out because he felt the film was too similar to the High School Musical series.

'Sizzle'

Ortega, who directed all the High School Musical movies, said Crawford had been in preparation for the role for months - even though shooting doesn't begin until next March.

"We just did a big scene from the movie, just as a little sizzle, a little test - a place for us to stretch together, he was dancing in it and he's going to be great."

The director was speaking in London ahead of the launch of the film This Is It - which is based on footage from rehearsals for Michael Jackson's London comeback concerts. Ortega was Jackson's choreographer.

"We have a great script, we have Chace, Julianne Hough, and an excited studio.

"About a week ago I did a big test that was very successful," Ortega added.

Footloose is due to start filming in March 2010, with an anticipated summer release date.



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