Make no mistake, “Footloose” never was, nor is now, the candy-coated, PG, Glee-esque, song and dance fluff of your average High School Musical or Step Up film. Craig Brewer (director of such gritty films as Black Snake Moan and Hustle and Flow) and his cast of newbies (save for film veterans Andie MacDowell and Dennis Quaid) discuss their side of the Footloose fence and why audiences will love the remake. Some purists never wanted another version made but, as the head of Paramount told Brewer, this film is for the next generation of filmgoers. In my opinion, it’s also for the purists who can appreciate a well-made new take on an old favorite.

Brewer wasn’t completely convinced now was the time to do a remake of Footloose and even turned down the studio twice. On his way to a bachelor party in New Orleans by way of Memphis, driving through a swamp with low visibility, he got another call from Adam Goodman, head of Paramount. That night Brewer had an epiphany that gave him the human connection he needed to make the film.

“I gotta really entertain the audience for like three minutes, where they hear that Kenny Loggins music and they start bobbing their head and they think ‘oh yeah, it’s this dance confection that we want it to be.’ And then I have to kill them,” Brewer said with an emphatic fist to his palm.

That’s when he said he had his human connection. He realized as a father of a 10 and 3 year old, he could identify with the parents of Footloose’s Bomont and the restrictive rules imposed after the death of a carload of kids. “I think things I never thought before. I’m protective in ways I never thought I would be,” Brewer said about being a father.

Brewer cast model, actress and mother of three, Andie MacDowell, as Vi, the preacher’s wife and mother of wild child Ariel (Julianne Hough). MacDowell said the only advice Brewer gave her on how to approach the role was to be “a little more lively, not quite as repressed–contemporary.”

MacDowell, who began her acting career around the same time as 1984’s Footloose, recalls when she first saw the original film and her thoughts when watching it recently to refresh her memory. “I remember thinking it was really radical and it’s kind of funny watching it because it’s not nearly as radical watching it now as it was when it first came out. Which is what they needed to update it and make it somewhat more contemporary because the world is even crazier than it was.”

Vi’s husband, Rev. Shaw Moore, is played by Dennis Quaid (John Lithgow in the original). MacDowell said of her co-star and onscreen husband, “I’ve worked with [Dennis] before in ‘Dinner with Friends,’ so we’ve joked that we’ve already been married. So, we’re an old married couple. That element helped.” She then proudly declares she’s one degree from Kevin Bacon, having worked with him in “Beauty Shop.”

MacDowell is also one degree from Kenny Wormald, the dancer turned actor who won the lead role of Ren McCormack after Zac Efron and then Chace Crawford dropped out. Wormald, whose natural Boston accent was used in the film, is so perfectly suited to the role, it is hard to imagine a teen idol in his dance shoes.

“I knew Kenny because my daughter was a dancer and I knew him from the dance world. All the little girls adored him and I think the great thing about Kenny and what he has to offer is he’s truly a great dancer and that’s when he’s going to steal your heart,” said MacDowell. She goes on to describe how genuine Wormald is, adding, “There is not a mean bone in his body and he’s no ego. And he’s such a good person. I hope for him that he becomes a big star and Julianne too.”

Wormald is no stranger to feeling like he doesn’t belong. Just as his character Ren is an outsider, Wormald recalls, “I used to get made fun of for dancing. It was like this weird thing. In the town I grew up in, I felt like an outsider.” Of course with his dancing and subsequent acting success he adds, “Things changed and now they’re not making fun of me. That’s for damn sure.”

Most people know Wormald’s love interest in the film, Julianne Hough, as a Dancing with the Stars alumnus and winner of several of its coveted mirror ball trophies. The petite blonde and youngest of five is a ballroom dancer extraordinaire, country singer, actress and girlfriend to similarly career driven Ryan Seacrest. She is also barely 23 years old. She plays Ariel, the troubled preacher’s daughter who is in the midst of a teen angst rebellion against her town’s and her father’s stringent rules.

Regarding her character’s rebellion and explosive argument during the church scene, Hough said, “That was very real for me. It came a little bit natural to me to say all those things and to feel those emotions.”

Hough was attached to Footloose when director Kenny Ortega was at the helm and before Paramount decided they wanted to go a different route. When Brewer came on board, Hough wasn’t certain she would still be the first choice as Ariel. “I went and talked to [Brewer] and convinced him, and fought for it. And I did a whole scene for him, and basically cried my way into the role. He hired me then, on the spot,” Hough said.

Miles Teller, has never seen the original Footloose but his first play in high school was coincidentally Footloose. Teller continues Chris Penn’s legacy as Willard, the awkward, brawling cowboy with a heart of gold.  On his character’s two left feet Teller said, “You have to be smart to play dumb.”

Like Willard, Teller was into sports and had no aspirations of pursuing the arts until he got up in front of an audience for a school play. Teller said, “Getting on stage and getting that first laugh was infectious.” The rest is history and Teller’s star is rising with two major films in the works. He will be in Project X, which he is sworn to secrecy about, and he recently wrapped filming a comedy from the makers of the Hangover, 21 and Over.

Willard’s sweet yet headstrong girlfriend, Rusty, is played by newcomer Ziah Colon. Colon was an avid fan of the original movie and admitted to having seen it multiple times. She has two words to describe why: “Kevin Bacon.” Her soft southern twang hints at her Atlanta upbringing and her cheerful and spunky demeanor is perfect for the Sarah Jessica Parker role she reprises. On recreating the role of Rusty, Colon said she tried to not be influenced by the original. “I tried to keep her essence but still create my own tendencies and habits,” she said. Her hope for what audiences will take from the film is, “find your own voice.”