Footloose and In the Heights Move Forward

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Variety is reporting that two previously-announced movie musicals are moving forward with key creatives having been hired to get both movies into production by the summer.

Firstly, Hustle and Flow director Craig Brewer has been tapped to helm Paramount’s remake of Footloose from his own reworked script. Brewer will have to find a new male lead since Chace Crawford has left the project due to conflicts with the filming of his CW show “Gossip Girl.” Brewer will begin recasting immediately with hopes to start shooting in the summer.

Meanwhile, Universal has brought on writer Marc Klein to work on the Tony-winning Broadway hit In the Heights, which was originally adapted by the show’s writer Quiara Alegria Hudes. He’ll be working closely with the musical’s creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who will reprise his starring role as a bodegi owner who inherits his grandmother’s lottery winnings with hopes to retire to a beach in the Dominican Republic, though he’s conflicted about leaving his Washington Heights neighborhood behind.

Hoping to start shooting in August in New York, presumably in some of the real locations, the movie will be directed by High School Musical‘s Kenny Ortega, who was originally attached to direct the Footloose remake ironically enough. Klein probably impressed Universal with his script for TMI, which he sold to the studio as a comedy vehicle for Ryan Reynods and Anna Faris.

Having had enormous worldwide success with Mamma Mia!, Universal is hoping In the Heights will be equally successful. It’s one of three movie musicals in the works, as they’re also developing a movie based on the Broadway hit Wicked and a new version of the stage musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, which was last brought to the screen in 1982, starring Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton.