Paramount fast-tracks ‘Footloose’

Zac Efron close to mid-seven-figure salary deal

After watching Zac Efron and director Kenny Ortega deliver a $42 million opening weekend for “High School Musical 3,” Paramount Pictures has fast-tracked “Footloose,” hoping to get the film ready for Efron and Ortega to start production next spring.

The studio has brought on “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” director Peter Sollett to rewrite the Jon Hartmere script and hired Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to join Dylan Sellers as producer.

Unlike “HSM3,” “Footloose” will aim for an older teen and adult demo. Efron is just about set in a deal that will pay him a mid-seven-figure salary and give him script approval.

Zadan and Meron are established producers of musicals “Chicago” and “Hairspray,” the latter of which was Efron’s first feature. Zadan also was a producer of the original 1984 “Footloose.” They join Sellers, who has put two years of work into the musical with Ortega.

While Sollett rewrites the Hartmere script, the studio is working on new songs that will complement some of the memorable original tunes. Though the Herb Ross-directed film wasn’t a musical, screenwriter Dean Pitchford wrote lyrics for songs that included the Kenny Loggins title song as well as “Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” “Almost Paradise” and “Holding Out for a Hero.” At least some of those tunes are expected to be in the new movie.

“Footloose” spawned one of the biggest-selling soundtracks of its era and made a star of Kevin Bacon.

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