Chace Crawford Gets Efron’s ‘Footloose’ Spot

Popular “High School Musical” star had pulled out to avoid getting typecast in musicals.

Last Updated: May 20, 2009 @ 12:40 PM

Chace Crawford, best known for his role as Nate Archibald on the CW’s "Gossip Girl," has signed on to star in Paramount’s remake of "Footloose."

Crawford is replacing "High School Musical" star Zac Efron, who TheWrap learned in March had pulled out of the film because he did not want to perform in yet another musical. A production team member told TheWrap that Efron had script approval on the movie and used a rewrite on the screenplay as the loophole to get out of his contract.

Instead, Efron signed on for "The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud," a more serious drama that may stray him away from his teen heartthrob reputation. He will play a young man who takes a job as a cemetery caretaker where his younger brother has been buried. He meets weekly with his recently deceased sibling and starts dating a young woman believed to be missing in a sailing accident who is he unsure is real or an illusion.

Despite occasional serious roles in film and television series such as “NCIS” and “CSI: Miami,” Efron has earned superstar status by singing and dancing as Troy Bolton in the "HSM" series, the first two for television, the third a wide-release feature. He also played a singing, dancing teen in the 2007 musical “Hairspray,’’ a remake of the 1988 John Waters’ film, which became a Broadway musical.

"Before ‘High School Musical,’ I wasn’t a singer or dancer, or a basketball player even," Efron, 21, told reporters before the release of his most recent film, "17 Again." "It was fun to learn those skills and to do that. Now, it feels like it’s time, I’m ready to try something else. To be stagnant right now is not in my heart."

It had been rumored that Crawford would take over Efron’s slot, but a deal was only recently signed because the parties had to reach a compromise on filming around Crawford’s "Gossip Girl" production schedule, according to Variety. He is currently starring in "Twelve," a drama directed by Joel Schumacher.

"Footloose" is being directed and produced by Kenny Ortega and co-produced by Craig Zadan, a producer of the original "Footloose," as well as Neil Meron.