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Zac Efron Bails on Paramount’s ‘Footloose’

After three ”High School Musicals“ and ”Hairspray,“ he’s afraid of being typecast as the cute song-and-dance man.

Zac Efron wants to be fancy free, but apparently not footloose, TheWrap has discovered.

The teen-throb star of Disney’s first three “High School Musical” films, has pulled out of Paramount’s planned remake of “Footloose,” in an apparent effort to stretch his career beyond fame as just a cute song-and-dance man.

Efron told the studio last week that he did not want to do another musical at this point in his career, according to a senior member of the production team.

The 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: “People had been working on this project since last July — we were all shocked.”

Said Paramount, in a statement to TheWrap: "Footloose is a project we’ve longed to see re-booted for a new generation. While Zac is no longer attached, we remain excited and committed to the collective brain trust of Kenny Ortega, Neil Meron and Craig Zaden, who will reinvigorate the franchise. Their fresh take on the film will undoubtedly be filled with the same kind of breakout performances that we’ve come to expect from them.”

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.

And earlier this month, along with his “HSM” co-star and girl friend, Vanessa Hudgens, he joined Hugh Jackman in a song and dance number during the Academy Award presentations.

Seems enough of that is enough for the young actor.

Efron’s effort to play a more serious role was slated to get a big boost last year with the release of  “Me and Orson Welles,” a drama with Claire Danes, directed by Richard Linklater, in which he plays a Broadway actor who has a chance meeting with Welles in 1937. The film, scheduled for 2008, has not yet been released.

The new “Footloose,” a remake of the 1984 Kevin Bacon starrer, was to be directed by Kenny Ortega, who directed all three “High School Musicals” and was slated to begin shooting this spring in Atlanta, with a targeted release date in 2010. The budget was well over $20 million.

While Disney is planning a “High School Musical 4,” Efron is not expected to be a part of it.

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