Film director Kenny Ortega, whose Michael Jackson concert documentary This Is It opens Wednesday for a limited engagement, has bowed out of the upcoming Footloose remake.
Known for his work on the teen dance film franchise High School Musical, Ortega parted ways with Footloose studio, Paramount, because of creative differences over budget and tone, according to Variety.
"Coming off the extraordinary project, Michael Jackson's This is It, director Kenny Ortega has decided it is premature for him to commit to his next film and will not be moving forward with Footloose as previously reported," a statement from the director read.
Variety reports Ortega had envisioned the project as one with elaborately staged musical numbers and eyed a $30 million budget, but studio chiefs wanted to de-emphasize the song-and-dance nature of the film in favor of increasing the drama.
The remake of Kevin Bacon's 1984 classic about a teen who rebels against a conservative town's no-dance law, will be headlined by Gossip Girl's Chace Crawford and Dancing With the Stars alum Julianne Hough.
The search is on for a new director who can keep pace with Footloose's projected March 2010 production start date.