Why Zac Efron Turned Down 'Footloose'

Zac Efron was offered a chance to be the next Kevin Bacon -- literally -- and he turned it down. On Tuesday, Efron, 22, told ET why he rejected the lead role in an upcoming remake of the '80s classic Footloose.

"There are so many factors that go into it; it was not an easy decision," Efron said from the set of his upcoming movie Charlie St. Cloud. "I like to keep it interesting with myself, to push the limits." Charlie St. Cloud, the film that got between Efron and Footloose, is a drama about a teenage boy who uses a summer romance to recover from his brother's death (see the trailer, below). It's not like any movie Efron has made before, which is kind of the point: "After going in that direction for a long time with High School Musical," the actor admitted, "this seemed like the more interesting choice."

While he must have been tempted by the role that made Kevin Bacon a superstar in 1984, Efron is smart to avoid doing the same kind of roles over and over. His first two post-High School Musical films -- 2007's Hairspray and 2009's 17 Again -- both kept Efron safely within his Disneyfied comfort zone. But he showed signs of breaking out with 2009's Me and Orson Welles, a little-seen indie that received rave reviews. Now he seems determined to prove himself as a legitimate actor, even rejecting ET's flattering comparisons to Brad Pitt:"Maybe in a couple years I'll deserve to be called that, but until then, I'm just Zac."

As for the Footloose remake, it's off to a wobbly start: after Efron turned it down, the lead role was accepted, then rejected by Gossip Girl's Chace Crawford before being given to unknown 25-year-old dancer Kenny Wormald.

Charlie St. Cloud opens in theaters on July 30.

Do you think it Zac Efron should have taken the lead in Footloose? Chime in below!


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