'Footloose' Director Kenny Ortega Drops Out Of Project

Following in the footsteps of lead actor Zac Efron, who bowed out last spring, 'HSM' director reportedly had differences with studio Paramount.

Zac Efron was the first to bow out of the "Footloose" remake, and now director Kenny Ortega is also reportedly bidding farewell to the project. According to Variety, the director, who is also the man behind "Michael Jackson's This Is It," due out this week, pulled out after differences with the studio, Paramount.

Sources tell Variety that the director, who worked with Efron on all three "High School Musical" movies, didn't like the tone and budget laid out for him by the studio. Paramount, however, tells the site that the "change was made strictly over budget."

Ortega reportedly wanted to make an elaborate dance flick with a budget of around $30 million, but production chief Adam Goodman apparently wanted the flick to be edgy and not focus as much on the dance routines. He also wanted the budget to be closer to $25 million. Paramount has confirmed the budget dispute, and the studio said the budget will be even less than $25 million.

Production on "Footloose" was set to start in March 2010, with Chace Crawford of "Gossip Girl" in the lead and "Dancing With the Stars" pro Julianne Hough playing his love interest. The studio now says it's not clear when production on the movie will begin.

Ortega issued a statement about the dispute, saying, "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."

According to Variety, Paramount will begin to look for a new director this week. And reps for Ortega say he will also begin seeking other projects. Calls to reps for Ortega, Crawford and Paramount had not been returned to MTV News at press time.