Chace Crawford to Star in Footloose

Chace CrawfordIt’s official! Chace Crawford will star in the Footloose remake, Paramount Pictures confirms to exclusively.

"Chace Crawford will play the lead role of Ren McCormack in the film Footloose," Paramount told Us Tuesday.

The news is expected to be officially announced to trade publications Wednesday morning.

The actor has been considering the part for some time but had yet to officially sign until this week. He had been in contract negotiations and was struggling to make filming work around his Gossip Girl schedule, which is also due to start shooting its third season, a source told Us.

Crawford was offered the lead role of small town bad boy Ren — portrayed in the 1984 original by Kevin Bacon — after Zac Efron dropped out of the project in March.

The High School Musical star said the film "sort of" wasn’t a good fit.

"I want to grow a bit with the types of movies I want to make," he said in April. "It was more along the lines that I was looking for a new challenge, and this was another musical."

Footloose will be produced and directed by High School Musical alum Kenny Ortega.

Other stars who have auditioned recently for the movie, which is set to begin shooting in March 2010, include Hayden Panettiere, Amanda Bynes and Dancing With the Stars pro dancer Julianne Hough.