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It's Official: Chace Crawford's Gettin' Footloose

05/19/2009 at 07:10 PM EDT

It's Official: Chace Crawford's Gettin' Footloose
Chace Crawford
Jackson Lee/Ahmad Elatab/Splash News Online

Zac Efron

Zac Efron

Gossip Girl hottie Chace Crawford will be kicking off his Sunday shoes in the remake of Footloose, stepping into the void left behind when Zac Efron dropped out.

Crawford, 23, will play Ren McCormack, the rebellious dancing high schooler who launched the career of a then 25-year-old Kevin Bacon, Paramount Pictures has announced.

In a recent PEOPLE poll, readers were into the idea, but Crawford still trailed front-runner Derek Hough as a replacement for Efron (followed by David Cook and Bow Wow).

High School Musical star Efron told he passed on the role because he didn't want to be type-cast as the musical guy and was searching instead for "the unknown."

Footloose, to be directed by High School Musical's Kenny Ortega, is set to begin shooting in March 2010.

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