Unsuspecting watermelons and mambo instructors, take note: Baby Houseman is out of her corner and heading back to the dance floor.
Deadline confirmed Thursday that Jennifer Grey will executive produce and star in a new “Dirty Dancing” movie. The outlet last month was first to report rumors of the project, a followup to the 1987 smash in which Grey starred opposite Patrick Swayze.
Though details on the new movie are thus far scarce, the screenplay was written by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis. Director Jonathan Levine and producer Gillian Bohrer are also attached. It’s unclear whether the film will pick up where the iconic original left off or be a different concept entirely.
Lionsgate Entertainment CEO Jon Feltheimer, speaking to Deadline, said the new version “will be exactly the kind of romantic, nostalgic movie that the franchise’s fans have been waiting for and that has made it the biggest-selling library title in the company’s history.”
For those unfamiliar, 1987’s “Dirty Dancing” followed a bookish teen, Frances “Baby” Houseman (played by Grey), who falls in love with hunky, if rough-around-the-edges, dance instructor Johnny Castle (Swayze) while vacationing with her family at a Catskills resort in 1963.
Produced for just $5 million, “Dirty Dancing” opened to less-than-stellar reviews, but became a blockbuster, raking in more than $218 million at the global box office.
While many of the 1980s versions of ’60s fashions are laughable, the movie’s take on a number of hot button issues ― including abortion and social class prejudice ― was ahead of its time. And its gravity-defying “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” dance number has been replicated to varying degrees of success at wedding receptions around the world.
Previous stabs at reviving the “Dirty Dancing” franchise have been feeble, at best. 2004’s “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights” boasted a cameo by Swayze and, well, little else of significance. And the less said about 2017’s made-for-television remake starring Abigail Breslin and Colt Prattes, the better.
Just how the new “Dirty Dancing” will nod to Swayze, who died in 2009 of pancreatic cancer, remains to be seen. As for Grey, she steered clear of “Havana Nights” and turned down a role in the 2017 incarnation, so here’s to hoping her indelible presence will help “Dirty Dancing” find footing in the 21st century.
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