This summer, fans of Dirty Dancing learned that they would be having the time of their lives all over again, with Lionsgate officially confirming that a sequel to the 1987 romantic hit is in the works. Made famous by the infectious chemistry of stars Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, many wondered how the follow-up will approach Swayze's character, Johnny, following the actor's untimely passing in 2009. Well, Grey has now confirmed that there will be no attempt to recast the role, and that instead Dirty Dancing 2 will go in a different direction to its beloved predecessor.
"All I can say is there is no replacing anyone who's passed - you never try to repeat anything that's magic like that. You just go for something different."
No doubt Grey's assurance that Patrick Swayze and his legacy will remain intact, and that there will no efforts made to replace him or the character of Johnny, will please fans of both the actor and the movie.
The first Dirty Dancing follows Grey as Frances "Baby" Houseman who, while holidaying with her parents at a placid resort, becomes smitten with the resort's rebellious dance instructor, Swayze's Johnny Castle. Her father opposes their relationship which creates a rift between him and her. Directed by Emile Ardolino and starring Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Cynthia Rhodes, Jerry Orbach, Jane Brucker, Jack Weston, Lonny Price, and Kelly Bishop, Dirty Dancing has become something of a cultural staple, even all these years later. Grossing $218 million at the global box office off a $5M production cost, the movie won an Oscar and Golden Globe for the original song "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" by Frank Previte, John DeNicola and Donald Markowitz.
Along with the news that Jennifer Grey will reprise her role as "Baby", Dirty Dancing 2 will be produced by Jonathan Levine, whose previous directing credits include the Seth Rogen comedies 50/50 and Long Shot, as well as the 2013 zombie rom-com Warm Bodies. Levine will produce the project alongside Gillian Bohrer from a screenplay by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis (Five Feet Apart, The Curse of La LLorona). Jennifer Grey will also be executive producing. Currently, there is no word on who will direct, what the story will be, or any of the rest of the cast beyond Grey.
Lionsgate's CEO, Jon Feltheimer, has promised though that the sequel will be worth returning to the rhythmic world of Dirty Dancing saying, "It will be exactly the kind of romantic, nostalgic movie that the franchise's fans have been waiting for and that have made it the biggest-selling library title in the Company's history."
This newly announced sequel is far from the first attempt to continue the Dirty Dancing franchise, with the studio having already produced a prequel in 2004 titled Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, as well as a more recent TV movie remake. Both attempts failed to ignite the series in the way the studio had wanted, with the movies lacking enough connections to the beloved original to tempt audiences in. With what sounds like a straight-up sequel involving Jennifer Grey, along with the ongoing trend for 80s nostalgia and legacy sequels, the Dirty Dancing franchise could finally be taking the right steps. This comes to us courtesy of People.