A Grease prequel is happening. Paramount Pictures has tapped screenwriter John August to pen the screenplay for the movie, titled Summer Loving, which will be based on the song Summer Nights from the original movie. This comes at a time when studios are desperate for franchises and name recognition, as it's becoming increasingly competitive in the marketplace. Any advantage a studio can attain, like attaching a movie to one of the most popular musicals of all time, for example, is one that they're not likely to ignore.
According to a new report, John August, who has notably collaborated with Tim Burton several times over the years, has been hired by the studio to pen Summer Loving. As it stands, details are somewhat scarce, but the prequel will reportedly tell the tale of the summer when Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson met, which was recounted memorably in the musical number Summer Nights in Grease. The song is sung by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John's characters as they recount the fling to their friends in their own ways. So, basically, the idea is to extend the tale told within that song of their fateful meeting to the length of an entire movie.
As for John August, he's a very accomplished screenwriter with a wide-ranging resume. His collaborations with Tim Burton include Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie. He's also worked on action movies such as the McG Charlie's Angels and the animated Titan A.E. This year, August is credited as one of the writers on Disney's live-action Aladdin, as well as the Guillermo del Toro-produced adaptation of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
Thanks to movies like La La Land, musicals have been given a bit of a boost in modern Hollywood. As such, it makes more than a little sense that Paramount would look to Grease for inspiration. The movie, originally released in 1978 grossed a staggering $396 million worldwide, working from a reported production budget of just $6 million. The soundtrack and its songs have remained a staple within the pop culture landscape in the years since. In 2016, it was turned into a live TV production by Fox. The studio did release a sequel, Grease 2, in 1982, which famously didn't live up to its predecessor and featured an almost entirely new cast, which included a young Michelle Pfeiffer.
Temple Hill (Love, Simon, First Man) will co-produce the movie along with Picturestart. At the present time, it isn't clear who could end up in the director's chair, nor is it clear just how soon this proposed prequel could actually enter production. It also isn't clear who could end up playing the iconic roles of Danny and Sandy, as portrayed by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John originally. We'll be sure to keep you posted as further details on the project are made available. This news was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.