It’s been 35 years since somebody put Baby (Jennifer Grey) in the corner, and audiences no doubt have “Hungry Eyes” for a sequel.
Ahead of this year’s Cannes market, “Long Shot” and “50/50” director Jonathan Levine confirmed he will be directing the “Dirty Dancing” sequel for Lionsgate.
Original lead star Grey will reprise her role of Frances “Baby” Houseman as she returns to family camp Kellerman’s in the 1990s, as Deadline reported. Similar to the 1987 iconic film, the upcoming “Dirty Dancing” installment will focus on a coming-of-age romance, but Baby’s personal story will intertwine for a multi-layered (and multi-generational) narrative.
Director Levine co-wrote the sequel, which is also titled “Dirty Dancing,” with Elizabeth Chomko. Casting is reportedly underway with production slated for later this year; the film is eying a 2024 release date. Grey may also be joined by fellow original cast members, as Levine told Deadline that they are “exploring” a full-fledged reunion.
“The most important thing for us was having Jennifer on board. She is an invaluable collaborator,” Levine said, sharing that Grey will also executive produce. “We’re going to try to involve as many people from the original as is appropriate. We want to be respectful in every way.”
The late Patrick Swayze’s character Johnny will also be incorporated into the plot, as Levine noted production is in talks with Swayze’s estate. “Johnny is a part of Baby’s journey in the story,” Levine said. “This film exists in a dialogue with the original. We want to introduce this story to a whole new generation. That said, Johnny’s absence looms large over the story, so it’s a coming-of-age story but also a coming-of-age for Baby’s character in a way.”
“Dirty Dancing” is expected to include songs from the original film, as well as ’90s hip-hop and pop. Levine, who also serves as producer, teased that Alanis Morisette and Liz Phair songs will be featured.
“I can’t wait to collaborate with Jennifer to bring this beautiful story of summer and romance and dancing to a generation of new fans,” Levine summed up. “And to the longtime ones, I promise we will not ruin your childhood. We will tackle the assignment with sophistication, ambition, and, above all, love.”
“Dirty Dancing” previously was remade into an ABC Family (now Freeform) original musical movie in 2017. Spin-off prequel “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights” was released in 2004, and starred Diego Luna, Romola Garai, Sela Ward, January Jones, and John Slattery, plus a cameo by Swayze.