Jennifer Grey opened up about the Dirty Dancing sequel she is working on after Lionsgate announced the project back in August. While Grey plans to reprise her role from the beloved original 1987 film, Grey said no one could replace Patrick Swayze as Johnny Castle. Swayze died in September 2009 at age 57, following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
"All I can say is there is no replacing anyone who’s passed — you never try to repeat anything that’s magic like that," Grey, 60, told PEOPLE this week. "You just go for something different." Grey said the original film continues to endure, 33 years after it opened because it was "very genuine and simple." The film "was about innocence and the way that innocence is lost and how people explode into a different iteration of themselves."
Although Lionsgate has attempted to expand the Dirty Dancing franchise through other means, including the 2004 reboot Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, the buzz about a genuine sequel to Dirty Dancing started in July. The following month, Lionsgate, the original film's current rights holder, confirmed Grey would be starring in a follow-up and executive produce. The studio hired Jonathan Levine, who directed Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron's Long Shot, as the new director.
"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," Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said in August, reports Deadline. He confirmed the new film written by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis, who wrote The Curse of La Llorona and Five Feet Apart. There is no release date set.
Dirty Dancing remains one of the most well-known films of the 1980s, becoming a smash hit thanks to its iconic soundtrack. The film won the Oscar for Best Original Song for "(I've Had) The Time of My Life," while both Swayze and Grey were nominated for Golden Globes. Dirty Dancing is set in 1963, at an upscale Catskills resort where Baby (Grey) falls in love with her working-class dance instructor (Swayze) and clashes with her parents (Jerry Orbach and Jane Brucker).
The 2004 Havana Nights movie told a similar story, set in 1950s Cuba, and was a financial and critical flop. Lionsgate also produced a made-for-TV remake in 2017 that aired on ABC. The TV remake starred Abigail Breslin, Colt Prattes, Debra Messing, and Nicole Scherzinger.