'Grease' Prequel Lands a Director

The upcoming Grease prequel has landed a director. Deadline reports that the film, titled Summer Lovin', has hired Brett Haley to helm the project from a script by Leah McKendrick.

The film will zero-in on one of Grease's best-known songs, "Summer Nights," which details the summer fling that started the relationship between Danny (John Travolta) and Sandy (Olivia Newton-John). The original musical hit theaters back in 1978 about a pair of high school teens in the 1950s, the rebellious Danny and the buttoned-down Sandy, who, after having a brief summer fling come to find out they are attending the same high school. Despite the natural social divide, the two aim to make it work, often through big song-and-dance numbers.

The Paramount prequel marks the first major studio project for Haley, who'd previously directed indie films like The Hero and the musical family dramedy Heart Beats Loud. It's reported that he won the job not only for his passion for the film but also for his ideas for how he could update it for modern audiences, though it's worth noting that people still rally behind the original Grease after more than four decades.

Along with the upcoming prequel, the original Grease inspired a 1982 sequel, Grease 2, as well as and a musical made-for-TV remake, which aired live on Fox back in 2016. There's also a spinoff in development at HBO Max, titled Grease: Rydell High, which intends to "reimagine" the movie's themes while keeping it in the 50s. The series will feature a mix of musical numbers from the era and the original film, as well as new songs. However, the estates of songwriters Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey are not allowing the use of their contributions, which does include both "Greased Lightnin'" and "Summer Nights."

Back in January, 87-year-old Edd Byrnes, who was perhaps best known for his portrayal of Vince Fontaine in Grease, passed away. The Dick Clark-like character hosted the National Dance-Off at Rydell High, and fans of the film joined his former co-stars in mourning his loss over social media. Byrnes' son Logan revealed an official press release about the matter on Twitter. "It is with profound sadness and grief that I share with you the passing of my father Edd Byrnes," he wrote at the time. "He was an amazing man and one of my best friends."