Nowadays, when we think of Dirty Dancing, we can’t imagine anyone other than Patrick Swayze playing the gorgeous, smooth Johnny. However, to many fans’ surprise, Val Kilmer was director, Emile Ardolino’s first choice! Kilmer turned down the offer, though, and went on to star in Daniel Mann’s “The Man Who Broke 1,000 Chains”.
As stunning as Val Kilmer was back then, we’re happy Patrick Swayze eventually auditioned for the role and got it. Can you imagine Kilmer lifting up Jennifer Grey in the lake? Yeah, neither can we.
Grey Loves Gosling
The iconic lifting scene between Johnny and Baby remains popular to this day. In fact, the idea to revive that popular step in a different setting was manifested in the 2012 movie Crazy, Stupid, Love that starred Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. The two characters tried to re-enact the move, and Jennifer Grey happened to be with her husband in a theater when she first saw it.
She told Yahoo! How much of a fan she was of Gosling, and how shocked she was to hear his character mention her name in the movie. She looked at her husband, still surprised, and said, “Oh my God, Ryan Gosling just said my name. What’s going on?”
A Tragic Passing
Patrick Swayze was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer in 2008, after he complained about a burning sensation in his stomach. He was just filming an episode for The Beast, and the doctors gave him two weeks to live. He agreed to seek aggressive measures in dealing with his illness, and was put on an experimental drug. He also underwent chemotherapy.
As always, the actor came out fighting. He always assumed control over all kinds of challenges, and cancer was no different. He was a proud cancer survivor. But his disease would slowly but surely metastasize to his liver. He told his fans he was kicking it, but he was visibly pale, and dry-skinned, and bony. Sadly, he died on Sept. 14, 2009, just 20 months on from his cancer diagnosis. Patrick Swayze was just 57 years old.
The Original Writer is Seriously Thinking About a Sequel
Dirty Dancing inspired countless productions: A Broadway play, a British TV series, an American TV series, and the 2004 movie, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. However, an actual sequel has never been made and hadn't even been in the works, until 2017, when the movie's original writer, Eleanor Bergstein, revealed she was working on a draft. Despite the movie coming out in 1987, celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2017, many of the film's topics feel as relevant today as they ever were.
In an interview with E!, Bergstein said, “I always did think they had a future, I just wasn’t ready to go back into it…now I think I am ready to”. She claims that a modern version of Baby would portray women's equality, and the general theme of the film would certainly resonate with the immigrant rights and abortion issues that are bleeding into the social and political climate of our modern-day society. As Bergstein states, “I think every social issue would be hers...it feels intuitively right for me to do a sequel now, I think…I’m kind of drafting it out in my head.”
There Was an Actual Remake in 2017
In a time when it seems that most of the films taking over the silver screen are remakes of old classics, it seems strange that a Dirty Dancing one hasn't been done yet. But, in fact, there was an actual remake of the film in 2017, a fact that many people don't know since most probably haven't even seen it.
The 2017 remake was created by Wayne Blair and Jessica Sharzer, one of the main writers of American Horror Story. The film was created for television and aired on ABC in May of 2017. The movie is set in 1963, just like the original; it follows the same storyline and adds the element of an older Baby reflecting on the events of that magical summer. Johnny is played by Colt Prattes and Baby is brought back to life by Abigal Breslin, the brilliant daughter from "Little Miss Sunshine". Even Jennifer Grey was offered a part but turned it down.