Anyone who grew up in the 80s has been well served in recent years. Netflix’s hit Stranger Things sparked a flurry of retro movies and series trying to recapture the feel of that beloved era, and Top Gun 2: Maverick is set to be one of them later this year biggest cult hits of the 80s. But that’s not all: A new Dirty Dancing movie is shooting later this year and Jennifer Gray is returning in her starring role as Frances «Baby» Houseman.
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It has been known since 2020 that «Dirty Dancing 2» is coming, as well as the return of Jennifer Gray and the signing of Jonathan Levine («Warm Bodies», «Long Shot») as director. However, Deadline has now conducted an interview with Levine and was able to elicit some new information about the sequel.
Storyline, theatrical release & title of «Dirty Dancing 2»
All we knew so far was that Baby is coming back and the movie will be set in the 1990s . Levine revealed that the sequel will be another coming-of-age love story about a young woman at a summer camp. Logically, this is not a baby, but a completely new female main character, whose actress is still being cast, although there is already a shortlist of possible candidates. Their story will be interwoven with Baby’s own journey in a multi-layered storyline, Levine said.
The soundtrack will feature songs from the original while also featuring 90s hip-hop tracks. Contrary to what was initially announced, the screenplay was not written by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis («Three Steps To You»), but by Jonathan Levine and Elizabeth Chomko («What They Had»).
The film is simply titled «Dirty Dancing» and is already the second sequel to the cult hit. » Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights » from 2004 doesn’t really count, however, because the first attempt at a sequel (apart from a guest appearance by Patrick Swayze as a dance teacher) had no real connection to its predecessor.
The new Dirty Dancing, on the other hand, will now be a true sequel, so we’ll ignore the Havana chapter and, for the sake of simplicity, call the new film Dirty Dancing 2 — unless it has a distinct title of its own. «Dirty Dancing 2» is scheduled to hit US cinemas in 2024, but there is no exact start date yet.
Will Patrick Swayze’s Johnny return?
Patrick Swayze, alongside Jennifer Grey, the second big star from the cult original, unfortunately passed away in 2009. An appearance by Johnny in the sequel seems actually impossible. But a statement by Jonathan Levine makes you sit up and take notice:
“We want to involve as many people from the original as possible. We want to be respectful in every way,» the filmmaker tells Deadline , adding that part of the process is a conversation with Patrick Swayze’s family. «Johnny is part of Baby’s journey in the story,» says Levine.
Splendor Films Patrick Swayze as dance teacher Johnny in Dirty Dancing
So it seems quite possible that Johnny will appear in some form in «Dirty Dancing 2″. If that happens, the character is unlikely to be recast. It’s entirely possible that old footage or a CGI copy of Patrick Swayze could be used to bring Johnny back for a brief cameo. Both methods were also used, for example, to make the late Harold Ramis appear in » Ghostbusters: Legacy «.
If Johnny does show up in Dirty Dancing 2, it’s probably just a mini cameo in a flashback. Giving a dead actor a bigger part would be strange and morally questionable on the one hand, but not planned anyway, as Jonathan Levine explains:
“This film exists in dialogue with the original. We want to introduce the story to a whole new generation. However, Johnny’s absence looms over the whole story.” Patrick Swayze’s character doesn’t even have to appear in the film to have any influence on the plot. Baby’s experiences with her dance teacher were so formative that they will certainly resonate in the sequel even without Johnny’s appearance.
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