Cast, timeline, plot: What to know about the ‘Dirty Dancing’ sequel
Dirty Dancing was more than your cliche 80s rom-com – from its memorable soundtrack featuring the Oscar-winning “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” to its sexy, transgressive dance numbers. This addictive film didn’t take long to become cemented as a cult-classic on every “must see” movie list.
Over thirty years after the original, we’re excited to announce Lionsgate Films is dropping a sequel. We can’t be more excited to experience a contemporized follow-up – one we’ll hold, unashamedly, to some high expectations. From casting to a timeline of its release, here’s everything you should know about Dirty Dancing, the unnamed sequel.
Dirty Dancing sequel: Kept under wraps
Dirty Dancing was an 80s phenomenon – a tale of forbidden love between a muscular dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) and a young woman, nicknamed “Baby” (Jennifer Grey) marooned at a woodland resort with a couple of stiffs – Baby’s uptight parents (Jerry Orbach & Kelly Bishop).
Whether or not you’ve elected to view the film in its entirety, we doubt you’ve never witnessed a clip or meme of Dirty Dancing’s most iconic scene: Johnny lifting Baby over his head in a final dance number, cementing their love in a glorious act of rebellion before Baby’s parents – who warm-up to the couple because, hey, it’s an 80s film.
Details on the sequel’s plot remain widely unavailable, but Lionsgate Films CEO Jon Feltheimer promised, “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.”
Feltheimer reportedly went on to call the news of the Dirty Dancing sequel, “one of the worst kept secrets in Hollywood.” The success of the original helped launch everything from TV remakes to a 2004 spin-off titled Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights – though none of these productions have experienced the same enduring success.
The brains behind Dirty Dancing’s sequel
Assigned to the daunting task of directing the film is Jonathan Levine. You may know Levine best from his collaborations with Seth Rogen, including such films as Long Shot (2019), The Night Before (2015), and the critically-acclaimed drama, 50/50 (2011).
Also reported to be assisting Levine is director Gillian Bohrer – Levine’s partner at Megamix Productions. Bohrer is also a successful studio executive who has overseen films such as the Oscar-winning La La Land (2016) and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012).
The Dirty Dancing sequel’s screenplay is being worked by screenwriters Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis. You may recognize Daughtry from her popular YA fiction novel, Five Feet Apart (2018), also adapted into the 2019 film by the same name. Iaconis worked alongside Daughtry on both Five Feet Apart and the 2019 film The Curse of La Llorona.
Dirty Dancing sequel: The mysterious cast
Sadly, as screen-veteran Patrick Swayze died of pancreatic cancer in 2009 at the age of fifty-seven, he will not be appearing in the film. Even with CGI breakthroughs and digital renderings, Johnny Castle will have to remain dancing in our hearts. Orbach also passed in 2004 from cancer, leaving yet another gap for potential returners.
Bringing up the rear with some better news, Jennifer Grey will be returning as both a prominent character and an executive producer for Dirty Dancing’s sequel. Grey’s close involvement offers a shimmer of hope for the potential of what the sequel could become, and may be just enough to win over some skeptical fans of the original.
Dirty Dancing sequel: Waiting for another time of your life
Recalling the success of the original Dirty Dancing – a blockbuster earning over a $208 million profit at the global box office – the recent pandemic isn’t likely to allow the film to produce the level of financial success. A one-off streaming release won’t likely be enough to secure interest from the original’s audiences either.
As you could’ve predicted, the film’s will not be coming this year, as was the original plan for its secretive release. According to The Guardian, a “Secret Cinema immersive screening” occurred back in 2016, preparing for the film’s initial 2020 release in theatres.
Instead, you can expect to line up for the summer hit in July 2021. Anticipate more details about the film to be available as we inch closer to its release, with teaser trailers we can’t wait to scour for homages to the original. Until then, the Dirty Dancing sequel remains an exciting mystery, and one of the better film stories to emerge from 2o2o.