Get ready to have the time of your life — again. Lionsgate is bringing its long-in-the-works, “Dirty Dancing” sequel to the Cannes Market. The “hot market package” is planning to begin production later this year and eyeing a 2024 release, Deadline reports. “What They Had” filmmaker Elizabeth Chomko penned the script with director Jonathan Levine.
Also titled “Dirty Dancing,” the sequel will see Frances “Baby” Houseman, played once again by original star Jennifer Grey, returning to Kellerman’s Catskills resort in the ’90s. “Like the original, the sequel will be a coming-of-age romance centered on the experience of a young woman at the summer camp, but Baby’s own journey will intertwine with this to create a multi-layered narrative,” the source teases.
“This film exists in a dialogue with the original. We want to introduce this story to a whole new generation,” Levine told Deadline. “That said, Johnny’s [the late Patrick Swayze’s role in the 1987 original] absence looms large over the story, so it’s a coming-of-age story but also a coming-of-age for Baby’s character in a way.”
No official word on Grey’s co-stars yet, but the film team has put together a shortlist of possible leads. The plan is for the cast to be a mix of newcomers and seasoned actors, and Levine hinted that Grey may be joined by other stars from the original.
Executive produced by Grey, the new “Dirty Dancing” will feature songs from its predecessor, like “Hungry Eyes,” as well as contemporaneous music, such as Alanis Morissette, Liz Phair, and ’90s hip hop.
“While the original ‘Dirty Dancing’ has always been one of my favorite films, I never imagined I would direct the sequel,” Levine said. “Through co-writing it, I fell in love with the characters (new and old), the world of 1990s Catskills New York, and the music, which will range from songs from the original movie to ‘90s hip-hop. I can’t wait to collaborate with Jennifer to bring this beautiful story of summer and romance and dancing to a generation of new fans. And to the longtime ones, I promise we will not ruin your childhood. We will tackle the assignment with sophistication, ambition, and, above all, love.”
Beloved by people of all ages around the world, 1987’s “Dirty Dancing” is “the best-selling library title in Lionsgate’s history,” Deadline notes. It was previously adapted as a 1988-1989 CBS series, and a remake, “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights,” was released in 2004.
“Dirty Dancing” is currently screening as part of Metrograph’s “It Happens to Us” film series, a curated program exploring abortion in America, as depicted on-screen. A pivotal plot point in “Dirty Dancing” is Penny’s (Cynthia Rhodes) pre-Roe v. Wade abortion, something she can’t afford or safely or legally access, yet desperately needs.