Jonathan Levine will direct the Dirty Dancing sequel alongside executive producer Jennifer Grey, who starred in the 1987 original.
JONATHAN Levine will direct the ‘Dirty Dancing’ sequel.
The ‘Warm Bodies’ director “never imagined” that he would helm the follow-up to one of his “favourite films” and “can’t wait to collaborate” with the 1987 original’s leading lady Jennifer Grey, who brought to life Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman in the 1987 movie, which is Lionsgate’s highest grossing movie to date.
While talking about the movie – which is set for a 2024 release – the 45-year-old filmmaker told Deadline, “While the original ‘Dirty Dancing’ has always been one of my favourite films, I never imagined I would direct the sequel. 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.”
Jonathan – who also wrote the screenplay alongside Elizabeth Chomko and is producing with his partner Gillian Bohrer – believes that the “most important thing was having Jennifer on board” as executive producer on the movie that will showcase Baby’s own daughter’s coming-of-age story.
He said: The most important thing for us was having Jennifer on board. She is an invaluable collaborator. We’re going to try to involve as many people from the original as is appropriate. We want to be respectful in every way.”
The ‘Long Shot’ director also revealed that Patrick Swayze – who played opposite Jennifer as Johnny Castle and died of pancreatic cancer, aged 59, in 2009 – “is a part” of the plot.
Jonathan said: “Johnny is a part of Baby’s journey in the story.”
This film exists in a dialogue with the original. We want to introduce this story to a whole new generation. That said, Johnny’s 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.”
Erin Westerman, the president of production at Lionsgate told the outlet, “’Dirty Dancing’ is more than a movie – it’s a cultural touchstone that continues to be a rite of passage. As we approach the next chapter, we knew we had to honour the depth, the relevance, and the heat of the original. We’ve been lucky to have Jennifer as our guide and are thrilled to have Jonathan by her side at the helm, because everything he makes is textured and romantic – he always gives us goosebumps.”