EXCLUSIVE: Long shot and Warm bodies director Jonathan Levine is set to direct the popular sequel to his 1987 favorite film. Dirty Dancingwhich Lionsgate launches for the Cannes market next week.
In an exclusive interview with Deadline, Levine discussed the hot market package and revealed details about the film’s creative direction.
Levine is the co-author of the sequel, also titled Dirty Dancing, with Elizabeth Chomko. There are ongoing talks on the cast – the team has a shortlist of names to play the lead role – and the film is expected to go into production later this year and release in 2024. The cast is expected to be a combination of newcomers and famous actors.
Jennifer Gray may not be the only face from the original to return, Levine told us. “We’re going to talk to people soon and we’re investigating that,” 50/50 said the director.
“The most important thing for us was to have Jennifer on board. She is an invaluable collaborator. We will try to include as many people from the original as appropriate. We want to have respect in every way. ”
That includes an interview with Patrick Swayze’s estate, Levine said. “Johnny is part of Baby’s journey in the story.”
He told us: “This film exists in dialogue with the original. We want to introduce this story to a whole new generation. In addition, Johnny’s absence greatly overshadows the story, so it’s a story about coming of age, but in a way, the growing up of the Baby’s character. “
The music of the film will range from the songs from the original film (Hungry eyes is among the songs that will return) in hip-hop of the 90s. Levine also checked the names of Alanis Morisette and Liz Phair as performers whose songs might be present.
Levine was previously supposed to produce the project through his Megamix banner along with his production partner Gillian Bohrer, but the director has now decided to direct the film as well. Gray will also be the executive producer of the sequel.
“While the original Dirty Dance it has always been one of my favorite films, I never imagined I would direct a sequel, ”Levine said. “Through co-authored work, I fell in love with characters (new and old), the world of Catskills New York from the 1990s, and music that will range from songs from the original film to hip-hop from the 90s. I can’t wait to work with Jennifer to pass on this wonderful story of summer, romance and dance to a generation of new fans. And I promise those longtime that we will not ruin your childhood. We will tackle the task with sophistication, ambition and, above all, love. ”
A key element of the story in the original 1960s is Penny’s abortion, which came before the Roe v. Wade Act. In our conversation, Levine recognized the controversy caused by the recent leak of a document suggesting that the Supreme Court voted to delete the landmark Roe v. Tread decision. But it is unclear whether the theme will appear in the new film.
Dirty Dance is the best-selling library title in Lionsgate history. The 1987 original, starring Gray and Patrick Swayze, was a global hit at the box office and garnered a fire base of fans around the world.
Commenting on Levine’s appointment as director, Erin Westerman, Lionsgate’s production president, said: “Dirty Dance is more than a film – it is a cultural cornerstone that continues to be a rite of passage. As we approached the next chapter, we knew we had to respect the depth, relevance, and zeal of the original. We were lucky to have Jennifer as our guide and we are thrilled to have Jonathan at her helm, because everything she makes is textured and romantic – it always makes us shiver.