Get ready to return to Kellerman’s! Lionsgate has officially announced that a sequel to the 1987 hit movie Dirty Dancing is underway, with at least one major character returning. Jennifer Grey is slated to reprise her role as Frances “Baby” Houseman, who famously fell in love with Patrick Swayze’s Johnny Castle in the original film. Baby will return to Kellerman’s, the same resort she visited all those years ago in 1963, except that the sequel will take place during the 1990s. Jonathan Levine (Long Shot) has signed on to direct. Grey will also be serving as an executive producer of the film.
The story will center around yet another young woman who will experience a coming-of-age romance at Kellerman’s, and who’s story will intertwine with Baby’s own journey. Levine confirms that the music of the film will includes hits from the original, ’90s hip-hop, and songs from artists “of the moment,” such as Alanis Morisette and Liz Phair. Negotiations are also underway to have other cast members of the original reprise their roles, with a planned mix of both new and old characters for the sequel.
Of course, Patrick Swayze will not be returning to the franchise, due to his tragic death from pancreatic cancer in 2009. However, Levine states that Swayze’s character will have a large presence in the follow-up. “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 way,” Levine said.
Dirty Dancing was a hit at the box office, becoming an instant romantic classic, and a cultural touchstone that continues to endure time. One of the major subplots of the original was having the character of Penny (played by Cynthia Rhodes) struggle in her attempts to get an abortion at a time long before the Roe v. Wade legislation passed. A timely subject that may or may not be featured in the sequel.
This will be the first sequel considered a direct follow-up to the original film. Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights was a lackluster prequel that was released in 2004 and only featured a cameo appearance by Swayze. The sequel to Dirty Dancing is tentatively scheduled to be released in 2024.