Dirty Dancing; do we want a sequel?

Arnojya Shree looks at rumours about a "Dirty Dancing" sequel, and why no-one can put the original in a corner.

Arnojya Shree
25th July 2020
10 years ago, when I was in high school and in my teenage prime, I absorbed fantastical rom coms like sweets and ice-cream in the aftermath of heartbreak. Dirty Dancing, however, counts as one of those classics I have seen a couple of times, and yet the indefinite charm remains.

Every once in a while, I come across the film again and realise how much I cherish its absolute suburban American cheesiness. Everything about the film is ultimately un-relatable to me; not only because I belong from a different nation and race but also because I belong to a generation that is a decade late coming to the film.

Released in 1987, Dirty Dancing is a romantic dance drama film starring Patrick Swayze as Johnny Castle and Jennifer Grey as Baby. Even if you are someone who has never seen the film, the phrase “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” must ring a bell. The film is set in the summer of 1963 when Baby and her family go to a Catskills resort for their vacation. Contrasting the uptight and lavish wealthy high-class family of Baby, stands Castle, the dance instructor of the resort who belongs from the crude reality of underpaid jobs and over-exploited hard work of a lower-economic class. The film follows the romantic collision of two different worlds; leading Baby to come out of her shell and Castle to learn how to get along with those who are a stranger to people like him.

Given the magic of the original classic, it is hard not to be excited when I heard about the plans of its remake.

Even though un-relatable and unidentifiable, the film holds a classic charm to it. From the risqué "Be My Baby" establishing the film’s title in its opening credits, to the infamous ending featuring “I’ve Had the Time of my Life”, every element has achieved an enormous fan following of its own. However, I have to admit, given the magic of the original classic, it is hard not to be excited when I heard about the rumours of its remake.

In collaboration with Lionsgate, Jennifer Grey is planning the next film, which she would star in as well as executive produce. Along with Grey, Jonathan Levine and Gillian Bohrer are also collaborating on the project. The screenplay is supposedly undertaken by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis, whose successful collaboration was seen in the 2019 film Five Feet Apart (dir. Justin Baldoni).

Image credit: IMDb

With such a fantastic team, it is exciting to think about what Grey and others might come up with. Especially considering that the film would include its original star in a sequel more than 20 years after its initial release. Given the fantastic songs included in the original movie, featuring hits like “Hungry Eyes” and “Love is Strange”, the stakes are pretty high as the film has inevitably set expectations for an even better soundtrack for its sequel!

Fans of the film hope that the sequel would incorporate more representation

It would also be exciting to see the time and space in which the story would be set, (including the cast and crew) since popular culture has changed a lot around the world since 1987. The original film included an exclusively white cast, with a restrictive setting emphasising an American suburban class. Fans of the film, including myself, hope that the sequel will incorporate more representation with an inclusive cast and crew, be it in terms of gender, race or sexuality.

We can only hope that the film goes outside the boundaries of a suburban America and allows itself to have a story worthy of being identified by its beloved and diverse range of audiences worldwide.

Featured Image: IMDb

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