For fans of the hit 1980s classic Dirty Dancing, it’s hard to imagine that the movie has been around for over 30 years! The film was an unlikely hit with it’s miniscule budget. And has maintained a strong legacy in the days since it’s original release. Actress Jennifer Grey counts herself among the many who were surprised by what a huge deal the film turned out to be, and she loves talking about it today! There’s plenty about the iconic coming-of-age movie that even the most diehard fans might not know. And the best way to learn is to go directly to the source. Join Facts Verse as Jennifer Grey reveals untold secrets of Dirty Dancing.
Jennifer Grey Believes That Fate Had a Hand in Dirty Dancing’s Production
When Dirty Dancing was first entering into production, few involved in the picture had any idea of the kind of impact the movie going to have on popular culture. After 35 years, the movie is still nearly as popular today as it during the height of it’s box-office success. There many things that came together to make the film as special as it is. And actress Jennifer Grey attributes most of these things to fate.
Though Dirty Dancing was released in 1987, it’s story takes place in 1963. The film centers on the character of Frances “Baby” Houseman”, portrayed by the aforementioned actress Jennifer Grey, and the character of Johnny Castle, portrayed by an unforgettable Patrick Swayze. Johnny is a dancing instructor. And the film revolves around him trying to teach the character of Baby how to dirty dance. The film takes place at a summer resort in the Catskills Mountains.
Dirty Dancing Made Over 40 Times It’s Budget Back at the Box Office Upon It’s Release
Dirty Dancing was filmed on a decidedly modest budget of around $5 million. And it went on to gross well over $200 million at the box office. Of course, this was quite the hefty profit! Many of these ticket sales came from fans that were so taken by the film that they kept going back to the theater again and again. Few could’ve predicted what a major success the film was going to become. In fact, there were some who thought the film was going to be a failure!
Patrick Swayze was infamously advised against taking his role in Dirty Dancing. Though he thankfully ended up going through with it. The actor’s manager thought that it was the wrong move for his client’s career. But Patrick’s role in the film has undoubtedly gone down in history as one of the actor’s most iconic. Besides Patrick’s role in Road House, there are few other roles that will first pop up in someone’s mind than Johnny when they hear the actor’s name. Join Facts Verse as Jennifer Grey reveals untold secrets of Dirty Dancing.
Patrick Swayze Was a Professional Dancer, but Jennifer Grey Was Not
Patrick had a professional dancing background, having grown up as a ballet dancer. Meanwhile, his female costar in Dirty Dancing was someone who embodied the dancing spirit more than having any professional knowledge of it’s art. However, this arguably made Jennifer Grey the perfect choice to play the character of Baby. Just as Patrick’s character of Johnny can be seen guiding Baby to become a better dance in the film. Patrick also helped Jennifer Grey become a better dancer during the picture’s filming.
As compared to Patrick Swayze, who almost didn’t even take his, Jennifer Grey was incredibly grateful for the opportunity to play such a big role in Dirty Dancing. Jennifer had been in several notable pictures beforehand. She had played the titular character’s nosy sister in 1986’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. And she had also previously appeared alongside Patrick Swayze in a film, with that being 1984’s Red Dawn. For her role in Dirty Dancing, Jennifer was said to have beaten out such staggering competition as Sarah Jessica Park, Winona Ryder, and Sharon Stone. As with Patrick Swayze in the role of Johnny Castle. A few could argue that Jennifer Grey wasn’t the right choice to portray the character of Baby in the film. Join Facts Verse as Jennifer Grey reveals untold secrets of Dirty Dancing.
It Was Typically Very Cold on Dirty Dancing’s Set
Dirty Dancing is supposed to take place during the summer, but the film was actually shot during the fall. In addition, it wasn’t shot anywhere near the Catskills Mountain, and the set was certainly no summer resort! Dirty Dancing was actually shot within the states of North Carolina and Virginia. Given the oftentimes-volatile conditions in these states during the fall, the weather was a burden. Jennifer Grey claims that there were times during the shooting of the picture when it would be as hot as 100 degrees out. Though temperatures were predominantly much lower. The temperature would typically be only around 40 degrees.
As one might imagine, the predominantly cold temperatures made it very hard for Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze to film the scene where the characters of Johnny and Baby are practicing their iconic jump while in the water. The water temperatures were incredibly cold, though the two stars had to act as if the water was comfortable. As a result of the blue lips that the actors began to receive during filming, close-ups weren’t allowed. Thankfully, the two stars managed to persevere. However, temperature wasn’t the only issue on the set of the film. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! Also, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
Crewmembers Thought That Dirty Dancing Was Cursed
In addition to it being incredibly cold throughout most of Dirty Dancing’s filming. There was also the matter that so many mishaps and injuries occurred on the film’s set that crewmembers began to believe the production was cursed. One of the more notable incidents occurred when Patrick Swayze was filming the scene where he balances on a log. Apparently, the actor hurt his knee so badly that he almost had to leave the production! Another incident saw Jennifer getting stung by wasps.
Besides these injuries that Jennifer and Patrick Swayze received, there were also other injuries on the set of the film. On one occasion, a set decorator fell off of the ladder that he was standing on. On another occasion, the film’s assistant director broke her wrist. Finally, there was a wardrobe assistant who broke one of her toes. Besides these injuries, there was also a bout of food poisoning that broke out on the set amongst various crewmembers as a result of the film’s catering. Join Facts Verse as Jennifer Grey reveals untold secrets of Dirty Dancing.
Jennifer and Patrick Didn’t Always Get Along
A big part of Dirty Dancing’s appeal was the apparent chemistry that Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze exuded when they were on the screen. However, according to Jennifer, this chemistry wasn’t mirrored in real life. The two weren’t unfriendly, but they were relatively awkward around each other. In addition, there were more than a few occasions where the comparatively professional Patrick Swayze got frustrated with Jennifer on set as a result of the latter’s inability to get a scene done on time. On one occasion, an instance of Patrick getting upset at Jennifer’s spontaneous laughter during a dancing scene was kept in.
Although Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze didn’t always get along, there was a reason that they were picked to perform together in the film. Apparently, the two had done a screen test before the movie’s filming that had lit up the room with their latent chemistry. When Jennifer and Patrick had a hard time replicating that chemistry on the set of the film. The director was said to have made them watch footage of the screen test in hopes that it would bring the chemistry back.
The director’s choice to make Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze watch footage of their screen test paid off. And the stars were able to get the job done. Jennifer believes that the tension between her and Patrick on the set of the film helped make the movie more interesting. The two played characters from different walks of life. And their real-life differences created palpable tension that audiences picked up on. Instead of hurting the romance in the film, the tension actually helped make the romance just a tad bit spicier! Join Facts Verse as Jennifer Grey reveals untold secrets of Dirty Dancing.
Jennifer and Patrick Were Older Than Their Characters
In Dirty Dancing, the character of Baby is supposed to be 18 and the character of Johnny is supposed to be 24. In real life, the stars that played the characters were 26 and 34, respectively. Thankfully, the two stars managed to give their performances their all. And convince audiences that they were actually two young dancers at a summer resort in the 1960s. And not two much older performers that were nearly freezing to death in North Carolina during the 1980s.
Dirty Dancing Almost Wasn’t Called Dirty Dancing
Besides the chemistry of it’s leads, it’s also arguably that a big part of the appeal of Dirty Dancing comes from the lurid nature of the picture’s name. The name has become as iconic as any other aspect of the film. Though censors initially balked at the prospect of allowing the studio to call the film Dirty Dancing. The studio apparently had to push hard for the film to retain the title that the producers decided upon.
Patrick Swayze Hated One of the Film’s Iconic Lines
Another iconic aspect of the movie that producers had to fight for during the filming of Dirty Dancing was the classic line “nobody puts Baby in the corner”. However, it wasn’t censors that were angry about this line, but Patrick Swayze himself! Patrick apparently thought that the line was really stupid, but the producers insisted that the line stay in.
No One Wanted to Sing the Theme Song!
One final thing about Dirty Dancing that almost didn’t work out the way the producers wanted was the song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”. The movie’s musical producers approached many different artists to sing the song for the film, but no one wanted to do it! In the end, it ended up being Bill Medley who sang the song. Bill was a member of the musical group the Righteous Brothers, and the song ended up becoming a massive hit. Other artists that had been approached to sing the song but turned down the offer include Lionel Richie, Daryl Hall, and Kim Carnes.
Dirty Dancing has been around for 35 years. But there’s still plenty to discuss about the classic 1980s film that fans might not know. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that the censors almost didn’t allow Dirty Dancing to be released with it’s original title. And that the film made over 40 times it’s budget back at the box office? As always, like this video to show your support. And subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!