Unlocking the Secrets of the Beloved Movie “Dirty Dancing”

Dirty Dancing is one of the most watched and loved movies of all time. There are so many special moments in this movie that you can’t ever forget it. There are the secrets about the movie you never knew, but here they are!

Val Kilmer as Johnny

Back in the day, Val Kilmer was a really big star. He had just been in the mega hit film “Top Gun” and had become very popular through this role.

Source: bridesblush.com

Well, the film as we know did exceptionally well and he actually expressed the he originally turned down the part because he didn’t want to be type-cast as a hunk. Instead, he took the “hunk” role in “Willow” in 1988 and it didn’t do very well. But, can you really see Val Kilmer as Johnny? We don’t think so either!

Cast Rivalries

Patrick Swayze actually had to convince Jennifer Gray to take on the role as Baby.

Source: express.co.uk

The reason was because she did not really like him after they were on the film “Red Dawn (1984) together.

Next: “It’s getting cold in here”

Freezing Temperatures

The famous lift is one of the most unforgettable scenes in movie history. What people don’t know is that the actors faced uncomfortable lengths to get this moment that was so perfect in time.

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The lake scene took place in North Carolina – while the rest of the movie was filmed in Virginia – and in October. The temperature of the lake was freezing! The actual reason that there were no close-ups of this scene because the freezing temperatures had turned their lips blue!

Proving Herself

Patrick Swayze wanted Jennifer Grey to play Baby in the movie, but she had to prove herself for the part. She was 10 years older than her character at the time, and her audition was just 5 minutes long so she really had to prove herself.

Source: listal.com

Lucky for her the 5 minutes was all she needed to prove herself!

Next: Mega-moneymaker

Attracting Cash

The producers of the movie made the right choice deciding to release the movie in theaters. The cost of the production was $5 million and made an enormous $214 globally.

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Just to prove what a right choice it was to release the movies in theatres and exposing it to a wider audience is the fact that decades on people still talk about this movie.

Not Really New York

People think the movie takes place in Upstate New York, but shooting actually occurred in Virginia and North Carolina.

Source: bridesblush.com

Also, the film was actually shot during autumn and the weather wasn’t as hot and they actually had to spray paint the leaves on the set to give the illusion that the film occurred during the summer.

Next: It runs in the genes

It’s In The Family

Jennifer Grey made a name for herself in her own right after appearing as Baby in Dirty dancing. What many people don’t know is that talent runs in the family.

Source: mirror.co.uk

Her father, Joel, is a famous Cabaret performer so it seems that dancing seems to be in the family.

Keeping The Image Clean

Producers originally asked famous therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer to play Mrs. SAchumacher in Dirty Dancing but she turned down the role.

Source: greeningz.com

She didn’t think the role would do good for her image as the role was that of a thief. Therefore, Paula Trueman replaced her.

Next: From screen to stage

Moving From Screen To Stage

In 2004, the screenplay of Dirty Dancing into a live musical titled, “Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage.”

Source: medium.com

The show did exceptionally well in Toronto, Chicago and Europe. Fans were elated to see their favorite characters come to life on stage.

Dirty Dancing Made Into a TV Show?

A spin-off show was made after the release of Dirty Dancing as it was such a huge success. Of course producers wanted to see if it would do well on the small screen.

Source: eonline.com

The series premiered in 1998, lasted 11 episodes and featured celebrities such as Paul Feig and Melora Hardin. Melora Hardin actually played TV’s baby.

Next: A sure hit

The Time Of His Life

Although, not sure at first, Bill medley decided to record the Song for “Dirty Dancing” and he says it changed his life.

Source: commonsensemedia.com

Three years later he sang another song in which Patrick Swayze acted alongside Demi Moore – the fantastic “Ghost.”

Jenn Loves Ryan Gosling

Jennifer Grey is a huge fan of Ryan Gosling. When she watched “Crazy, Stupid, Love”, she saw Gosling use the Dirty Dancing lift to romance Emma Stone.

Source: greeningz.com

Jennifer could not believe her luck. “I’m such a fan of Ryan Gosling and all of a sudden he’s saying my name [in the movie]. I’m just in the theater with my husband, and I look at him like, ‘Oh my God, Ryan Gosling just said my name.’”

Next: Fun-themed weekends

Dirty Dancing Themed Weekends

The movie was filmed In Pembroke, Virginia and since the movie did so well, they host 3 Dirty Dancing-themed weekends a year. So, what is included?

Source: tripadvisor.com

Well, they get a screening of the film, a watermelon toss, dinners, group dance lessons and a Dirty Dancing scavenger hunt. It sounds fun, fun, fun!!!

He’s Also A Singer

Also, we saw Swayze shake his groove as Johnny in Dirty Dancing, he also did other things in the film.

Source: telegraph.co.uk

It seems Patrick was what Hollywood calls a “Triple Threat.” He could act, dance but sing as well as he contributed to the movie’s soundtrack with “She’s Like The Wind.”

Next: Patrick said no

Patrick Said No

In Hollywood sequels are often made to movies that do exceptionally well – such as is the case with Dirty Dancing.

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Patrick Swayze was offered a cool $6 million to return to the sequel of the movie and he point blankly refused as he didn’t believe in sequels. Maybe it actually turned out better this way.

The Crawl Was Never Meant To Happen

Many fans will be shocked to find out that the scene where Patrick’s and Jennifer’s characters are crawling towards each other was actually never included in the script.

Source: theguardian.com

The actors were doing it when warming up and the directors saw it and decided to put it in the movie. Thank goodness they did as it is part of a memorable scene.

Next: Baby could have been “Carrie”

Sarah Jessica Parker

Believe it or not, Sarah Jessica parker also auditioned for the role of Baby along with many hopefuls.

Source: buzzfeed.com

In a way it’s good she never got it because we can all agree that Jennifer Grey makes the perfect “Baby.”

Borscht Belts Were Big In The 50s

Kellerman’s was located in the Catskills and is just one of the resorts referred to as the Borscht Belt. Those resorts in this category got the name because of the area’s popularity with Jewish-American families from the 1920s to the 1980s.

Source: housebeautiful.com

The height of their popularity was in the 1950s and 60s, but since the 90s, hundreds of these resorts have disappeared. Big names, such as comedians Joan Rivers and Jerry Seinfeld, started their careers these resorts.

Next: It’s all in the name

The Importance of the Right Name

Before the name “Dirty Dancing” was decided upon, it was nearly called “A Teenage Mumba Teen.”

Source: dailymail.co.uk

The reason for this was that the movie had trouble getting across the Canadian border with the name “Dirty Dancing” as border control thought it was an ‘adult’ movie. Can you imagine if the movie was called “A Teenage Mumba Teen”!

The Remake

There was a remake of the famous movie called “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.” It was not nearly as good as the original but it did prove to be a success.

Source: youtube.com

This remake is full of attractive people, Latin music, sensual scenes and is a definite must-see.

Next: A hit overseas

Eastern Europeans are Fans

The movie really impacted Eastern Europe. Bergstein (Dirty Dancing writer) revealed, “In Russia, it’s policy in the battered women’s shelters, when a woman comes in for help. First, they wash and dress her wounds, then they give her soup. Then they sit her down and show her Dirty Dancing.”

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“When the Berlin Wall came down, there were all these pictures of kids wearing Dirty Dancing T-shirts; they were saying, ‘We want to have what they have in the West! We want Dirty Dancing!’”

Too much Friction

Friction can be good or it can be bad. In this case, it was pretty bad. Thank goodness the chemistry between Swayze and Grey on set was really good because off set they didn’t really get on well.

Source: collegefashion.net

Swayze had said, “We did have a few moments of friction when we were tired or after a long day of shooting. She seemed particularly emotional, sometimes bursting into tears if someone criticized her. Other times, she slipped into silly moods, forcing us to do scenes over and over again when she’d start laughing.”

Next: A change in origin

All The Way To Ireland From Italy

For the role of Johnny, the producers considered Billy Zane because they wanted Johnny to be Italian-American.

Source: express.co.uk

The problem was that they needed someone who could really shake their hips and Billy Zane just couldn’t cut it. They decided to make the character Irish so Swayze would make a better fit.

Deciding on Dirty

Although they had the concept of the movie before filming began, it didn’t quite work when it came to developing the script. Finally, the producer, Lisa Gottlieb, asked Eleanor Bergstein to tell her about herself.

Source: directexpose.com

Bergstein responded, “I grew up in Brooklyn, my father was a doctor, I was one of those kids who used to go across the tracks to go dirty dancing.” The phrase struck Gottlieb who said, “That’s a million-dollar title! Now we’ll figure out the story.”

Next: A heartfelt story

There’s Emotion Involved

Swayze spoke about the real story behind Dirty Dancing in an interview, stating, “It’s not about the sensuality; it’s really about people trying to find themselves—this young dance instructor feeling like he’s nothing but a product, and this young girl trying to find out who she is in a society of restrictions when she has such an amazing take on things.”

Source: eonline.com

“On a certain level, it’s really about the fabulous, funky little Jewish girl getting the guy because what she’s got in her heart.”

Backed Into A Corner

“Nobody puts Baby in the corner!” may just be one of the most iconic lines in movie history. Surprisingly, Swayze didn’t want to say it.

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Once the film was released, however, he saw that it was a good idea to keep the line in the movie as it worked so well.

Next: Baby fears

Fear of Flight

The famous lift where Baby “flies” over the crowd was terrifying for Grey to do. Because of this fear she actually refused to carry on rehearsing it in their audition.

Source: marieclaire.co.uk

When it came to filming the iconic scene, it was only the second time they’d ever done the lift. They made sure to get it right as Grey was so scared of it.

So Much Giggling

In many movies there are scenes that are unscripted. Grey’s giggling, sfter being tickled, is one of them.

Source: directexpose.com

Swayze actually got really annoyed by it even though Grey explained that she is really ticklish and they decided to keep the entire scene in.

Next: Remakes don’t always work

Can’t Always Win

In 2017, a release of Dirty Dancing was made starring Abigail Breslin. The audience was expecting the magic of the first one to be repeated – which is obviously impossible.

Source: huffingtonpost.com

The film earned terrible reviews mainly because of Breslin’s lack of charisma as a dancer. All the iconic moments were there, but sadly easily forgotten.

Friends Were of No Help

When discussing whether or not Eleanor Bergstein’s dance partners could have been involved in the making of the film, she revealed, “My old partners are either in jail or out on parole … it was a very rough neighborhood.”

Source: myvue.com

The movie did actually turn out to be so iconic as the professional dancers chosen to be in the film were absolutely amazing!

Next: These songs rock

A Musical Hit

The film not only had great acting and dancing scenes but the soundtrack was out off this world. “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” made it to number one on the charts in 1987 and sold more than 50,000 copies.

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The song was even honored at the Grammy’s when Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes won the award for Best POP Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals. At the 1988 Oscars Dirty Dancing took the Oscar for Best Original Song. This was quite an accomplishment.

From Another Mother

Kelly Bishop, who was a dancer, was originally going to play the character of Vivian Pressman when casting began.

Source: closerweekly.com

Right before filming began, the original choice for Marjorie Houseman, Lynne Lipton, got sick so the producers decided to ask Bishop to fill in instead.

Next: It had to be re-released

Conan Affected The Re-Release

A decade after Dirty Dancing graced the screens, die-hard fans wanted to share it with their kids.

Source: denyce.info

Conan O’Brien was a leader to this call and got his viewers to write letters demanding the movie be re-released. The campaign worked and was released a second time in honor of its 10th anniversary.

Dirty Dancing Reflects The Writer’s Life

Screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein wrote Dirty Dancing with her own life in mind and for her own inspiration when it came to the storyline. During her life, she had also visited the Catskills, was nicknamed “Baby,” and learned to dance when she went to parties.

Source: princetoncomment.com

She began directing movies in 1995 and wrote “Let It Be Me” but has not directed anything since.

Next: Was it an “adult” film?

Is It A Bad “Adult Film”?

At first, when singer-songwriter Bill Medley first heard of “Time Of My Life”, he turned down the song as he thought it sounded like the start of a bad ‘adult’ film.

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Fortunately, the director convinced him otherwise and his life changed after making this amazing award-winning song.

Dirty Dancing Reality Show

In 2007, the U.K. premiered their own Dirty Dancing reality show, appropriately titled, Dirty Dancing: The Time of Your Life. The show was basically a dance competition, but contestants did have the honor of being judged by some of the actors from the movie.

Source: bridesblush.com

Since the spinoff show only lasted that two years and was not renewed for another, it seems that the Dirty Dancing moves were made primarily for the benefit of the film, and did not prove the same success in reality TV.

Next: A spotlight for your acting career

Wayne Knight Got Noticed

Wayne Knight’s acting skills were appreciated in the movie when he played the character of Stan in “Dirty Dancing.”

Source: youtube.com

Before showing up in this movie he was only cast in small TV shows. After the success of the movie he was cast as “Newman” on “Seinfeld.”

Direct To VHS

Not many knew that there was the actual possibility of the movie going straight to VHS. The producers considered this and thank goodness they decided otherwise.

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Because the movie was put on the big screen audiences were able to watch the chemistry between Johnny and Baby.

Next: The right wardrobe

Costume Geniuses

In every movie, costume choices matter in a big way. In the movie Baby was always dressed innocently in pastel colors while Johnny was always depicted in dark, black colors showing they came from two different worlds.

Source: brain-sharper.com

The choice worked well as we always remember Johnny in his slick black outfits while Baby looked so angelic.

Right Here Right Now

When it was time to shoot the movie, production was given a hectically tight schedule allowing only 2 weeks for rehearsal.

Source: digitalspy.com

The entire shoot was done over 44 days which was no time at all.

No matter what, the movie will always be remembered and One of Patrick Swayze’s greatest masterpieces of all!