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Jennifer Grey: ‘Dirty Dancing’ Sequel Is ‘Tricky’ Without Patrick Swayze

“Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” Decades after the original film’s release, Dirty Dancing is returning with a highly anticipated sequel.

The 1987 classic followed Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey) as she spent the summer with her family at Kellerman’s resort in the Catskills. During her stay, she falls in love with the camp’s dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze). Between romance and now-iconic dance routines, the story tackled real-life issues like abortion and classism.

“I believe the basic theme of the movie is everybody wants to be seen as being more than what they might appear to be at face value,” the Ferris Bueller’s Day Off actress told Women’s Day in December 2020. “It’s the idea that transformation is possible with the synergy that happens when somebody else sees something in you that you don’t see, or that you wish someone else could see, and that they don’t change you but the connection creates an opening, a possibility that we are all more than we thought we would be in that limited idea.”

Grey went on to gush over how director Emile Ardolino captured her chemistry with her late costar, who died in 2009 after battling pancreatic cancer. The Dancing With the Stars alum shared a behind-the-scenes secret, revealing that it was actually her breaking character when Baby laughs in a rehearsal montage.

“When you see him tickling me, and you see how frustrated he was when he looks at me because I cannot stop laughing because I’m ticklish — and then as soon as someone tells you not to laugh it makes you almost anxious and you can’t stop laughing — there’s something about that realness of that moment being caught,” Grey added.

Dirty Dancing made over $214 million worldwide following its debut, but a sequel was never confirmed until August 2020. “It’s very early days,” Grey told Woman’s Day. “But I do know that it’s very important to me that certain things are represented, that life is not over and sexuality and pleasure and satisfaction and feeling very alive and excited about what’s coming has got to continue. It cannot be just for the young. It’s about how many times can we recognize that we’ve given up again on ourselves and that there’s more to be excited about, to discover about ourselves, and it’s not over until it’s over.”

While the Out of the Corner author will reprise her role, additional details about casting — and how the sequel plans to honor Johnny — have been kept under wraps. Grey previously praised her costar as “a real cowboy with a tender heart” after he passed away.

“Patrick was a rare and beautiful combination of raw masculinity and amazing grace,” she noted in a 2009 statement. “He was fearless and insisted on always doing his own stunts, so it was not surprising to me that the war he waged on his cancer was so courageous and dignified. … When I think of him, I think of being in his arms when we were kids, dancing, practicing the lift in the freezing lake, having a blast doing this tiny little movie we thought no one would ever see.”

Scroll down for everything to know so far about the long-awaited sequel: