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#hmvDecades: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About… Dirty Dancing
by Tom
Tom
by Tom hmv London, Bio hmv.com Editor. Peanut butter, punk rock and pillows.

#hmvDecades: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About… Dirty Dancing

Made for a measly six million dollars with an untried director, Dirty Dancing has gone on to become one of the most celebrated ever movies committed to film.

The movie tells the story of Frances “Baby” Houseman, a 17-year old girl who heads off to the Catskills in upstate New York for a quiet family holiday at an upscale resort before she heads off to college. Unexpectedly, she meets and becomes infatuated with Johnny Castle, the resort’s dance instructor, a man with a background vastly different from her own and who her father deeply disapproves of. When Johnny’s dance partner is forced away, Baby steps in and the pair begin one of Hollywood’s most iconic love affairs, albeit one with a few major bumps still in store…

With over $200 million in box office receipts, numerous spin-offs across stage and screen and even its own convention, the movie gains legions of new fans with every passing year. Now on offer as part of hmv’s Decades, we thought we’d revisit this classic and present 10 things you didn’t know about Dirty Dancing…

 

 

Val Kilmer turned down the lead role…

Now a big star on the back of his success in Top Gun, producers wanted Kilmer to take the lead role of Johnny in this new movie, but Kilmer wasn’t interested. So instead they moved on to auditions..

 

A host of big names also auditioned for the leading roles…

The likes of Billy Zane and Jeff Fahey were considered for the role of Johnny, but ultimately producers settled on Swayze. Finding the role of Baby was a lot more complicated, Robin Wright passed on the role, both Sarah Jessica Parker and Heather Graham were considered, but in the end they went for Jennifer Grey, who was 27 at the time, a full decade older than her character.

 

Patrick Swayze had to convince Jennifer Grey to be in the film with him…

After winning the part, Grey then had serious second thoughts about the movie when she found out that she’d be playing opposite Swayze. The pair had worked together on Red Dawn and she’d really taken a dislike to him, but, after he personally convinced her, she stayed on.

 

There are no close-ups in that lake scene for a very good reason…

Of all the iconic scenes in Dirty Dancing, the one in the lake is right up with the biggest of them. In the movie, it’s supposed to be the height of summer, however when it came to actually filming the thing, the cast and crew were in Lake Lure in North Carolina in the middle of October and it wasn’t exactly warm. As a result the camera stays away from focusing on Swayze and Grey’s decidedly blue lips…

 

 

The crew had to spray paint thousands of leaves…

As we said above, it’s supposed to be the middle of summer for that lake scene, but it wasn’t, it was October. As a result all the leaves surrounding the lake had begun to turn brown, which wouldn’t fit the moment at all. So, to make up for lost time, the crew quite literally had to spray paint thousands of leaves to make them look green again. If you watch back, you can see them falling too, which doesn’t generally happen in summer…

 

Swayze turned down a lot of money to star in a sequel…

He was offered a cool $6 million to reprise his role, but declined, saying he didn’t do sequels. Takes a brave man to do that…

 

But he does make an appearance in the much-maligned spin-off…

2004’s Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights isn’t a prequel or sequel, it reimagines the film’s plot from upstate New York to Cuba on the cusp of revolution. It stars Diego Luna and Romola Garai as a young couple who find each other through a love of dancing with Swayze as their teacher. He doesn’t arrive until the second half of the film, but his appearance earned him a cool $5 million, a lot more than the $200,000 he picked up for his role in the original.

 

And he did his own stunts, painfully so…

Swayze took his own stunts seriously, but the log scene almost cost him. After a fair few takes and a fair few falls, the actor actually ended up injuring his knee so badly it needed to be constantly drained for days afterwards. Suffer for your art they say…

 

The film lives on in more than one format…

A live show, a musical, a TV spin-off and even a convention, Dirty Dancing lives on in so many guises.

 

A remake is coming…

It was announced back in 2011 and has been in development ever since. It looks like it’s going to be a three-episode television miniseries on ABC Networks. There’s no word on who will be the new Baby and Johnny just yet…

 

Dirty Dancing is available in-store and online as part of hmv’s #Decades promotion. Click here to see the full range of titles available.

 

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