Have the Time of Your Life with These Secrets from Dirty Dancing
Despite being a low budget film, Dirty Dancing quickly took the world by storm when it strutted into theaters in 1987. The fun coming-of-age film propelled the careers of Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, and it continues to stand as an icon in pop culture to this day.
However, many unexpected events took place behind the scenes, leading to some secrets that even Dirty Dancing fanatics don’t know. The vibe off screen was sometimes tense, especially between the main actors. Let’s dive into what really happened on the set and in private. Get ready to have the time of your life with these secrets from Dirty Dancing.
The Film Was Based on True Events
One Iconic Scene Was Unscripted
The flirty floor dance scene is one of the most unforgettable moments in Dirty Dancing. But, as the saying goes, "The best things in life are unexpected." Believe it or not, this scene was not part of the script.
Filmmakers Almost Changed the Movie’s Title
It's hard to imagine Dirty Dancing with a different title, but it almost happened. Canadian authorities at the border held up the film footage because they thought it was an "adult" film. The misunderstanding almost led to a name change.
A Series of Unfortunate Events...
It's not uncommon for films to have bad luck behind the scenes, especially for horror flicks like Psycho and The Conjuring. However, Dirty Dancing didn't fit the bill, considering it's a romantic drama. What went wrong in this dance flick?
The Creator of “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” Doubted Its Success
When Dirty Dancing was released, one of the film's songs flew to the top of the charts. "(I’ve Had) The Time of my Life" by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes became a smash hit, selling more than 500,000 copies and winning an Oscar.
Dirty Dancing Didn’t Wow an Important Businessman
It's easy to believe that Dirty Dancing was a big hit to anyone who feasted their eyes on the movie. That wasn't the case for everyone, especially for one expert in the entertainment industry.
Swayze Hated a Popular Line from the Film
Many romance films have corny lines, and Dirty Dancing is not an exception. Swayze’s "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" is a cheesy line that audiences fell in love with — hard. However, not everyone was fond of the line.
The Catskills Resort Was Actually Filmed in a Different State
The film takes place in the Catskill Mountains of New York, where Baby and her family vacation at a resort called Kellerman's. Known for its stunning natural landscape, the Catskills is actually a real place visited by families for generations.
Grey Has Dancing in Her Blood
As one of the greatest dance movies in history, Dirty Dancing showcased Grey's amazing moves. The actor was actually nervous about working with her co-star, Swayze, a ballroom and ballet expert. However, she mastered the steps in no time.
The Studio Gave Them a Challenging Budget
A small studio called Vestron picked up the rights to Dirty Dancing. However, small studios mean small budgets. As a result, filmmakers received only $4.5 million to work with to complete the entire movie. "It’s really hard to make a movie on that kind of budget," explained producer Linda Gottlieb.
Who Was the First Johnny?
Sources have claimed that Val Kilmer was the original choice to play the role of Johnny Castle, but he turned it down. Some rumors have also suggested that Billy Zane was the casting directors' second choice. The problem was Zane and Grey had no chemistry.
The Tickle Scene Was Unplanned
Sometimes, it's hard to control your laughter. Just take a look at Grey's experience. While portraying Baby, Grey couldn't stop laughing in one of the film's most memorable scenes — the dance rehearsal with Johnny. However, Swayze didn't find it funny.
There Was a Rule About Physical Contact Between Cast Members
Practice sessions often turned into parties that many cast members attended. This helped the actors identify with their characters more. Bergstein used this opportunity to encourage the cast to be extra creative in scenes.
The Dirty Dancing Lodge Is Real
Despite taking place in New York, Dirty Dancing was taped at the Mountain Lake Lodge in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Fortunately for fans, the lodge is a real place where people can spend the night to recreate the magic.
Swayze and Grey Didn’t Love Each Other
Swayze and Grey portrayed their characters very well. The two also had incredible on-screen chemistry. It's easy to believe they could have fallen in love in real life too. The truth is that wasn't the case at all.
The Leading Lady Could Have Been Played by Another Popular Actor
According to many sources, Sarah Jessica Parker was considered to portray the role of Baby. In 1983, she was finishing her work in the TV series Square Pegs. The actor went on to appear in Footloose and Girls Just Want to Have Fun.
Grey Was Involved in a Tragic Accident
Before Dirty Dancing premiered, Grey planned a relaxing vacation to Europe with her former boyfriend, Matthew Broderick. The two actually starred in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off together in 1986. After they finished wrapping up their own projects, they were ready for a break.
Which Country Loves Dirty Dancing the Most?
When it comes to loving Dirty Dancing, the U.S. may have some competition. Another country is known to enjoy the film just as much as Americans. Who would have thought that was possible? Bernstein gave The Guardian the exclusive details in a 2006 interview.
Baby's Mom Was Originally Played by Another Actor
The talented Kelly Bishop portrayed Mrs. Houseman. However, when Bishop auditioned for Dirty Dancing, she was first cast in the role of Vivian Pressman, the resort's cougar. The actor received the role of Baby's mom at the last minute.
Who Is Johnny's First Dance Partner?
As the first actor to be cast, Cynthia Rhodes played the role of Penny, Johnny's first dance partner. There are a couple of interesting details about the actor's character. For instance, Rhodes asked the screenwriter to include a last-minute scene, where Penny tells Baby that she doesn't fool around.
Johnny Was Inspired by a Real Person
A few characters in Dirty Dancing were inspired by real people, including Baby, the Houseman family and even the handsome dancer, Johnny. In fact, Bergstein revealed that Johnny is based on a man she met — Michael Terrace, a dancer hailing from Brooklyn.
"She’s Like the Wind" Wasn't Supposed to Be in the Film
Besides "(I've Had) The Time of My Life," Dirty Dancing featured another unforgettable ballad: "She’s Like the Wind." The famous song wasn’t actually intended for the film. However, it was written and sung by Swayze.
The Cold Secrets of the Lake Scene
Despite being a memorable moment, actors and the film crew agreed that the lake scene wasn't fun to shoot at all. The water was freezing, causing Swayze and Grey’s lips to turn blue. Swayze also got injured while filming the scene.
Where’s the Sequel?
Despite premiering in the 1980s, Dirty Dancing is still a popular film to this day. Of course, the executives put a possible sequel on the table. However, there was one big problem. One important actor didn't want to be in it.
Fans Argue That It’s a Jewish Film
Some fans probably never suspected that Dirty Dancing is somewhat of a Jewish film. Bergstein pointed out a few details about the movie that make the sentiment true. The movie features the Housemans, a Jewish family. Plus, the actual resort has religious ties.
The Fate of the Famous Lake
Do you remember that iconic lake scene where Baby and Johnny practice their dance number? The lake was actually located at the famous Mountain Lake Lodge. However, if fans try to visit today, they will discover that the lake is gone.
Grey’s New Dream Partner
The famous final scene in which Johnny lifts Baby has appeared so many times in pop culture, from videos on social media to cameos in other films. In fact, the iconic moment was recreated in the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.
The Impact of Fame on Grey
It's no surprise that Dirty Dancing‘s enormous success skyrocketed Grey's celebrity status. From the '80s to the ‘90s, she became a superstar. After starring in the film, the actor's physical appearance and career both changed to a certain degree.
Dirty Dancing Couldn’t Find a Studio for a Long Time
Dirty Dancing was released more than 30 years ago. However, it's as popular as ever today. Each year, the film attracts more and more fans. However, the film almost wasn't produced. The problem? No one wanted to make it.
The One and Done Scene
Pop culture ate up everything Dirty Dancing served, especially the iconic lift scene in which Baby jumps into Johnny's arms. The scene was flawless. Grey and Swayze must have practiced the routine so many times, right? The answer is actually no.