Jonathan Levine, the director of “Warm Bodies” and “Long Shot,” has been tapped by Lionsgate to direct the follow-up film to the 1987 classic “Dirty Dancing” that will see Jennifer Grey reprise her original role as Frances “Baby” Houseman.
Levine was already a producer on the film for his Megamix banner alongside partner Gillian Bohrer, but he’ll direct now as well. Grey is serving as an executive producer in addition to starring.
Levine also co-wrote the sequel screenplay with Elizabeth Chomko, and while the studio did not unveil specific plot details, he gave an interview to Deadline in which he explained that the film is now set in the 1990s and the world of hip hop and other artists like Alanis Morissette and Liz Phair. The film is a coming-of-age story for Grey’s daughter as they all return to Kellerman’s in the Catskills, though the absence of Swayze’s character Johnny looms large over the story.
Casting is underway for the lead role. The film is expected to go into production later this year for release in 2024, and international sales will launch later this month in Cannes.
“While the original ‘Dirty Dancing’ has always been one of my favorite films, I never imagined I would direct the sequel,” Levine said. “Through co-writing it, I fell in love with the characters (new and old), the world of 1990s Catskills New York, and the music, which will range from songs from the original movie to ‘90s hip-hop. I can’t wait to collaborate with Jennifer to bring this beautiful story of summer and romance and dancing to a generation of new fans. And to the longtime ones, I promise we will not ruin your childhood. We will tackle the assignment with sophistication, ambition, and, above all, love.”
“’Dirty Dancing’ is more than a movie – it’s a cultural touchstone that continues to be a rite of passage. As we approach the next chapter, we knew we had to honor the depth, the relevance, and the heat of the original,” Erin Westerman, Lionsgate’s president of production, said. “We’ve been lucky to have Jennifer as our guide and are thrilled to have Jonathan by her side at the helm, because everything he makes is textured and romantic – he always gives us goosebumps.”
Grey recently released her first memoir “Out of the Corner.”
Lionsgate says that “Dirty Dancing” is the best-selling library title in Lionsgate’s history. The film grossed $214.5 million worldwide in 1987 and continues to draw new fans to this day.
Deadline first reported the news.