Trivia / Dirty Dancing

  • Actor Allusion: When Kelly Bishop, playing Baby's mother, Marge, says of her daughter's dancing abilities, "She gets that from me." Kelly Bishop is a former ballet and Broadway dancer who was Sheila Bryant in the original production of A Chorus Line. Jerry Orbach himself was also a well known Broadway dancer and he was Billy Flynn in the original production of Chicago. In fact, both musicals engaged in a famous rivalry for box office receipts and Tony awards when they opened within months of each other in 1975.
  • AFI's 100 Years... Series:
  • California Doubling: Havana Nights was set in Cuba, but fueled in Puerto Rico.
  • The Cast Showoff: One of the songs on the soundtrack ("She's Like the Wind") was written and performed by Swayze. Subverted with the song Lisa sings in the talent show: Jane Brucker wrote and performed it, and it's a glorious example of Stylistic Suck.
  • Dawson Casting:
    • At 27, Jennifer Grey was 10 years older than her character.
    • Patrick Swayze was 35, but Johnny is probably supposed to be in his mid-twenties.
  • Deleted Scene: Aside from some minor clips that pad out certain scenes—Baby and Lisa talking, Jake visiting Penny, etc, Baby and Johnny's first love scene is longer and more explicit that what's been seen.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights started life as a stirring and gritty war drama about the Cuban Revolution, focusing on a 15-year-old American girl in Cuba at the time, and the difficulties of the revolution being led by the youth, as virtually all of the revolutionaries were under 30.
  • I Am Not Spock: Averted with the entire cast but with Miranda Garrison in particular, who continued her association with the film long after everyone else had pretty much moved on with their careers. In addition to appearing on the DVD's, Garrison was a judge on Dirty Dancing: The Time of Your Life, a dance competition TV show which aired on British channel Sky Living and was presented by model Kelly Brook and featured top choreographer Sean Cheesman and Royal Ballet dancer and actress Jennifer Ellison as fellow judges. The show was taped at the Mountain Lake resort in Giles County, Virginia, where, coincidentally, the original movie was filmed.
  • Life Imitates Art: Near the end of the film, while some of the staffers are singing the resort's anthem, Max laments to Tito that he's having a hard time keeping customers at the resort, saying "Trips to Europe. That's what these kids want." Fast forward to 1990, when Vestron Pictures is having a hard time retaining former clients they had back when they were solely in the video distribution business.
    • Also fast forward to the 1990s/2000s, when many resorts in the "Borscht Belt" in the Catskills are sitting abandoned.
  • No Stunt Double: Patrick Swayze insisted on doing his own stunts. During the log scene he kept on falling off of the log and injured his knee so badly he had to have fluid drained from the swelling.
  • Old Shame: The prequel was actress Romola Garai's first Hollywood film (she's English) and she repeatedly has cited the filming of the movie as being an extremely negative experience which caused her to re-evaluate working in Hollywood. In a 2004 interview with The Telegraph she explained that the filmmakers "were obsessed with having someone skinny. I just thought, why didn't they get someone like Kate Bosworth, if that's what they wanted?" Garai also later revealed that producer Harvey Weinstein, whose company, Miramax, was co-producing the film, had required her to meet him alone in a hotel room while he was wearing only a bathrobe in order to obtain the part: "I had to go to his hotel room in the Savoy, and he answered the door in his bathrobe. I was only 18. I felt violated by it, it has stayed very clearly in my memory."
  • Permanent Placeholder: The dancing that Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey do during the love scene was actually the same dance that they did for the screen tests. It was not originally supposed to be in the film.
  • Production Posse/Those Two Actors: Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey previously worked together in Red Dawn (1984), while Kenny Ortega previously choreographed Ferris Bueller's Day Off, which Grey also co-starred in. Also, Swayze and Cynthia Rhodes also appeared together in the music video for Toto's "Rosanna." In addition, Orbach and Bishop previously worked together in Promises, Promises.
  • Reality Subtext: Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey didn't get along back when they appeared together in Red Dawn (1984). The tension seen on-screen during Baby's Training Montage (set to "Hungry Eyes") in particular had to do with their past working relationship, nerves, long hours, Grey's moods (ranging from crying due to not dealing with criticism well to bouts of the giggles), and Swayze's frustration with Grey. According to Swayze, one of the things that first broke down the barrier was his learning that Jennifer — daughter of famous Broadway dancer Joel Grey — had never learned how to dance; he apparently couldn't stop laughing for several minutes when she told him.
  • The Other Marty: Originally, Marge was played by Lynn Lipton, who is briefly seen in the beginning when the Houseman family first pulls into Kellerman's (she is in the front seat for a few seconds; her blonde hair is the only indication). Unfortunately, however, she became ill during the first week of shooting and was replaced by Kelly Bishop, who had already been cast to play Vivian. Ms. Bishop initially expressed reservations about the role of Marge, but Jerry Orbach convinced her to accept the role, telling her "Take it. It's much nicer." To play the role of Vivian, Miranda Garrison, who was already working behind the scenes as assistant choreographer, stepped in.
  • Throw It In! : During the "Hungry Eyes" montage, when Baby and Johnny are practicing Baby turning and looking in Johnny's eyes and they bump noses, that was real. They kept it. Jennifer Grey was also ticklish and couldn't stop giggling when Patrick Swayze ran his hand down her side, much to everyone's annoyance (that's Swayze's real-life frustration that you see - he thought most of these were blown takes; which, at the time, they were). And the three-way dance scene came from rehearsals with Kenny Ortega.
    • Grey and Swayze's discomfort during the training montage was real. See Reality Subtext above.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Sarah Jessica Parker and Billy Zane originally auditioned for the roles of Baby and Johnny, but they couldn't dance very well, and director Emile Ardolino only wanted experienced dancers in the film, to avoid the problems of using dance doubles, which occurred in Flashdance.
    • Val Kilmer also turned down the role of Johnny.
    • Sharon Stone auditioned for Baby.
    • Johnny Castle was originally Italian. This was changed when Patrick Swayze was cast.
    • Writer and co-producer Eleanor Bergstein originally wanted her close friend, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, and Grey's father, Joel Grey, to play elderly resort guests and kleptomaniacs Mr. and Mrs. Schumacher, the actual culprits who stole Moe Pressman's wallet, but Westheimer dropped out when she discovered that the character was a thief and Joel Grey did not appear. Instead, the roles were played by Paula Trueman and Alvin Myerovitch.
    • Originally, Ms. Bergstein pitched the film to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and MGM executive Eileen Miselle actually approved it. Unfortunately, however, management changes at MGM placed the film into turnaround, until Vestron Pictures stepped in.
    • Later, when Vestron Pictures was looking for a corporate sponsor to help promote the film, Procter & Gamble, then the owners of Clearsil skin care and acne ointment, almost signed on, feeling that it could be a vehicle to reach a teen target audience. The company backed out, however, due to their dislike of the Penny abortion subplot.
  • Write What You Know: Eleanor Bergstein based much of the character of Baby on her own life. Like the Housemans, Bergstein and her family actually spent summers in the luxury resorts of the Catskill Mountains. In addition, during her college years, Bergstein was also a dance instructor working under legendary ballroom dancer and dance studio proprietor Arthur Murray, and in fact, actually based Johnny on a fellow instructor.


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