Kenny Ortega has been tasked with remaking the 1987 classic "Dirty Dancing," and he knows you aren't happy about it.
The announcement earlier this week was met with seemingly universal backlash, especially in MTV News' comment section. Commenter lisha.16 lashed out against Hollywood's continued dependence on remakes, while Valerie Anne Devine pointed out that "Dirty Dancing" is "not broken therefore does not require a makeover."
In an interview with "The Insider," Ortega said he was initially in the same boat.
"Saying yes to this project was a really tough decision for me, and one that I wrestled with for a long time," said the "This Is It" director, who was a choreographer on the original "Dirty Dancing." "I had to be won over too."
So far, there's no script or casting ideas set, just the idea to remake the movie first made famous by Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. But "Dirty Dancing" is no stranger to reinvention. The movie inspired a successful Broadway musical as well as the 2004 box-office flop "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights." Ortega said his first step in creating this remake is to not try to top anything the original movie did.
"We have a big challenge and a long road ahead of us," Ortega said. "All I can say is that I hope we can bring something unique and original to help change the naysayers' minds about the film."
That starts with not trying to find a way to replace Swayze and Grey. "They're one of a kind, and they deserve to be called that," he said. Ortega said he has been impressed with "So You Think You Can Dance" finalist Melanie Moore's skills and told her live on the air that she has a role waiting for her in the film if she wants it. He also said that he would love to find a role for Grey in the remake if she'd want to be part of it. As for who should play male lead Johnny Castle, MTV's Hollywood Crush blog suggested Ryan Gosling could be a pretty good choice.
Ortega is no stranger to fans rebelling against remakes of '80s dance flicks. He was originally attached to direct the upcoming "Footloose" remake before dropping out because he didn't like the tone Paramount wanted for their modernized take. It will be interesting to see whether Ortega's "Dirty Dancing" also gets updated to the present day with current popular dancing or if it maintains the 1960s setting and styles that the original had.
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