How old are the characters in dirty dancing
Behind-The-Scenes Of An 80s Movie Classic
From start to finish, the film fills audiences with feel-good vibes that would be difficult to recreate. However, when the cameras stopped rolling, the vibes were very different, and filming was quite challenging. Even if you’re a “Dirty Dancing” fanatic, you probably haven’t heard all of these dirty, behind-the-scenes facts.
Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey Weren’t First Picks for Lead Roles
Can you imagine Dirty Dancing without Jennifer Grey or Patrick Swayze? It’s absurd to even TRY.
Outrageous as it may sound, these two weren’t actually the first choices for the film. Val Kilmer was initially offered the role of Johnny Castle, and both Sarah Jessica Parker and Sharon Stone auditioned to play Baby.Image via Vestron Pictures
The film almost happened without Swayze entirely. It was confirmed when filming began that Billy Zane was going to play bad-boy-turned-good Johnny, but he was pushed out of the film when people realized that he had no chemistry with Jennifer Grey.
Obviously, it was for the best.
Your Favorite Scenes Probably Weren’t Planned
Everyone remembers the film’s linchpin musical montage. You know the one: Johnny and Baby are practicing the Mambo for the big show, and Baby has a hard time stifling her giggles while Johnny looks ongoingly frustrated. That wasn’t planned.
You’re getting a real glimpse of Jennifer Grey being insanely ticklish and Patrick Swayze being fed up with his co-star.Image via Great American Films Limited Partnership/Vestron Pictures
Remember the scene where the two are fooling around on the dance floor to Mickey & Sylvia’s “Love Is Strange?” That wasn’t in the script either.
The two actors had no idea that the cameras were rolling, and they were merely getting into character to prepare for the scene.
The more you know.
It Wasn’t Summer When They Were Filming
When you watch the film, you may feel a nostalgic twinge inside that reminds you of summers during your youth. You’ll probably be surprised to find that it was absolutely freezing outside during the filming of the movie. The movie was filmed during a cold autumn in Virginia and North Carolina.Image via Great American Films Limited Partnership/Vestron Pictures
To create the feeling of summer, they had to spray paint the changing leaves green. This means that during the scene where Baby and Johnny are practicing the famous lift in the water, the water was at a frigid temperature. That’s why the movie didn’t show any close-ups of the actors during the scene. Their blue lips would have given away the true season.
Patrick Swayze Was Battling a Knee Injury During Filming
In Swayze's book, The Time of My Life, he discusses an injury he suffered during his Broadway days that interfered with his dancing in the movie.
Swayze was known for turning down roles because of a knee issue that was severe enough to put a halt to his career. But because Swayze was seen more as a “dancer-turned-actor,” he found it difficult to stay away from dance-centered roles.Image via Great American Films Limited Partnership/Vestron Pictures
Even though Dirty Dancing was an exception, it didn’t mean that his pain was behind him. It was revealed that Swayze struggled to hide a severe pain episode during the lake-lift, but he managed to push through it.
As an audience member watching the scene, you would never have known.
After the Film, Jennifer Grey Had a Procedure That Changed Her Career
Thanks to Dirty Dancing, Jennifer Grey catapulted to superstardom in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. It was during this time that Grey made a decision that would change her career forever.Image via Great American Films Limited Partnership/Vestron Pictures
Grey had a rhinoplasty done in the early ‘90s, and many critics said that this decision derailed her acting career.
Grey ended up having to go under the knife a second time due to complications that popped up from the operation. After the corrective surgery, she was so unrecognizable that she considered changing her name to restart her career from scratch. Although she decided against it, the operation essentially put a huge dent in her acting career.
In Real Life, the Actors Were Far Older Than Their Characters
We see young adults playing teenagers all the time, and sometimes, it’s a little unrealistic. But in Dirty Dancing, the age difference between the actors and the characters didn’t jar audiences that much. In the film, Johnny is 24, and Baby is 18.Image via Great American Films Limited Partnership/Vestron Pictures
Jennifer Gray was 26 when she was cast as Baby, a character that was intended to be fresh out of high school. When Patrick Swayze was cast to play the role of Johnny in the film, he was 34 — a staggering ten years older than his character in the movie.
But to be honest, does it matter considering they played the parts so perfectly? Not really.
The Movie Almost Had a Completely Different Name
Back when the film first came out in the late 1980s, the title Dirty Dancing was a tad scandalous. The title became such an issue that censorship officers were hesitant and assumed it was a porn film.Image via Great American Films Limited Partnership/Vestron Pictures
Thank goodness this was the chosen title given that the alternative was “I Was a Teenage Mambo Queen.”
The studio stuck to their guns, and Dirty Dancing was born. Patrick Swayze, on the other hand, despised the film name. During a 1987 interview with reporter Bobbie Wygant, Swayze admitted, “I hate the title Dirty Dancing...I absolutely hate it. We all really fought to have it not called Dirty Dancing. That’s what the studio went with, so that’s what we have to be stuck with and publicize…”
The Ending Was Almost Very Different Than the One We Know
The line “Nobody puts Baby in a corner,” is one of the most iconic lines in film history. Can you imagine a world where this line didn’t exist to use at our leisure?
Well, Patrick Swayze had a deep hatred for the line, and producers almost cut it completely.Image via Great American Films Limited Partnership/Vestron Pictures
Swayze believed that the line was just TOO corny. In his book, The Time of My Life, Swayze wrote: “We did a lot of rewriting for the big final scene, but one line that I hated stayed in. I could hardly bring myself to say: “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” It sounded so corny. But, seeing the finished film, I had to admit it worked. And, of course, it became one of the most quoted lines in the movie.”
The Whole Film Was Created in Just Under Three Months
Yes, the entire movie was made in a short amount of time, and it had an incredibly tight budget. The film was put together in just under three months, which included two weeks for rehearsals. (It took only two weeks for the actors to get the complex dance movements down). The overall shooting of the footage was completed in 44 days, and we don’t even want to know what the actors' shooting schedules were like.Image via Great American Films Limited Partnership/Vestron Pictures
They also shot the final dance scene in a single take. Grey was extremely nervous about the lift (just like her character in the movie), and she didn’t want to practice ahead of time. When the time came to film it, the pair nailed it in a single take, which is the one you see on screen.
Everyone Thought the Film Would Flop (and It Did at First)
The film officially wrapped on October 27, 1986. However, Vestron executives thought the movie would flop. During the test screening, 39 percent of viewers had no clue that there was a subplot about Penny's (Cynthia Rhodes) terminated pregnancy.Image via Great American Films Limited Partnership/Vestron Pictures
After the testing, distributors were considering sending it straight to home video. However, the repeat viewings (and enthusiastic response) to the movie's August 21, 1987 release made it an instant hit.
The film earned $64 million in North America and $170 million worldwide. The year after its release, the film won an Oscar for Best Original Song, (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life, and broke the record for being the most popular home video rental of the year.
The First Person Cast in the Film Was Cynthia Rhodes
Cynthia Rhodes was hired to play Penny before any of the other characters were cast. Rhodes was building up her resume as an actress at the time, appearing in films such as Flashdance, and Staying Alive with John Travolta. Dirty Dancing, was the film that slingshotted her career forward.Image via Great American Films Limited Partnership/Vestron Pictures
The only issue that the director and producers had with Rhodes was her beauty. During the scene where Penny was supposed to be in excruciating pain, Rhodes' performance wasn’t convincing enough because she still looked “too beautiful.” (Imagine having that problem.)
Stylists had to cover her in makeup to make her look bland and sweaty. She rode out the high of her career by joining Los Angeles pop group Animotion as their lead singer and stayed with them until 1990.
The Film Was Largely Based on Screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein’s Experiences
The screenwriter of the film, Eleanor Bergstein, based the movie on her experiences during the 1960s. Her family was originally from Brooklyn, and her father was a doctor. Like Baby, Bergstein and her family visited the Catskills every summer where she would get into different shenanigans like Baby and her sister do in the film.
It was during their trips to the Catskills that Bergstein earned the nickname “Baby” which stuck with her until her twenties.Image via Vestron Pictures
Where did the dancing portion stem from? Bergstein had an experience with a dance instructor who was way older than she was.
We love a good scandal, especially when it inspires an incredible movie!
Dirty Dancing Wasn’t the First Movie Swayze and Grey Did Together
The first movie that the two actors starred in together was the 1984 film Red Dawn. Rumor has it that this is where the tension in their relationship began. Perhaps that’s why producers were hesitant to cast Swayze opposite Grey in the movie.Image via MGM/UA Entertainment Company
Regardless, the pair were able to look past their differences (sort of) long enough to make a classic, culturally seminal movie. Years after the film, Grey admitted to The Hollywood Reporter, that “...his fearlessness with my fearfulness...together was like a marriage where you have two opposites. He’d do anything, and I’d be scared to do anything.”
Excuse us... WE JUST NEED A MOMENT ALONE.
Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey Didn’t Exactly Get Along
It may be disappointing to hear, but the two actors didn’t exactly have a natural connection on set. It’s rumored that although the pair shared undeniable chemistry on film (that’s good acting!), they would get into arguments before the cameras started rolling.Image via Great American Films Limited Partnership/Vestron Pictures
In Swayze’s autobiography, he recalled: “We did have a few moments of friction when we were tired after a long day of shooting. She seemed particularly emotional, sometimes bursting into tears if someone criticized her. Other times, she slipped into silly moods, forcing us to do scenes over and over again when she’d start laughing.”
However, we refuse to accept this little tidbit because Johnny + Baby = Forever.
Swayze Said the Film Endured Because of Its Heart
During an interview with AFI, Swayze felt he had a pretty good idea as to why the film has endured with audiences for so long.Image via Vestron Pictures
He said: “It’s got so much heart, to me. It’s not about the sensuality; it’s really about people trying to find themselves, this young dance instructor feeling like he’s nothing but a product, and this young girl trying to find out who she is in a society of restrictions when she has such an amazing take on things. On a certain level, it’s really about the fabulous, funky little Jewish girl getting the guy because [of] what she’s got in her heart.”
We’re not crying. ..you are.
Penny’s Pregnancy in the Movie Was A HUGE Deal
Many brands caught on quite early that the film would be a big hit with young people. The famous acne skin-care company Clearasil initially wanted to join as a promotional sponsor, but they pulled out.Image via Great American Films Limited Partnership/Vestron Pictures
In the 1960s, when Dirty Dancing takes place, terminating a pregnancy was illegal in the U.S., and because of Penny’s subplot in the film, Clearasil decided to back out.
Producers begged screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein to take out the storyline, but she refused, saying, “Hey I would love to, but I can’t, because if I take it out, everything will fall apart. There’s no reason for Baby to meet Johnny, for Penny not to be able to dance, for Baby to learn to dance with Johnny, for her to make love with Johnny - there’s no story without that.”
After the First Film’s Success, Studios Wanted to Pay Big Money for a Sequel
After the first film’s success, studios wanted to cash in on a sequel immediately. Swayze was offered big money —$6 million, to be exact — to return for the sequel as Johnny. Swayze, who wasn’t a fan of doing sequels, declined.
Swayze knew that they wouldn’t be able to reprise the magic of the first film, and fans applauded him for his decision.Image via Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Studios ended up doing a second film anyway, called Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, and it (obviously) didn’t compare to the original. Billed as a "re-imagining" of the original, the film released in 2004, a full 17 years later. The only thing the two films had in common were the words Dirty Dancing in the title.
Filming Was a 24/7 Party
During the lodge staff’s dancing scenes, the goal was to create a realistic party setting. To make that happen, director Emile Ardolino pretty much threw a party every day. Dance rehearsals often turned into disco parties, and the cast would have drinks and dance around to let loose.Image via Great American Films Limited Partnership/Vestron Pictures
This tactic ended up being an excellent way for the actors to get to know each other and create a more relaxed atmosphere. It also led to a lot of improvising by the cast while the cameras were rolling, which was encouraged.
The Role of Stan Was Wayne Knight’s Big Break
Watching the film today, you might be surprised to see a big-time actor like Wayne Knight playing such a small role. Well, when Knight received the part, he had only done a few minor television and commercial roles. It was after his portrayal of a hilarious comedian who performed in the lodge talent show that his career blew up.Image via Vestron Pictures
He went on to star in other films such as Born on the Fourth of July, JFK, and Basic Instinct. After seeing his role in Basic Instinct, Steven Spielberg cast him in Jurassic Park.
He would go on to land the recurring role of mailman Newman on Seinfeld.
The Cast and Crew Believed the Set Was Cursed
When everyone finally buckled down and filming began, there was a sudden halt to production. On the sixth day, things started going haywire. In just a short period, some of the crew’s property was stolen. There was flooding on the streets surrounding the set, and one of the vans was destroyed. One of the set decorators fell off a ladder and hurt himself. The second assistant director broke her wrist, and the wardrobe assistant broke her toe. Then, three of the crew members wound up with food poisoning.Image via Great American Films Limited Partnership/Vestron Pictures
A month before the end of the shoot, the lead makeup artist quit and went home for personal reasons. That same day, a wasp infestation was discovered, and Jennifer Grey’s arms were covered in stings.
By the time filming was complete, one producer was so dissatisfied with the footage that he suggested they should “burn the negatives and collect the insurance. ”
Mountain Lake Lodge Still Has ‘Dirty Dancing’ Weekends
If you want to experience the setting of Dirty Dancing first-hand, then you can stay in the Mountain Lake Lodge in Virginia. Not only can you stay there, but the resort also hosts three Dirty Dancing-themed weekends every year.Image via Wikimedia Commons
During these weekends, you can take dance lessons, enjoy a walking tour of the grounds, participate in a Dirty Dancing-themed scavenger hunt, and play trivia games.
Heidi Stone, the hotel’s manager, says, “It’s amazing how many thousands of Dirty Dancing fans we meet every summer. We have guests from all over the world that come to Mountain Lake Lodge just for the Dirty Dancing weekends.”
‘She’s Like the Wind’ Wasn’t Made for the Film
The soundtrack for the film was a hit, and people fell in love with the dramatic ballad “She's Like The Wind,” that plays during Johnny and Baby's goodbye scene.
The song was originally written by Patrick Swayze and Stacy Widelitz for the movie Grandview U.S.A, about Swayze’s relationship with Jamie Lee Curtis’s character, but it was dropped.Image via Great American Films Limited Partnership/Vestron Pictures
As a last resort, Swayze showed it to the Dirty Dancing producers who immediately fell in love with the tune and wanted it in the movie.
Had the song not been picked up by producers, Swayze would have let the song sit and waste away.
Kelly Bishop Got the Role of Baby’s Mom by Chance
Kelly Bishop may have looked like she was made for the role of Baby’s mom, but that wasn’t the role she was given originally. She had initially been cast as Vivian Pressman, the cougar who seduces Johnny during their “dance lessons,” while the role of Mrs. Houseman was given to Lynne Lipton.Image via Netflix
The role was given to Bishop after Lipton caused scheduling problems due to an illness that forced her to leave the set regularly. When Bishop took the part of Mrs. Houseman, the role of Vivian was given to assistant choreographer, Miranda Garrison. After the film, Kelly Bishop was cast as Emily Gilmore on Gilmore Girls.
Patrick Swayze Did All His Own Stunts
Ok, so Dirty Dancing wasn’t a film full of blazing gunfire and insane stunts. Nevertheless, Swayze was adamant about doing all his scenes on his own.
In the scene where Johnny and Baby dance on the log over the river, Swayze kept falling off. Apparently, he hit his already-injured knee a few times, causing even more damage.Image via Vestron Pictures
He had to have the fluid drained from his knee to reduce the swelling and avoid a bigger problem. Seeing as he was already suffering from a knee problem beforehand, the situation had to be handled with the utmost delicacy.
Regardless, knowing that Swayze did everything on his own makes the movie even more iconic.
Bill Medley Thought He Was Hired to Make a Song for a “Bad Porno”
Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes were the voices behind the famous song, “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” but at first, Medley was confused about what the song was for. Medley quipped, “It sounds like a bad porno movie." He rejected the song because his wife was expecting a child.Image via Vestron Pictures
It took months of convincing to get Medley to do the song. After finishing, he didn’t think that the movie would be popular.“We just went in to work together, to sing together, and little did we know it was going to be the biggest movie of the year. Just unbelievable,” he later reflected.
The song wound up selling more than 500,000 copies.
There Are Many References to the Film in Today’s Pop Culture
The final lift scene has become iconic over the years and has made plenty of appearances in pop culture.
In the 2012 movie Crazy, Stupid, Love with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, the two actors reference the movie and give the lift a go. During the scene, Gosling admits to Stone's character that he gets women to do the move with him as a ploy to get them into bed.Image via Carousel Productions
Jennifer Grey admitted when she saw the film that she was totally shocked. She told Yahoo!: “I’m just such a fan of Ryan Gosling and all of a sudden he’s saying my name [in the movie]. I’m just in the theater with my husband, and I look at him like, ‘Oh my God, Ryan Gosling just said my name. What’s going on?’”
On ‘(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life,’ Medley and Warner Represent Older Versions of Johnny and Baby
Bill Medley told Rolling Stone,: “I’m kind of supposed to be Swayze on the record, and Jennifer’s voice kind of fit Jennifer Grey’s character.” The two singers wanted to connect with the characters as much as possible, so they recorded the song with footage from the film rolling in the studio.Image via Vestron Pictures
Medley recalls: “We sang to each other and to the movie. When he raised her up in the air, I knew it had to be joyful, and that’s why there’s a real spirit and joy in the vocals. That’s not fake. We were having a good time.”
The Film Reflected Eleanor Bergstein’s Jewish Upbringing
Kellerman’s Resort may have been a fictional place, but it was based on a real resort. The concept of Kellerman’s was based on the Borscht Belt — a number of vacation resorts in the Catskill Mountains that once attracted a lot of Jewish Americans.
Jewish American families would come and visit these resorts for the summer between 1920 and 1980, Bergstein’s family included.Image via Great American Films Limited Partnership/Vestron Pictures
There have been a handful of famous A-listers who started their careers performing at these resorts, including Joan Rivers and Jerry Seinfeld.
Bergstein even pointed out to TabletMag.com, “It’s a Jewish film, if you know what you’re looking at.” Many of the resorts have since closed their doors and no longer exist.
Johnny Was Originally Supposed to Be Italian
We can’t think of Johnny Castle being any other way than how Swayze embodied him, but producers originally had a different idea when it came to the famous bad boy.
In the original script, Johnny Castle was an Italian dancer who had a “dark, exotic look.” This is probably why Billy Zane was the original choice for the role.Image via Paramount Pictures
The issue with Billy Zane was that he was lacking in the dance department. The producers’ saving grace was finding Swayze, who had an extensive background in dancing on Broadway.
The only problem? He didn’t look Italian! Producers decided to change Johnny Castle’s heritage to Irish.
The Characters Were Based on Real People
It’s already been mentioned that Baby was based on Bergstein’s experiences growing up, but other characters were also based on real people from Bergstein’s childhood.
Although many of the characters were inspired by people from her summers in the Catskills, she couldn’t contact them for help. She has mentioned, “My old partners are either in jail or out on parole….it was a very rough neighborhood.”Image via Great American Films Limited Partnership/Vestron Pictures
When Bergstein began researching for the film, she met dance instructor Michael Terrace in the Catskills, who was the basis of Johnny Castle’s character. It sounds like Dirty Dancing is basically a biography about Bergstein's life!
How Old Baby & Johnny Are In Dirty Dancing
By Quinn Hough
Dirty Dancing features an iconic pairing in Patrick Swayze's Johnny and Jennifer Grey's Baby, but their characters are far from the same age.
Dirty Dancing features an iconic pairing in Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, but how old is Jennifer Grey, how big is their age gap, and does it make the movie problematic? Dirty Dancing is somewhat autobiographical for screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein, as it's based on her own teenage experiences. This fact only brings the question of Baby and Johnny's age difference further into the light. While the movie doesn't explicitly state the two protagonists' ages, there's enough evidence to suggest that the years between them borders on creepy.
Johnny and Baby's ages in Dirty Dancing (of which Patrick Swayze hates the best line) come into question simply by looking at Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray. The two don't even look like they're in the same age group, and the movie takes no strides to explain any part of it. While this could be a product of the time it was made, Dirty Dancing might not hold up well under today's magnifying glass in terms of its more problematic areas. So, how old is Jennifer Grey? Here's exactly how old Baby and Johnny are in Dirty Dancing, and whether their age is far too wide.
Related: All HBO Max Original Shows & Movies Releasing In 2022
How Old Are Baby And Johnny
How old is Jennifer Grey? Well, clues in Dirty Dancing place Johnny's age at 25 years old and Baby’s age at 17. At the beginning of Dirty Dancing on HBO, Baby's narration references the "summer of '63." Early dialogue reveals that she's planning to attend Mount Holyoke (an all-female private college in Massachusetts) to study the economics of underdeveloped countries. In the politically charged Dirty Dancing, Baby also states that she plans to join the Peace Corps shortly before laying eyes on Johnny for the first time. Some reports have suggested that Baby is supposed to be 18 or even 19 years old. However, based on iMDB's trivia notes and a 2017 interview with Grey (via Closer Weekly), it seems that Baby was presumably born in 1946 and is supposed to be 17 years old. The character doesn't actually reveal her age in Dirty Dancing, nor does Johnny ask on-camera. If Baby is indeed a minor, that would explain her father's confrontational attitude toward Mr. Castle throughout most of the film.
In Dirty Dancing, Johnny's 1938 birthdate makes him 25 years old. The character initially questions why Baby gained access to a private dancing area, but then invites her to boogie and subsequently teaches her some moves. Johnny and Baby/Frances slowly become friends while dealing with Penny's medical procedures (Jake Houseman provides the appropriate assistance), and they eventually become romantic partners. Dirty Dancing on HBO never addresses the eight-year age difference between the two characters, which makes the film somewhat controversial – both then and now – because Baby is indeed a minor. In 1963 America, though, it wasn't uncommon for men and women to commit at a young age. The focal Dirty Dancing relationship may not be appropriate, but the age gap isn't enough to make Baby's father concerned during the climactic performance. In fact, Jake Houseman essentially apologizes to Johnny.
How Old Were Patrick Swayze And Jennifer Grey During Dirty Dancing?
The late Swayze was approximately seven years older than Grey in real life. When Dirty Dancing premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1987, Roadhouse star Patrick Swayze was 34 years old and was best known for portraying Darrel "Darry" Curtis in The Outsiders and Jed Eckert in Red Dawn. As for Grey, she had just turned 27 and had previously portrayed Jeanie Bueller in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. She also appeared alongside Swayze in Red Dawn as Toni Mason. In 2010, Grey won Dancing with the Stars season 11, just over a year after her Dirty Dancing co-star, Swayze, passed away at age 57 from pancreatic cancer.
Johnny And Baby’s Age Gap In Dirty Dancing Is Questionable At Best
Johnny and Baby's ages in Dirty Dancing are certainly problematic. And worse still, if she was 17 years old, and he was 25, then New York state law would deem nothing wrong with their relationship. This is a problem, as the age gap is discomforting to think about, technically legal, and would definitely raise concerned discussions were a movie to feature it today. Despite this, age gaps like in Patrick Swayze's Dirty Dancing are unfortunately too common. Movies like Licorice Pizza can get away with extensive lovers' age differences, and people seem to be forgiving of its inclusion. After all, Dirty Dancing is still a beloved and critically acclaimed movie when it comes down to it. The film is so prolific that it got a (pretty terrible) TV remake in 2017. Dirty Dancing remains popular, but when put up to today's standards, the age gap between Johnny and Baby wouldn't fly unquestioned were a script to include it today.
Related: Why Road House Is Patrick Swayze's Most Misunderstood Movie
Dirty Dancing's Problematic Age Gap Isn't Alone
While the age gap in Dirty Dancing is certainly creepy, it's not the only movie to feature a problematic age gap between the two leads. Whether it's the ages of the actors themselves or the characters they play, Hollywood has pumped out plenty of iconic films that showcase uncomfortable age differences between romantic partners. Take, for example, any Woody Allen film. The romance between Colin Firth and Emma Stone in Allen's 2014 rom-com Magic in the Moonlight is a more modern example. The age gap between the two actors is 28 years, with Firth being 53 at the time and Stone being 25. While legal, the knowledge Firth was 28 when Stone was born made many viewers uncomfortable.
A more overt example of narrative enabling uncomfortable, and also illegal, age gaps is 90s classic American Beauty. American Beauty shows a 42-year-old Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey, then 39) falling in love with his teenage daughter's 16-year-old friend Angela (Mena Suvari, then 19). The 1980 Martin Scorsese drama Raging Bull shows an adult Robert de Niro fall for a 15-year-old character played by a 17-year-old actress. Finally, Entrapment, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery, showed sparks fly between the two characters, but did nothing to explain Sean Connery and Zeta-Jones' nearly 40-year age gap. The age difference in Dirty Dancing may be problematic, but it doesn't exist in a vacuum. In the end, the movie isn't alone in its depiction, and it's far from the worst offender.
Next: What Happened To Dirty Dancing's Jennifer Grey
"Dirty Dancing" - a masterpiece of feminism
"Dirty Dancing" - one of the main movie hits of the 1980s, a rare film that was ahead of its time and absolutely not outdated even now. To the news about the continuation of the cult film, we explain why it is impossible.
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Dirty Dancing is one of the most unexpected film successes of the 1980s. No one expected good things from a film with a budget of 6 million and a filming period of a rapid three months: the bosses of the Vestron Pictures studio, after looking at the footage, at first offered to burn it right away in order to recoup at least some insurance costs, and then insisted that the film should not dishonor the studio and went directly to the video store. And yet, it came out and in a few weeks grew into a giant hit: there was even a movement of viewers (to be fair, female viewers) who watched the film in cinemas a hundred times. nine0003
Those who attribute the film's success to erotic overtones have obviously never seen it - "dirty" in the context of these dances just means "wild", and in the only remotely erotic scene, the viewer is shown a Chinese red paper lamp. The film was not about dirt at all, and not even completely about dancing. He beckoned the viewer with a freedom that could not be repeated either before or later: that every girl can choose her fate and her sexuality for herself. And if you are seventeen years old and you really want to fuck this handsome instructor, then nothing should stop you. This freedom of Dirty Dancing was ignored yesterday, it is often turned a blind eye today, but this is the main thing in the film and not at all the secret reason for its incredible success. nine0003
The story of Dirty Dancing begins with screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein and producer Linda Gottlieb having a dinner together. “I have a good idea for a film,” Bergstein said. “It is based on my life. True, there will be a lot of mamba dancing in it. “Tell me about your life,” Gottlieb asked. Bergstein said: In the 1960s, America, tickets to Europe still cost a little less than planes, and wealthy Jewish families went on vacation to the boarding houses of the so-called Borscht Belt, nicknamed so for its exclusively Jewish population - in Catskill, a mountain range in the Appalachian belt, where, according to Washington Irving, according to legend, Rip van Winkle fell asleep for 20 years. It was here that the entertainment hotels were living their last days, where the rich from Brooklyn settled into expensive - very expensive - bungalows, and they were entertained nightly with dancers, magicians, comedians, musicians and artists. For many of these artists, performing on the "borscht stage" was the first step to a real career - for example, Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce and Jerry Lewis started here. But for decent Jewish girls, the hotels of the Borscht Belt were the only territory of freedom - many of them came here to part with their bored virginity or at least to dance passionately. So it was with Eleanor Bergstein, the daughter of a doctor whose family spent all summer at the Grossinger Hotel in Catskill. Here Eleanor learned to dance the mamba - so much so that she won several competitions - and secretly had an affair with the teacher. The film that Gottlieb and Bergstein came up with that evening was to be called I Was the Teenage Mamba Queen. We were lucky that in the end they decided to turn it into something more interesting: not just by chance, but into a fairy tale. nine0003
The main character of the film, seventeen-year-old Frances Houseman, nicknamed Baby, "baby", comes with her parents and her stupid older sister to relax for a week and immediately falls for the local dance instructor, a young boorish Irishman Johnny. While her parents watch performances and cut into bridge, she eats through the eyes of Johnny dancing with older women rich enough to let a fur coat casually fall from her shoulder to the floor. But then Baby gets a chance to prove herself - Johnny's dancing partner, Penny, flew into the air from one of the waiters who work part-time in a boarding house between studies at Yale. When Baby tries to withdraw money from the waiter for an abortion, he slips Ayn Rand's "Source" to her, saying that all means are good in achieving greatness. And, having borrowed money from dad "for a good cause", Baby goes to learn mamba from Johnny to perform on stage with him while Penny lies under the knife of a passing doctor. After the dance, and after having to once again call on dad to help the dying Penny, Baby will come to Johnny's room and make him dance with her again - her hand will stop on his ass as an unambiguous announcement of intent. It won't break for a long time. nine0003
This is a woman's story, and not at all in the sense of the excessive romanticization that is usually considered feminine, although the kisses here are really tender. This is the story of a woman who herself wanted, chose, seduced, without limiting her sexual desires in any way. She, we recall, is 17, and she is a virgin. She not only chooses herself with whom and how she will lose this virginity, she also saves her chosen one twice, if not three times. The first time is when she dances with him instead of Penny. In the second, when she admits to the whole boarding house that she spent the night with him in order to clear charges of theft from him. And most importantly, when he convinces him that he is not just a boy to please customers, but an adult independent person. Unlike all romantic stories, which, as they say in large studios, women like, the woman here not only does not have a commercial relationship with a man, but also saves him from these commodity relations. It is for this rescue that she gets her name: if at the beginning of the film she was a Baby girl who was going to Harvard to learn how to help starving children in third countries, then at the end she becomes Francis (“in honor of the first woman in the office”), who proved to everyone and daddy, that she is no longer a baby. nine0003
Daddy there, by the way, is practically a metaphor for relations with society. At the beginning of the film, Frances says that she came to the boarding house without imagining that there is a man in the world equal to her father - so for her this is a story of getting rid of parental influence. And poor Johnny, who is very burdened by his social status and poverty and is ready to make a coherent speech only about her, literally raves about Dr. Houseman, he wants so much that he notices him and considers him his equal: he goes to talk with dad, tells the girl in bed, that he saw at night how her dad hugged him by the shoulder. In the finale, it was proved to dad, and this is perhaps the most important thing, because it is obvious to everyone that the love of heroes is one-time, like summer, time of my life happens only once in a lifetime and does not stretch for a lifetime. It is important to prove that you have a right to it. nine0003
So Dirty Dancing is also about acceptance. When in the finale Johnny comes to the most boring of parties and pulls Francis on stage with the phrase "Nobody puts Baby in the corner" (Nobody puts Baby in the corner), which later became iconic (however, in this film everything is iconic), this is also about the soft power of women and other empowerment: she changed him, he supported her, also in the air, so much so that she didn’t crash. Unlike many who later tried to repeat this scene of support in the air, how many of them ended up trying in the emergency room. nine0003
Another thing is that, discharging its feminist clip completely, the film does not solve the social conflict at its core. It is obvious to everyone that Johnny will continue to be a poor Irishman, and Baby, having enjoyed his embrace, will go to lead a rich life in the Ivy League. In numerous interviews, the screenwriter said that she specifically chose the summer of 1963, the last summer of liberalism - Martin Luther King had already said his famous speech, Kennedy had not yet been killed. Soon there will be Beatles, hippies, protests, changes that our hearts did not demand. Patrick Swayze, in a late interview, said a completely amazing thing: that for a long time he resisted saying the phrase about Baby and the corner, argued with the producers, and only when he grew up did he understand what it really means: Johnny continues to serve. Only earlier he served rich aunts for money, and now young maidens for human relations. If you think about it, that's the way most worldly philanthropy works. nine0003
It is much more offensive that of all the revolutionary ideas of Dirty Dancing, only the sexual “folk” dance invented by the choreographers, hip to hip, migrated to the people. However, the last dance of Frances and Johnny is still customarily repeated as the first dance of the newlyweds, and the song they dance to, written specifically for the film, (I've Had) The Time of My Life has become one of the three most popular in America funeral songs. We can say that the film is behind the times in only one thing: among the many couples on the dance floor, only one is racial and not a single same-sex. Or almost none: pay attention to how in the finale two respectable Jewish old women start dancing with each other and how people around are scandalized by this. nine0003
In "Dirty Dancing", of course, everything is a bit from the realm of fantasy, both love and dance. So, Patrick Swayze insisted on doing all the stunts on his own - and as a result, he fell from the very log on which he so easily balanced in the frame, and injured the very knee, due to the injury of which he had ten years before I had to leave my dancing career. And repeating the famous support in the final is completely dangerous for health. It is no less dangerous to repeat the actions of heroes: I would not advise an underage Jewish girl to try to explain to her doctor father that she does not want to go to Harvard, but wants to sleep with a poor Irish dance instructor. A modern person can have only one reaction to this: is this even legal? No insipid partisan feminism of films of recent years can replicate the success of Dirty Dancing, because it requires acknowledging too many living human feelings - attraction, desire, pride. nine0003
One of the main myths of Dirty Dancing is that the actors really couldn't stand each other. Their dislike was obviously overblown: if it were so obvious, we would not have, for example, the famous scene where the characters crawl towards each other on the floor to the song Love is Strange Micky & Sylvia, one of several in the film shot without scenario, when the camera was rolling during the warm-up of the actors. In his autobiography, The Time of My Life, Swayze walked over Gray without malice, saying that she giggled a lot and sometimes fell into a stupid mood, because of which the scenes had to be re-shot several times. One of these giggles turned into another canon scene of the film - the director decided to include failed takes in the editing, where Jennifer cannot help laughing when Patrick runs his hand over her armpit. After Patrick's death, Jennifer Gray told The Hollywood Reporter: "He smelled so good, he had such soft skin, he was so strong, so caring. " It looks more like a hidden love than an obvious hatred. nine0003
But life, unfortunately, does not look like a feminist fairy tale. It rarely happens in it that a weak girl falls for a guy and drags him into her life by the ass with an unwavering hand. And it often happens that a young actress with a bright Jewish appearance does a nose job to adjust to Hollywood standards - and flies out of the film industry with a whistle, because no one needs her like that, with an ordinary nose - and the actor at this time with rides horses with his wife and earns millions on his Texas ranch. Both actors were not too lucky with their careers: Swayze was slowly forgotten after "Ghost", Gray was immediately forgotten after rhinoplasty. Both made an attempt to return to the 2000s - she participated in "Dancing with the Stars", he played his last, truly great role in the TV series "The Beast", filming 12 hours a day, despite the wild pains from an aggressive form of cancer, and almost literally died under the spotlight. nine0003
All his life, Patrick Swayze refused to take part in the remake of Dirty Dancing, no matter how much money he was offered for them. He believed that it was impossible to repeat their success, just as it was impossible to revive the chemical attraction between the characters. For a fee of four million dollars, he starred in the film Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights, playing a cameo role as a dance teacher, and clearly showed how he sees the fate of the dancer Johnny: a lonely dancer in a foreign land. Announced in 2020, plans for a sequel in which Jennifer Gray will co-star and produce are not needed for anything other than a last-ditch attempt to save her career. nine0003
But, for God's sake, don't improve and modernize Dirty Dancing. It is impossible to shoot anything more modern than them today - even in TV shows they are afraid to talk openly about abortion, show female sexual desire, give teenage girls the right to have sex with whom and how they want, so clearly expose the social system or demonstrate how rich mature women buy themselves for money young male flesh. Show us honestly at least a small part of this - and you have already made a revolution. Revisiting "Dirty Dancing" today, you clearly realize that the time has become not less, but more puritanical, and that much less can be said on the screen today. It is impossible to repeat them, but, thank God, you can revise as much as you like. nine0003
Dirty Dancing star's biography and personal life, photos before and after surgery
Together with Patrick Swayze, she conquered the world by playing the role of a teenage girl in the Dirty Dancing melodrama. But success did not help Jennifer Grey: she considered herself ugly and decided to take a step that gave her a perfect appearance. And lost everything.
Dirty Dancing, starring Jennifer Gray and Patrick Swayze, is called the most unexpected hit 1980s. After watching the finished material, the studio executives wanted to immediately burn the film: in their opinion, this way it was possible to avoid shame and return part of the money spent through insurance. And what else could be expected from a project for which a ridiculous amount of 6 million was allocated and which was “concocted” in just three months? Nevertheless, the film hit the cinemas, and, to the great surprise of the "big bosses", in just a few weeks it became an absolute hit.
Some viewers, unable to part with the charming main characters, beautiful music and incendiary dances, went to the cinema as if they were going to work, not missing a single show. Patrick Swayze, after the film "Dirty Dancing", managed to star in many more films, he was and remains in the memory of a Hollywood star, everyone knows him. But the name and filmography of Jennifer Grey, despite the success of this film, is almost unknown to the general public. nine0003
Biography of Jennifer Grey: daughter and granddaughter of actors
Becoming an actress Jennifer was written in her birth. Grandfather is a musician and famous comedian, mother is a singer, father is a film and theater actor. The girl was taught to dance from a very early age, then acting classes were added to the dancing. She first appeared on the screen in commercials, and at the age of 24 she starred in a film for the first time. But the truly popular and recognizable actress Jennifer Gray woke up only after Dirty Dancing. By the way, Matthew Broderick pushed her to star in the project, then the current husband of Sarah Jessica Parker was the fiance of Jennifer Grey. nine0003
Touching appearance and plasticity allowed Jennifer Gray to look younger than her years - at that time she was already 27, and she was to play a 17-year-old shy girl. But the producers unconditionally accepted her candidacy. However, Patrick Swayze was ten years older than the hero described in the script: he was already 35. This did not prevent him and Jennifer Gray from making a charismatic couple in Dirty Dancing.
Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray's mutual dislike
But the shooting of the film "Dirty Dancing" was not at all as easy and provocative as it might seem. Patrick spoke about the acting abilities of Jennifer Gray - she seemed to him insufficiently prepared for the role. She, of course, was offended and unpleasant, she even cried at times. But their mutual dissatisfaction is completely invisible on the screen: they managed to create a beautiful story of incipient love, almost a fairy tale. There were other troubles: for example, during the filming of the scene where the characters rehearse a complex support in the water, Jennifer Gray caught a bad cold, she even had to lie in the hospital: the water was icy. nine0003
But everything is coming to an end, and this work has come to an end. And brought tremendous success to the filmmakers: $ 200 million at the box office, an Oscar for the soundtrack, a Golden Globe nomination in the Best Actress category for Jennifer Grey.
What about Jennifer? The actress was unhappy. It seemed to her that she was ugly, and that this was especially noticeable on the screen. She was very irritated by her own nose, a small hump infuriated her.
And in 1987, her appearance was mutilated in an accident. Jennifer Gray and Matthew Broderick went to Ireland, a beautiful journey turned into a tragedy: Broderick lost control and flew into the oncoming lane, two people died in an accident, Jennifer Gray injured her neck and face, and this event affected her life. This accident ended the relationship between Jennifer Gray and Matthew Broderick.
In 1989, it became known that Jennifer Gray and Johnny Depp had an affair. At that time, Jennifer was a real star, and Depp was just starting his acting career, so their romance was bright, but ended in just a couple of months. nine0003
In the same year, Jennifer Gray decided to have an operation and lay down on the table to a plastic surgeon, who made her a perfect, neat nose that fully meets Hollywood standards.
She probably didn't hear the saying "Perfect is the enemy of good. " Having lost her former, imperfect nose, Jennifer Gray lost her charm at the same time, she lost her “zest”. Before and after the operation - two different Jennifer Grey. With a new nose, she was not recognized on the streets. She was no longer a cute shy Baby - she turned into one of thousands of actresses with perfectly even identical noses, with a typical pretty face. nine0003
By the way, other actresses decided to change the shape of the nose at different times, you can read about it here.
The end of Jennifer Gray's star career
This was the collapse and turning point in the biography of actress Jennifer Grey. Signed contracts were terminated with her and they stopped filming: who needed one out of a thousand? Jennifer Gray was left with second-rate series and episodic roles. The filmography of the actress mentions participation in television series: Perfect Crimes, John from Cincinnati, Phineas and Ferb, New Adventures of Old Christina. Jennifer Gray in "Friends" also got a cameo role. The last work of Jennifer Gray was the appearance in 2010 in an episode of the television series House M.D. nine0003
Jennifer Gray regretted what she had done. But it was too late. Years later, in one of the interviews, the actress confessed:
“I entered the operating room as a celebrity, but left as nobody. I will always be that once-famous actress that no one recognizes because of the unsuccessful work of the surgeon.
Well, it still wasn't the end of the world: Jennifer Gray wasn't completely without work and roles. After Dirty Dancing, Jennifer Gray's filmography consists of episodic roles. In addition to television series, she participated in numerous television shows, without refusing any projects, even became the winner of one of the seasons of Dancing with the Stars when she was already 52 years old. By the way, this project brought her not only victory in the competition, but also great luck, practically saved her life: before the start, all participants were forced to undergo a complete medical examination, Jennifer Gray was unexpectedly diagnosed with a malignant tumor of the thyroid gland, and she managed to perform the operation on time without negative consequences. nine0003
Jennifer Gray refused to star in the remake
And in 2016 she was offered to “shake the old days” - to star in the sequel to Dirty Dancing. But the actress refused: the fact is that she was not to play Baby, and she could not imagine herself in any other role. Years and even decades have passed since the release of the film. Actress Jennifer Gray has long ceased to be offended by the severity and criticism of Patrick Swayze. She understood: all his criticism was dictated by the high professionalism of the actor and the demand for the same full return from the rest. When in 2009In the year Patrick died of cancer, for Jennifer it was a real grief. She remembered her partner with great warmth and tenderness:
“Patrick had a rare combination of raw masculinity and surprising subtlety. He was beautiful and strong, a real cowboy with a tender heart."
According to Jennifer Grey, she will always have the fondest memories of Patrick in her heart: “He was fearless and always insisted on doing all his own stunts.