If the attachment of High School Musical director Kenny Ortega to Lionsgate’s “musical reimagining” of Dirty Dancing didn’t clue you into the type of movie the studio is trying to make, then the film’s latest screenwriter certainly will. Here’s a hint – this thing looks to be going right for the teen-buck.
Variety reports that Glee co-creator Brad Falchuk has been hired to rewrite the film’s script as first written by Maria Maggenti. While we don’t know too much beyond that this new film will likely hedge to the side of “inspired by” the Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey-starring new classic, we do know that it will “incorporate classic songs from the 1960s, hits from the original film and brad new compositions.” So, pretty much what Glee does (and not nearly as well as it used to) every week? You know it. For the sake of the project, let’s just hope Zac Efron is available for the new school take on the Johnny Castle role, because it would be pretty surprising if Ortega went after anyone else.
The newest Dirty Dancing incarnation has been in the works for a bit longer than one might expect from such a recognizable property – back in 2009, Lionsgate hired Julia Dahl to pen a script for their new version, though the trail went cold form there. The project picked up speed last August when Ortega signed on to direct it, however, with Maggenti coming on board later that month for scripting duties. Back then, I commented on the weirdness of Maggenti’s resume – she most recently wrote the screenplay for Monte Carlo (a seemingly collaborative effort that involved three other people), and the rest of her work includes a number of episodes of Without a Trace, two more adult romance features – Puccini for Beginners (which she also directed) and The Love Letter, and a current streak of signing on for adaptations of popular novels, including Lauren Oliver’s “Before I Fall” and Ann Brashares’s “My Name is Memory.” There was no trace of Maggenti getting close to a dance film or series with a ten-foot pole, so adding Falchuk to the mix isn’t entirely nuts.
But Falchuk’s resume? Even weirder! Besides co-creating Glee with Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan (his duties have also included writing and directing on the series), he also wrote and directed on Nip/Tuck (with Murphy) and the pair created American Horror Story together. You try getting a read on what kind of film this new Dirty Dancing will be from that resume. The project will also mark Falchuk’s first foray into feature-writing.