- In her memoir, “Out of the Corner,” Jennifer Gray details the struggles of working on “Dirty Dancing.”
- She said the original script felt unnatural and needed reworking.
- Gray said Swayze didn’t want to say the film’s famous line, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”
Jennifer Gray details her challenging experience on the set of “Dirty Dancing” in her new memoir, “Out of the Corner.”
“The ‘Dirty Dancing’ set was famously beset with problems,” she wrote. “Extremely chaotic. You could almost say cursed.”
Among the struggles, which included shooting during extreme weather conditions, health issues, injuries, and crew members dropping out, she said they also had to deal with problems with costumes and the script’s dialogue.
Gray said that during pre-production, “The script was not exactly ready to go.”
Her costar, Patrick Swayze, also struggled with the script, she said.
“Patrick had similar issues with his dialogue, and strenuously resisted saying the now-famous line, ‘Nobody puts Baby in a corner,'” Gray wrote.
Swayze’s character, Johnny Castle, says the iconic line in the film’s climactic scene before he and Baby, played by Grey, wow her family with their dance routine.
Despite his initial resistance, the iconic line remained untouched in the final script.
“I could hardly bring myself to say: ‘Nobody puts Baby in a corner.’ It sounded so corny,” Swayze wrote in his own memoir, “The Time of My Life.” “But, seeing the finished film, I had to admit it worked.”
However, according to Grey, another dialogue “that didn’t exactly roll off the tongue” was changed.
Gray and Swayze worked with the director, Emile Ardolino, to go through the script, “trying to make it sound a bit more natural,” she said.
She said that Ardolino was an “ally” during the process. The cast would receive new, edited scripts from their reworks every night, she said.
Gray also struggled with the breathless monologue her character, Frances “Baby” Houseman, had to say when worrying about never feeling the same way as she feels when she’s with Johnny. This also remained untouched though.
In addition to the script revisions, Gray also remembered there being a contest to see who could come up with a new movie title.
“Surely ‘Dirty Dancing’ was never going to last,” the cast and crew thought, according to Grey. She added, “In the eighties, it sounded too scandalous to be able to reach its mainstream target audience.”
But again, like some now-iconic lines, this stayed as it was.