Before starring in the romantic drama, Grey, 62, and Swayze previously appeared onscreen together in 1984 action film Red Dawn. And Grey admits she didn’t have the best experience with him then.
“Patrick was playing pranks on me and everybody,” Grey said on The View this week while promoting her newly released memoir Out of the Corner. “It was just, like, macho, and I just couldn’t take it. I was just like, ‘Please, this guy, that’s enough with him.’ “
As a result, Grey was initially opposed to having Swayze sign on opposite her in Dirty Dancing, despite his dance experience and enthusiasm.
But during their screen test, “He pulled me down the hall and said to me, ‘I love you, I love you, and I’m so sorry. And I know you don’t want me to do the movie,’ ” the actress recalled.
Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing (1987)
| Credit: Snap/Shutterstock
“And he got the tears in his eyes. And I got the tears in my eyes — not for the same reason. I was like, ‘Oh, this guy’s working me,’ ” Grey said. “And he goes, ‘We could kill it — we could kill it if we did this.’ “
Her tune soon changed as she realized they had the chemistry the film would need to ultimately be a smashing success.
“We go in there and he takes me in his arms and I was like, ‘Oh, boy. I’m done,’ ” Grey admitted.
She added of her late costar’s swagger, “There was no competition. He was, like, the easy chair I’d been dreaming of my whole life.”
In Dirty Dancing, Grey plays Frances “Baby” Houseman, a teenager whose life is changed after she meets sexy, enigmatic dance instructor Johnny Castle (Swayze) at an upscale Catskills resort during the summer of 1963.
“All I can say is there is no replacing anyone who’s passed — you never try to repeat anything that’s magic like that,” she said at the time. “You just go for something different.”
Reflecting on Dirty Dancing‘s enduring popularity, Grey, who is also set to executive produce the sequel, said the original film’s “appeal was that it was very genuine and simple.”
“It was about innocence and the way that innocence is lost and how people explode into a different iteration of themselves,” she added.