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Kenny Ortega to Direct 'Dirty Dancing' Remake

The "High School Musical" helmer was the choreographer of the original film released in 1987.

Kenny Ortega
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for The Painted Turtle

Kenny Ortega has been hired to direct a remake of Dirty Dancing for Lionsgate. In a fun twist, the High School Musical helmer was the choreographer of the original film released in 1987.

Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze starred in the Emile Ardolino-directed film, about a teenaged girl on summer vacation with her family at a Catskills resort in 1963 who falls in love with the head dance instructor and his risque moves.

The film became hugely successful ($214 million worldwide gross), spawned a bestselling soundtrack of period tunes (including a hit from Swayze) and launched the immortal phrase (often shouted with irony): "Nobody puts Baby in a corner!" In the 24 years since its release, the film has sold more than 10 million copies on DVD. It also prompted a sequel, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, that bombed in 2004.

“The opportunity to direct Dirty Dancing is like returning home for me," said Ortega. "Growing up in the 60’s on the dance floor helped define me as a person and as an artist. I am looking forward to assembling a great creative team and an exciting cast to bring Dirty Dancing to the screen for a new generation. Patrick Swayze set the bar for men dancing in the movies as Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire did before him. I believe everywhere you look there is evidence that the talent is out there and I can’t wait to begin the process of discovering the next breakout triple-threats.”

Debra Martin Chase (The Princess Diaries) is producing the reboot with Ortega. Eleanor Bergstein, who was the writer and co-producer of the original film, is in talks with the studio about being involved as a producer. Production president Alli Shearmur is overseeing the project for Lionsgate.

The Paradigm-repped Ortega most recently directed the posthumous Michael Jackson documentary This Is It in 2009. He has also directed High School Musical 3: Senior Year, Hocus Pocus and Newsies.