Jennifer Grey Turned Down Role in ABC's 'Dirty Dancing' Remake

Dirty Dancing
Vestron Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

The red-hot chemistry between aspiring dancer Baby (Jennifer Grey) and her hunky instructor Johnny (Patrick Swayze) made this iconic '80s flick a sensational dance movie and a classic romance. Not only was the film a box office success, but the soundtrack also became popular with the unforgettable tune “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” winning the Academy Award for best song. The epic ending dance routine is widely regarded as one of the most famous dance scenes of all time.

Jennifer Grey wants ABC's Dirty Dancing remake to stand on its own.

The actress was offered a role in the network's forthcoming TV movie but turned it down.

"I was asked to do something on that show and I was flattered because I always want to be asked because it's nice to want to be included. But for me, it would be sacrosanct for me to do it because it didn't feel appropriate to me," she told The Hollywood Reporter following a panel for the second season of Amazon comedy Red Oaks on Sunday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour stop. "It feels like if you're going to do your own thing, do your own thing. I wouldn't say [what role was offered] but I will tell you, it wasn't Baby!"

ABC's Dirty Dancing stars Abigail Breslin, who will take on Grey's role of Baby in the 1960s-set romantic drama in which the young sheltered character falls in love with her dance instructor (originally played by the late Patrick Swayze).

ABC's yet-to-be-scheduled Dirty Dancing is a three-hour TV movie from Emmy-nominated writer Jessica Sharzer (American Horror Story, The L Word). Grammy nominee Adam Anders and Peer Astrom (Glee) will tackle music for the new rendition. Tony winner Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton) will be responsible for choreography.

"I am always interested in any iteration of something where they feel there's more to be gotten and I would love to see what it is that they come up with," Grey said of the ABC reboot. "Tommy Kail [Hamilton] directed it and I'm obsessed with Hamilton, so that's thrilling to me. I think they've got wonderful actors in it. I'm going to be watching it and I'm excited. My only advice is to own it for yourself because we all just do our interpretation and I'm only flattered and excited for people who are excited enough to put their stamp on it and see what they make of it and how they make it their own."

The actress joked during Sunday's panel for Amazon's 1980s-set comedy Red Oaks that she had the best of times during the decade that one critic described as "sucky."

"The '80s were great. When they were talking about it being sucky, they clearly weren't having the same '80s I was having; I was having the time of my life!" Grey said with a knowing nod to one of Dirty Dancing's best-known songs. "I was big in the '80s, so that was good! I thought the '80s was a very exciting time. At the time, it felt like it was a loss of innocence but looking back now, it just looks like preschool compared to where we are now in terms of innocence. I think it was a really exciting time. The fashion was terrible, the hair was terrible, but the music was great."

Grey also used her time with the press after the panel to reminisce about working with Swayze on the beloved movie.

"He smelled really good, his skin was really nice. He was really strong and he was very protective and his heart was very much in it," she said. "It was our second movie we'd done together within a short time — we did Red Dawn first and then Dirty Dancing. He was a great dancer and he was fearless. His fearlessness with my fearfulness — like his lack of Jewishness and my super Jewishness — together was like a marriage where you have two opposites. He'd do anything and I'd be scared to do anything."