'Grease' Prequel 'Summer Loving' in the Works With John August Writing (Exclusive)

Grease- Film still-John August-Photofest-Getty-Inset-H 2019
Paramount Pictures/Photofest; Inset: Getty Images

Tell me more, tell me more.

Paramount is revving up some greased lightning.

The studio’s division Paramount Players has put into development a Grease prequel, titled Summer Loving, and has tapped John August, the veteran writer behind such films as Big Fish and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, to pen the script.

Temple Hill, the prolific banner whose recent output ranges from Love, Simon, the Maze Runner movies and First Man, is producing along with Picturestart, the company run by Lionsgate executive-turned-producer Erik Feig.

Grease is the classic 1978 musical that starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John as high school teens from opposite worlds — Travolta’s Danny Zuko a rough-and-tumble greaser, Newton-John’s Sandy Olsson a virginal good-girl from Australia — who in the end come together "like rama lama lama."

However, in the early part of the movie, in a he-said/she-said manner, Zuko and Olsson both recount to their friends a summer fling they had via the song "Summer Nights." Zuko’s tale is more graphic, while Olsson’s is much innocent and wistful.

The prequel's story is said to tackle that fateful meeting.

Grease has proved to be an enduring title for Paramount over the decades, with the songs continuing to be part of pop culture and the film being reissued in anniversary editions every few years (although a sequel made a few years after the original starring Michelle Pfeiffer never motored). In 2016, Grease got the “live for TV” treatment on Fox in a version starring Julianne Hough and Vanessa Hudgens, which proved to be a hit, winning five Emmys in the process.

August, who is a regular collaborator of Tim Burton’s, has two movies coming out this year. He shares writing credits on Aladdin, Disney’s live-action remake of its classic animated movie set to open May 24, and he worked on Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, the Guillermo del Toro-produced adaptation of the children’s horror stories. 

August is repped by UTA and Hansen Jacobson.