Dirty Dancing set for revamp

The coming-of-age film Dirty Dancing, which helped vault the late Patrick Swayze to leading-man status in the 1980s, is set for a remake.

Original choreographer Kenny Ortega to direct Lionsgate remake

Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey starred in the coming-of-age romance Dirty Dancing, which is set for a remake. (Lionsgate Home Entertainment/Associated Press)

The coming-of-age film Dirty Dancing, which helped vault the late Patrick Swayze to leading-man status in the 1980s, is set for a remake.

Lionsgate has announced plans for a new version of the 1987 movie, with its original choreographer — Kenny Ortega — moving into the director's chair.

Kenny Ortega, who served as choreographer for the original Dirty Dancing, will direct the forthcoming remake. (Dan Steinberg/Associated Press)

Ortega's recent credits include helming the posthumous Michael Jackson concert movie   This Is It and the High School Musical films.

"It has been almost 25 years since [Dirty Dancing ] was released, but the fans remain legion and engaged more than ever," Joe Drake, president of Lionsgate film group, said in a statement.

1960s-era summer romance

Set in 1963, the original featured actress Jennifer Grey as an idealistic, college-bound woman who blossoms during a forbidden summer romance with a working-class dance teacher (portrayed by Swayze) while on a family vacation at a Catskills resort. The cast included noted stage actors Jerry Orbach, Kelly Bishop and Jack Weston, as well as tap dancer Charles Cole.

A modest hit that won Oscars for its music, including the song (I've Had) The Time of My Life, Dirty Dancing garnered a devoted cult fan base after its release on home video. It inspired a theatrical adaptation that was staged internationally, including in Toronto and London. However, a 2004 sequel, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, was poorly received.

Other dance films of the era, including Fame and Footloose, have also been revisited in recent years.

Search for new 'triple-threats'

For the Dirty Dancing remake, which has yet to be cast, the story will be modernized and new compositions will be added to the soundtrack, according to Lionsgate.

Ortega said he was eager to find "the next breakout triple-threats" — performers able to act, sing and dance — to follow in the footsteps of Swayze, an actor with a dance background who recorded a ballad for the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.

Swayze died of pancreatic cancer in 2009. About a year later, Grey made headlines when — citing Swayze as her inspiration — she won the TV dance competition Dancing With the Stars.