Jennifer Grey, best known for her role as Frances “Baby” Houseman in Dirty Dancing, has revealed the film’s iconic lift scene in the lake almost didn’t happen because of Patrick Swazye's damaged knee.
The actor had been forced to turn down other dancing roles and even had to leave the prestigious Eliot Feld Balet Company after suffering a knee injuring in college.
Writing in his autobiography, Swayze vividly difficulties in filming the scene: "It was horrifyingly, hypothermically cold in that lake, and we filmed that scene over and over," he wrote.
"And despite the fact that Jennifer was very light, when you're lifting someone in water, even the skinniest little girl can feel like 500 pounds."
The injury was so severe, Swayze would have to ice it regularly and even have it drained, he revealed in his autobiography: “Because most of the cartilage in my knee was gone, the bones were just grinding painfully on each other.” Ouch.
Despite what must have been considerable pain his pain, he clearly battled through and the scene became easily one of the most memorable in modern cinema.
Speaking to The Sunday People, she revealed her own difficulties with filming THAT scene: “I remember swimming in the lake was very, very, very cold. “'It was not good. I remember thinking: ‘Can you die if your nipples explode?’ It just didn’t feel healthy to be in that water.”
The film’s other famous lift scene – during the final moments of the film when Johnny Castle returns for his final dance at Kellerman’s – also almost didn’t happen too. The stage had been freshly painted, making the dance moves especially difficult.
She said: “The paint would stick to my feet so I couldn’t turn. All the extras were sitting around, just hundreds of people, watching you about to fall on your face.”
Earlier this month, Dirty Dancing’s script writer Eleanor Bergstein said she was “ready” to bring Baby and Johnny back to the big screen and write a sequel to the 80s classic.
She said the characters were: “very particular people who find a very particular reality with each other, and I do want to explore that now".
Do you want to see a Dirty Dancing sequel, or should they leave the classic alone?
Words by Fong Chau.