The rift between them began when they worked together on the film Red Dawn.
"Nobody puts Baby in a corner"
This dialogue still had the power to give us the feels of the love that Johnny Castle and Baby Houseman shared in the 1987 classic movie Dirty Dancing. The chemistry between the leads actors, Patrick Swayze (Johnny) and Jennifer Grey (Baby) was out of the world. The way they danced together in the film can still make some of us squeal with joy and excitement, right?
But did you know that both Swayze and Grey hated working with each other in the film? Yes, it's true. It all started when the pair worked together in another film. Swayze and Grey met on the sets of Red Dawn and that's when their relationship with each other became sour.
Red Dawn was about a bunch of teenagers who form a guerilla army during World War III and according to Celebrity 9, Swayze took his part as the fearless leader a little too seriously. Right before filming, the whole cast had to undergo a rigorous eight-week military training course to understand their characters and the hardworking Swayze went the whole eight weeks without breaking his character.
Grey couldn't handle the way the actor was ordering around people and that impression stayed on with her even years later when they met again on the sets of Dirty Dancing. The age gap of eight years between the two coupled with their different approaches to acting also added fuel to the fire.
Talking about the actors, the producer of the film, Linda Gottlieb told Huff Post, "She [Grey] was genuine, naïve; you would do a take eight times and Jennifer would do it differently every time. Patrick was a pro; he would deliver the same thing again and again. She would cry easily, she was emotional and he sort of made fun of her. He was a macho guy.”
Witnessing all of this, Swayze had quite some impression about his co-star. Gottlieb revealed, “He felt like she was a wimp." Swayze who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2009 wrote about his experience with Grey in his autobiography, The Time of My Life.
According to The Telegraph's report, he wrote, “She seemed particularly emotional, sometimes bursting into tears if someone criticized her. Other times, she slipped into silly moods, forcing us to do scenes over and over again when she’d start laughing.” Apparently, he “didn’t have a whole lot of patience for doing multiple retakes."
But the tension between them turned out to be the reason the movie became such a hit. Swayze too admitted that the chemistry between them was undeniable. He wrote, "I lifted her, she posed beautifully, and I lowered her slowly to the ground, with our eyes locked on each other. It was a lovely moment, and very sexy. The room was absolutely silent — everyone was just staring at us."
According to the choreographer Kenny Ortega, he liked the fact that the stars didn't get along with each other. Talking to The Delite, he said, “Both of them brought so much every day. Sometimes, it was conflict; sometimes it was love. There was something there between the two of them that was unexplainable. They were human fireworks.”
Grey, while speaking with ABC News, echoed Swayze and admitted that their tension was in fact the reason for their sizzling chemistry on-screen. She said, "The thing is that I believe tension is much hotter-looking than just love. And I think there was a very complex dynamic between Patrick and myself for the whole movie." She added, "Whatever our issues were, we had them, but they weren't talked about."
She felt that Swayze was the one who gave her the strength to do all the difficult moves. She continued, "He was really strong and he was very protective and his heart was very much in it."
Now 33 years after the release of the movie, Grey is all set to reprise her role as Baby Houseman in the sequel of Dirty Dancing. The 60-year-old who's also the executive producer of the movie said that this time they won't try to recapture the chemistry she shared with Swayze because "there is no replacing" him.
Talking to People, she said, "All I can say is there is no replacing anyone who’s passed—you never try to repeat anything that’s magic like that. You just go for something different."