Patrick Swayze's Widow Approves of Dirty Dancing Remake

Entertainment Aug. 11, 2011 AT 5:42PM
Patrick Swayze's Widow Approves of Dirty Dancing Remake Credit: Todd Williamson/FilmMagic; Joe Scarnici/WireImage.com

While some fans are balking at the idea of a Dirty Dancing reboot, one person is behind it -- Patrick Swayze's widow, Lisa Niemi.

Kenny Ortega, the mastermind behind the film's original choreography and natural choice as director of the remake, says he's gotten the green light from Niemi, 55, plus the original cast and crew.

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"Jennifer [Grey] and I have been talking and she’s been so supportive, as has Lisa Swayze and [producer] Eleanor Bernstein, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the outreach that has happened from the cast and crew members from the original movie," Ortega told Us Weekly at Wednesday's So You Think You Can Dance finale in L.A.

They've all said 'Go, Ken!'" he added. Swayze was married to actress and dancer Niemi for 34 years before his death in 2009, at the age of 57, from pancreatic cancer.

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The 61-year-old director/choreographer also dished on whom he might cast in the iconic roles.

Melanie Moore, SYTYCD finalist and favorite, was definitely on the top of Ortega's list. "I would elbow people out of my way to work with her -- she is so versatile, so gifted," he said when asked about casting her in the film. But he has his eye on several of the show's alums including season 4's Neil Haskell: "I've admired him since I first saw him dancing on the show."

As for rumors that Justin Timberlake, Derek Hough and Lea Michele are frontrunners for lead roles, he responded simply, "I haven’t read anything yet."

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He's got his work cut out for him to find the right onscreen duo to bring the 1987 classic back to life. "Patrick and Jennifer brought so much, and the chemistry that they had with each other -- I just want to find that match."

And speaking of Grey, fans might see her making a cameo in the new film. "If it’s organic, right and makes sense," Ortega said about bringing her back. "I would love nothing more."

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