‘Dirty Dancing:’ Jennifer Grey Had 5 Minutes To Prove She Could Play a Character Who Was 8 Years Younger

Dirty Dancing is a classic romance movie with Patrick Swayze portraying one of the main characters. Jennifer Grey acted alongside him as Baby. However, getting the starring role took a surprising turn for the actor, who, reportedly had only 5 minutes to prove she could act Baby’s age. 

Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze starred in ‘Dirty Dancing’

With only a few months left before joining the Peace Corps, Baby is looking for a summer to remember. She doesn’t think she’ll find it at a sleepy Catskills resort until a local dance instructor picks her as his partner. 

A whirlwind romance ensues with plenty of drama and dancing, complete with the iconic lift at the end of the movie. Dirty Dancing, starring Grey as Baby, premiered in the 1980s and remains a favorite film for many dancers and rom-com enthusiasts.

During one interview with News Hub, Grey shared what the filming and the audition project was like. She shared that she was sure another actor would star alongside her. That is, until she danced with Swayze.

“Billy [Zane] was one of my partners, and I thought he was going to get it because he was very like Marlon Brando and his dancing was pretty good,” Grey said of the audition process and finding her scene partner. “But then I remember Patrick and I dancing together, and all of a sudden it was very easy.”

American actors Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in 'Dirty Dancing'
American actors Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in ‘Dirty Dancing’ | Getty Images

Jennifer Grey was quite a few years older than her character, Baby

Baby, fresh out of high school and looking forward to her new adventures as an adult, is still a teenager in Dirty Dancing. With the movie being set in 1963, and Baby is 18 years old, while her love interest, Jonny, is 24 years old. 

Grey, 27 years old at the time, was eight years older than the character of Baby. As a result, at her audition, she had only 5 minutes to prove she could play younger and rock the dance moves needed for the role. Swayze’s age at the time of filming Dirty Dancing, according to Closer Weekly, was 34 years old.


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Now, Grey will reprise the role for an upcoming ‘Dirty Dancing’ project

Aside from Dirty Dancing, Grey appeared in a few other iconic movies of the 1980s, including Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Red Dawn. Now, fans look forward to another Dirty Dancing related project, recently announced by the actor. 

Most of the details are still foggy regarding this upcoming release, including its premiere date. However, due to the actor’s death from pancreatic cancer, Swayze will not appear in this sequel. Still, fans look forward to new adventures, filled with plenty of nostalgia. 

In the meantime, fans can watch the original Dirty Dancing with a subscription to HBO or with a premium subscription to Hulu.