Jennifer Grey, that tousle-headed deity of Dirty Dancing fame, is giving in to our age's collective nostalgia and has answered the one question we would all want to ask: namely, if Jennifer Grey recast Dirty Dancing in 2016, who would she choose to play the leads? When asked the question on the radio show Just Jenny (hosted by Jennifer Hutt), she had an answer on the tip of her tongue... almost as if she'd been mulling it over as long as you did on your last sick day Dirty Dancing stream. That answer? Natalie Portman and Ryan Gosling. Or Channing Tatum.
Why Gosling? “Well, the Gos has just got something, do you know what I mean?" she said. "He’s just got something. He’s that very mysterious goyim... He’s Canadian... He’s just got that crazy thing where you look at him and go, oh god, that, what would that be like? And that’s all you need a guy to do. And you know he's a great dancer.” She cites Gosling's video with Justin Timberlake as the must-see video for proof of the Canadian thespian's dancing skills.
While I'm digging Grey's choices, I can't help but feel this imaginary casting call hasn't been opened up enough to other contenders. Let's explore the other actors who could embody the role with just as much fire as Portman, Gosling, and/or Tatum. I'll be rating contenders on two vital qualities: dirt (how much sexual tension the potential couple might have) and dancing.
Taylor Lautner And Jessica Alba
Did you know Taylor's got some fancy footwork up his sleeve? Now you do. And Alba was everything in Honey (where she played a hip hop choreographer), so you know she can handle herself on the dance floor. While Alba's 35, making her a little bit of a mature Baby, Grey's pick, Portman, is the same age, so I'm dismissing any age-based objections.
Dirt — 3/5
Taylor Lautner launched into the limelight courtesy of his heartthrob role in Twilight and he's currently flirting his way into the emotion-free Chanel No. 3's heart on Scream Queens. In short, much of Lautner's career has been built on having smoldering sexual tension with his onscreen partner. On the basis of Lautner being 50 percent of this pairing, I'm giving them a three. I've deducted two simply because Alba, while an amazing dancer, can sometimes be a little stiff in her physical action scenes. Check out the video; Alba looks like she's doing a choreographed make-out session.
Dancing — 4/5
I know these two can both dance, and Jessica tiny, which will make the final lift effortless. They're definitely at least a four.
Justin Timberlake And Vanessa Hudgens
Obviously, obviously, obviously. To me, Grey opting for Gosling over his fellow Mouseketeer, Justin Timberlake, is a travesty. Look, I get the Gosling appeal. Who doesn't? But Gosling's the guy you want to go for coffee with to talk about politics and the state of the planet. Johnny in the movie is not that guy. Johnny is the guy you want to get physical with — by which I mean, shaking it on the dance floor. While I have no great desire to go for coffee with Timberlake, I would trade my last kidney for one dance with him. And Vanessa Hudgens is a no-brainer. She can dance, she can act, she's got an innocent quality, but she's also able to bring a warmth and flirtiness to her performance.
Dirt — 4/5
Both Timberlake and Hudgens give off a flirty vibe, no matter what they're doing, whether it's being in an advert or starring in other musicians' videos. I can't help but feel like the sexual energy if the two were paired for this movie would be off the charts.
Dancing — 5/5
Hudgens can really shake it, and so can Timberlake. This imaginary couple would slay it on Dirty Dancing.
Eddie Redmayne And Emma Stone
Eddie Redmayne has a certain lanky grace that could be appealing. Sure, he's not perfect, but he could be trained up. Also, he's adorable, and who hasn't wanted to be boosted into a triumphant end-of-song lift by those British arms? I feel like Emma Stone is his psychic soulmate: she's got a similar appeal, something that's smart and crafty and innocent all at once.
Dirt — 3/5
Stone's sultry, cat-eyed energy would be all-important for the sizzle in this modern remake of Dirty Dancing, because, sadly, Redmayne, while a work of art to gaze upon, is charming precisely because he seems so sweetly nervous around other human beings. This is a very lovely quality; it makes him seem authentic. But I guess it's hard to imagine him bringing the heat in their scenes.
Dancing — 3/5
Stone also has the moves, so I'm not worried about this couple performing on the dance floor. They'd definitely deliver a solid performance. Bu, I've got to admit I cast this couple more out of affection for both actors than for them being the best dancers out of my picks here.
Ultimately, I think the best choice here has to be Timberlake and Hudgens. They're both ultra good-looking dance fiends who are also gifted with abundant acting ability. How could I choose anyone other than this pair for a remake? Studios, if you're reading this: please snap up this pair immediately. This is the remake the universe needs.
Images: Vestron Pictures; Rossana Odar; taylorlautnerbr; Movieclips; Tiley Hollywood; Jaime L.; Vanessa Hudgens; BBC America; Yin Ines/Youtube (8); Giphy (3)