A Grease prequel movie, titled Summer Loving, is in the works. Back in 1978, Paramount decided to adapt the successful Broadway musical Grease to the big screen. The production had built up considerable momentum by that time and Hollywood seemed the next logical stop for such a proven crowd-pleaser.
Though the film version of Grease roughly follows the same plot as that of the stage version – a teenage “greaser” called Danny (played by John Travolta) falls for a respectable Australian transfer student Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) and the two must learn to deal with the differences in their respective social circles – it did remove several characters, plot lines and songs from the original production. New songs were added, as well as characters and different scenarios were explored that had only been mildly alluded to in the Broadway version. Another change for Paramount was toning down the vulgarity and lewdness that was present in the stage production, in order to make the film version slightly more palatable to a wider audience demographic.
Now, just after forty years since the big screen adaptation was released, THR has revealed that Paramount is looking to revive the Grease brand with a prequel. The new film will aim to recount the very first meeting between Danny and Sandy – which both teens sing to their friends about in one of the most well known songs from Grease, Summer Nights. In keeping with the song’s summertime references of teenage romance, the new film will be called Summer Loving.
As of this writing, there isn’t any information on when the film might be released, which actors could potentially fill the shoes of Travolta and Newton-John, or if any of the original Grease cast members will be returning. With the original film having been set in 1958, it stands to reason that Summer Loving will also be set in the '50s. What we do currently know, however, is that the new film will be scripted by John August, who has long been a familiar talent in Hollywood, having written a variety of films for director Tim Burton, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride and Dark Shadows. August is also responsible for co-writing the script for Disney’s upcoming live-action Aladdin remake.
When it comes to musicals, Grease has proven that a well made production with memorable characters, dancing and songs can thrive at the box-office and beyond. It’s tempting to dismiss a Grease prequel as little more than an effort on the part of Paramount to revive past glories, but as the six time Oscar-winning La La Land proved as recently as 2016, there is still life left in the musical, and audiences will respond positively if it’s well done. That’s likely to be a source inspiration for Paramount as they get set to tell us more about Summer Loving.