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Dirty Dancing (1987) Poster

(1987)

Trivia

Baby tells Johnny that her real name is "Frances, after the first woman in the cabinet." Frances C. Perkins was the U.S. Secretary of Labor from 1933 to 1947. She was appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during his first term, and served throughout all four of his terms and two years into Harry Truman's Presidency.
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Jump to: Director Cameo (1)
Patrick Swayze had to convince Jennifer Grey to be in this film, because she had disliked him so much while filming Red Dawn (1984).
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The very famous scene where Johnny and Baby are practicing their dancing and they are crawling towards each other on the floor wasn't intended to be part of the film; they were just messing around and were warming up to do the real scene, but Director Emile Ardolino liked it so much, he kept it in the film.
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In the scene where Johnny and Baby are practicing dancing, and she keeps laughing when he runs his arm down hers, it was not part of the scene. She was actually laughing, and his frustration was genuine. They left it because it was effective. Her falling over in this scene was unplanned too.
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While the exteriors and cabin scenes were filmed at Mountain Lake in Virginia, the lake scene was filmed at Lake Lure in North Carolina in October. There are no close-ups because the cast members were so cold, that their lips were blue.
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During the scene where Baby and Johnny are dancing in the woods and later in the water, since that part of the movie was shot in October at Mountain Lake, Virginia, which is when all the leaves on the trees start changing colors, the trees all around the lake and for that scene were spray-painted green, due to the fact that the time frame of the movie was set in the summer. If you look closely during that scene in the woods, you can see leaves falling off the trees, this doesn't happen in the summer.
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Patrick Swayze was offered six million dollars to reprise his role as Johnny for a sequel. Swayze wasn't a fan of sequels and turned it down.
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The dancing that Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey do during the love scene was the same dance that they did for the screentests. It was not originally supposed to be in the film.
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Jennifer Grey, at twenty-seven, was ten years older than the character of Baby. During her audition, she had five minutes to prove she could play younger, and that she had the moves for the role.
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The song "She's Like The Wind" was co-written by Patrick Swayze with Stacy Widelitz and sung by Patrick Swayze.
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Patrick Swayze insisted on doing his own stunts. During the log scene he kept on falling off of the log and injured his knee so badly, he had to have fluid drained from the swelling.
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The movie's line "Nobody puts Baby in a corner." was voted as the #98 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).
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In 1975, Jennifer Grey's father, Joel Grey, starred in a very short-lived Broadway musical, Goodtime Charley, about the son of Charlemegne. One of the ensemble dancers, according to the Playbill program for that show, was Patrick Swayze.
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Relations between the two main stars varied throughout production. They had already had trouble getting along in their previous project, Red Dawn (1984), and worked things out enough to have an extremely positive screentest, but that initial cooperation soon faded, and they were soon "facing off" before every scene. There was concern among the production staff that the animosity between the two stars would endanger the filming of the love scenes. To address this, Eleanor Bergstein and Emile Ardolino forced the stars to re-watch their initial screentests, the ones with the "breathtaking" chemistry. This had the desired effect, and Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey were able to return to the film with renewed energy and enthusiasm.
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Director Emile Ardolino encouraged the actors and actresses to improvise, and often kept the cameras rolling, even if actors and actresses went "off script". One example of this was the scene where Jennifer Grey was to stand in front of Patrick Swayze with her back to him and put her arm up behind his head while he trailed his fingers down her arm (similar to the pose seen in the movie poster). Though it was written as a serious and tender moment, Grey was exhausted, found the move ticklish, and could not stop giggling each time Swayze tried it, no matter how many takes Ardolino asked for. Swayze was impatient to finish the scene, and found Grey's behavior annoying. However, the producers decided the scene worked as it was and put it into the film, complete with Grey's giggling and Swayze's annoyed expression. It became one of the most famous scenes in the movie, turning out, as Choreographer Kenny Ortega put it, "as one of the most delicate and honest moments in the film."
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According to a December 2008 interview with Screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein, the characters of Baby and Johnny were both influenced by Bergstein's own biography. Like "Baby" Houseman, Bergstein came from a liberal Jewish family who visited Catskills resorts during the 1960s. Her father was a doctor, she was nicknamed "Baby" until she was twenty-two-years-old, and her real first name was the same as a famous woman with strong ties to the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration (Eleanor Roosevelt). Like Johnny Castle, Bergstein was a skilled "dirty dancer" who learned at house parties, and later became an Arthur Murray instructor.
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The crew had to make up Cynthia Rhodes to look worse during the agony scene, because she was too beautiful without make-up to look convincing.
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The song, "(I've Had) The Time of My Life", was voted #86 on the American Film Institute's 100 Years... 100 Songs.
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The film was re-released in 1997 solely due to a petition led by late-night talk show host Conan O'Brien, in which he asked viewers to send letters calling for the film's re-release. When exhibitors finally agreed, O'Brien joked that he actually didn't like the movie all that much.
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The film's soundtrack started an oldies music revival, and demand for the album caught RCA Records by surprise. According to Franke Previte, before a single had even been released, there were a million albums on back-order. The Dirty Dancing album spent eighteen weeks at number one on the Billboard 200 album sales chart, and went platinum eleven times, selling more than thirty-two million copies worldwide. It spawned a follow-up multi-platinum album in February 1988, titled "More Dirty Dancing".
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A scene which Johnny is dancing with Baby in her bra, which was cut from the theatrical version, is in the deleted scenes on the special features on the 25th Anniversary Edition DVD.
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Throughout the film, Johnny and Baby always wear contrasting colors: Baby wears very light colors, and Johnny wears black or something very dark.
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It's never explicitly stated, but Penny needs Baby's money for an illegal abortion. The doctor is described as having only "a dirty knife and a folding table". In 1963, when this movie is set, abortion was still illegal in the U.S.
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The love scene between Johnny and Baby during the "Cry to Me" sequence that was cut from the film is featured on the 20th Anniversary DVD release in 2007.
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The book that Robbie tries to lend to Baby as an explanation for his refusal to help Penny is "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand. Rand was the creator of a philosophy called Objectivism, which holds (amongst other beliefs) that it is more important for a person to be concerned with his or her own well-being rather than to try to help others. Some of her adherents (including, apparently, Robbie) interpret her books as justification for selfish and self-serving behavior, and the disavowal of responsibility to others.
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Rehearsals quickly turned into disco parties involving nearly every cast member, even non-dancers such as Jack Weston. The dancing and drinking went on almost non-stop and, immersed in the environment, the lead actors and actresses began identifying with their characters. Eleanor Bergstein built upon this, encouraging the actors and actresses to improvise in their scenes. She also built the sexual tension by saying that no matter how intimate or "grinding" the dance steps, that none of the dancers were to have any other kind of physical contact with each other for the next six months.
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Val Kilmer was initially offered the lead, but declined.
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The "Cry to Me" love scene has been voted one of the sexiest movie moments in cinematic history.
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The "Cry to Me" love scene was longer and featured "She's Like The Wind" performed by Patrick Swayze. The scene was cut and replaced by Johnny and Baby making love. The longer version of the "Cry to Me" love scene was featured in the deleted scenes on the 2007 20th Anniversary Special Edition DVD release.
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This was Wayne Knight's film debut.
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Kelly Bishop is only fourteen and sixteen years older, respectively, than Jane Brucker and Jennifer Grey, who played her daughters.
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The Pembroke, Virginia resort where many of the Kellerman's scenes were filmed hosts three Dirty Dancing-themed weekends a year. Dinners, a sock hop, a screening of the movie, a watermelon toss, group dance lessons, and a Dirty Dancing scavenger hunt are just some of the many activities on the agenda.
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When Johnny (Patrick Swayze) is dancing with Penny (Cynthia Rhodes), she is wearing a custom-made red dress that crisscrossed in the back. Swayze kept getting his fingers stuck.
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At the beginning of the film, it is said that Baby will attend Mount Holyoke College in the fall. Her namesake, Frances Perkins, was a graduate of Mount Holyoke, Class of 1902.
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Filming was plagued by the weather, which ranged from pouring rain to sweltering heat. The outside temperature rose to one hundred five degrees Fahrenheit (forty-one degrees Celsius), and with all the additional camera and lighting equipment needed for filming, the temperature inside could be as high as one hundred twenty degrees Fahrenheit (forty-nine degrees Celsius). According to Choreographer Kenny Ortega, on one day, ten people passed out within twenty-five minutes of shooting. The elderly Paula Trueman collapsed and was taken to the local emergency room to be treated for dehydration. The uncooperative weather then took a different turn, plunging from oppressive heat to down near forty degrees Fahrenheit (four degrees Celsius), causing frigid conditions for the famous swimming scene in October. The crew wore warm coats, gloves, and boots. Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey stripped down to light summer clothing, to repeatedly dive into the cold water. Despite her character's enjoyment, Grey later described the water as "horrifically" cold, and she might not have gone into the lake, except that she was "young and hungry".
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The part of Baby's mother was originally given to Lynne Lipton, who is briefly visible in the beginning, when the Houseman family first pulls into Kellerman's (she is in the front seat for a few seconds; her blonde hair is the only indication), but she became ill during the first week of shooting and was replaced by Kelly Bishop, who had already been cast to play Vivian Pressman, the highly sexed resort guest. Bishop moved into the role of Mrs. Houseman, and the film's Assistant Choreographer Miranda Garrison took on the role of Vivian.
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Billy Zane told TMZ that he and Sarah Jessica Parker had auditioned for the leads.
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Max Cantor (Robbie Gould) was the son of Broadway Producer Arthur Cantor. They lived in the Dakota Apartments on West 72nd in New York City with John Lennon and other residents. Max attended Harvard University and died of a heroin overdose at the age of thirty-two.
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In the last scene, Baby's mother, Marjorie Houseman (Kelly Bishop), says of Baby's dancing, "I think she gets it from me." Not so fast, Mom. Bishop was a well-known Broadway singer and dancer, but Dr. Jake Houseman (Jerry Orbach) began his career in Broadway musicals and the father of Jennifer Grey is Tony and Oscar winner Joel Grey. Their most famous Broadway musicals, "A Chorus Line" for Bishop, and "Chicago" for Orbach, had a famous rivalry for box-office receipts and awards when they opened within a few months of each other in 1975.
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The song, "She's Like The Wind", originally written for Grandview, U.S.A. (1984), was used in this movie instead.
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In a 2006 interview with The Guardian, Eleanor Bergstein talked about the movie's popularity with people in the former Eastern Bloc. "And in Russia, it's policy in the battered women's shelters, when a woman comes in for help. First, they wash and dress her wounds, then they give her soup. Then they sit her down and show her Dirty Dancing. When the Berlin Wall came down, there were all these pictures of kids wearing Dirty Dancing t-shirts; they were saying, 'We want to have what they have in the West! We want Dirty Dancing!'"
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The original version of the "Cry to Me" love scene featured Jennifer Grey nude. But her appearing nude in the film did not do well in test screenings, and it was taken out of the film, and it does not feature in the deleted scenes in the 2007 20th Anniversary DVD, and no footage can be found.
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Johnny Castle was originally Italian. This was changed when Patrick Swayze was cast.
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Dr. Ruth Westheimer was asked to play the role of Mrs. Schumacher opposite Joel Grey as her husband, but turned it down when she realized the character was a thief.
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Voted number two "Must See Movie" of all time by listeners of Capital FM in London, England.
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Bill Medley told Songfacts that when he was hired to sing for the film, he thought it sounded like a bad porno.
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In an interview with AFI, Swayze explained why he thought Dirty Dancing endured for so long. "It's got so much heart, to me," he said. "It's not about the sensuality; it's really about people trying to find themselves, this young dance instructor feeling like he's nothing but a product, and this young girl trying to find out who she is in a society of restrictions when she has such an amazing take on things."
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Toward the end of the movie, Lisa, Mr. Kellerman, and several others sing an anthem to the Kellerman's resort ("Join hands and hearts and voices/Voices, hearts and hands...") in the talent show. This song's lyrics were written for the movie, but the tune is a traditional one (known variously as "Amici" or "Annie Lisle") from the early 1800s that has been used as the basis for the alma maters for many well-known American universities, including Cornell University, The University of Alabama, The University of Kansas, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Patrick Swayze was a dance instructor in Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004).
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Cynthia Rhodes (Penny Johnson) was the first to be cast.
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Director Emile Ardolino only wanted experienced dancers in the film, to avoid the problems of using dance doubles, which occurred in Flashdance (1983).
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The tight schedule allowed only two weeks for rehearsal and forty-four days for filming, as it was already the tail end of summer.
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Although religion is never mentioned outright in the movie, and many non-Jewish viewers never perceive this aspect of the plot, the Houseman family and many other main characters are supposed to be Jewish. The resort on which "Kellerman's" was based, Grossinger's Hotel (along with most of the other Catskills resorts in the so-called "Borscht Belt") was opened in the early twentieth century to cater mostly to Jewish vacationers; this was because at the time, it was very common for other hotels and resorts to reject Jewish customers. When this movie was released, many reviewers mentioned the family's Judaism as a matter of course; for example, Vincent Canby's New York Times review called Baby's background "conventionally liberal (and) Jewish," and Roger Ebert's print review said that "the family's opposition to a Gentile boyfriend of low social status" was "obviously the main point of the plot." In a 2011 interview, Screenwriter, Eleanor Bergstein, characterized it as a Jewish movie, "if you know what you're looking at."
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Patrick Swayze and Jerry Orbach died of cancer. Orbach died of prostate cancer on December 28, 2004, at the age of sixty-nine. Swayze died from pancreatic cancer on September 14, 2009, at the age of fifty-seven.
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Jane Brucker, who played Baby's older sister Lisa, co-wrote the song "Hula Hana", but she didn't receive credit for writing the song until March 18, 2002.
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Billy Zane was considered for the lead role, but he didn't dance well.
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The shooting wrapped on October 27, 1986, both on-time and on-budget. No one on the team, however, liked the rough cut that was put together, and Vestron executives were convinced the film was going to be a flop. Thirty-nine percent of people who viewed the film did not realize abortion was the subplot. In May 1987, the film was screened for producer Aaron Russo. According to Vestron executive Mitchell Cannold, Russo's reaction at the end was to say simply, "Burn the negative, and collect the insurance."
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Sharon Stone auditioned for Baby.
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Patrick Swayze wore a girdle to look thinner and younger.
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According to the book "The Catskills Alive" by Francine Silverman, Jackie Horner was the prototype for the Penny Johnson character.
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Patrick Swayze and Cynthia Rhodes previously worked together in the music video for Toto's song "Rosanna".
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Eleanor Bergstein originally wanted "Cousin Brucie" Morrow to portray the social director, but then later asked him to play the part of the magician.
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The cast stayed in the same hotel at Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke, Virginia, and at the 1927 Lake Lure Inn and Spa in Lake Lure, North Carolina.
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When Vestron Pictures was looking for a corporate sponsor to help promote the film, Proctor & Gamble, manufacturers of Clearsil skin care and acne ointment, almost signed on feeling that it could be a vehicle to reach a teen target audience. The company backed out, however, due to their dislike of the Penny abortion subplot.
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When Baby mentions "monks burning themselves in protest" at the beginning of the film she is referring to the day a Buddhist monk (Thích Quang Ducset) set himself on fire in Saigon in a ritual suicide to protest government anti-Buddhist policies. Therefore we can assume the action starts after June 11, 1963, when this occurred.
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On a television talk show segment featuring brothers of famous actors, Patrick Swayze's brother Don said that Patrick was a much better dancer than shown in the film. Since the character of Johnny Castle wasn't a professional, Patrick's having to tone down his moves was understandable.
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Jennifer Grey was about to embark on a publicity tour to promote this movie when she and then boyfriend Matthew Broderick were involved in a head-on collision in their rental car in Ireland, in which a mother and daughter died, in August 1987.
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The famous line, "Nobody puts Baby in the corner." is also the title of a Fall Out Boy song, from their 2005 album "From under the Cork Tree".
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The film gave Wayne Knight his first big movie role. Before starring as Stan, the resort's social director, Knight had small roles in a few television movies, including an uncredited role in the nuclear holocaust drama The Day After (1983). This movie showcased his talents, which in 1992, led him to be cast as Newman on Seinfeld (1989).
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On an episode of American Pickers (2010), Mike and Frank visited one of the locations where filming took place.
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Delays in the shooting schedule pushed filming into the autumn, which required the set decorators to spray-paint the autumn leaves green.
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The producers of It's My Turn (1980) cut out an erotic dance sequence out of it. This inspired that movie's Screenwriter, Eleanor Bergstein, to write the screenplay for this movie.
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During filming, members of the cast and crew visited Sharlow's restaurant in nearby Christiansburg, Virginia. The personal tensions between Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze were evident. Many of the cast were in very high spirits, and were noisy, but well-received patrons of the establishment. Jennifer Grey was a very subdued guest, who apologized many times for the more colorful behaviors of her co-stars.
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At thirty-five-years-old, Patrick Swayze was older than the role of Johnny by fifteen years, and was only eight years younger than Kelly Bishop (Baby's mother).
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A running gag through out the movie is Stan making bad jokes.
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Even though the movie is set in 1963 and several of the dance songs are from that period, the song "I've Had the Time of My Life" was written in 1987.
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In the "Cry to Me" love scene, Johnny is dressed in black and Baby is dressed in white.
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First choice for the role of Baby was Mindy Cohn, but she was unavailable.
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Sarah Jessica Parker and Billy Zane auditioned for the roles of Baby and Johnny.
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Director Cameo 

Emile Ardolino: At the scene right before Johnny goes in to the kitchen to get Penny.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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