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Abigail Breslin to Star in ‘Dirty Dancing’ TV Movie at ABC

Abigail Breslin has signed on to star in a TV movie musical adaptation of “Dirty Dancing” for ABC, Variety has learned.

The Lionsgate TV-Allison Shearmur Productions program will be a re-imaging of the 1987 movie that stars Jennifer Grey as a wide-eyed ingenue named Baby whose world is opened when she falls for Patrick Swayze’s dance instructor at a 1960s summer resort in the Catskill Mountains. Breslin will take over Grey’s part with Jessica Sharzer (“American Horror Story,” “The L Word”) writing the adaptation and Wayne Blair (“The Sapphires,” “Septembers of Shiraz”) directing.

Exec producers are Allison Shearmur (“The Hunger Games” franchise; “Cinderella”) and Eleanor Bergstein, who wrote the screenplay for the original movie. Producers are Adam Anders and Judy Cairo (“Crazy Heart”). It will be choreographed by “Hamilton’s” Andy Blankenbuehler with music by Adam Anders and Peer Astrom (“Glee”). “Gosford Park’s” Stephen Altman will serve as production designer.

As opposed to other productions in this genre like NBC’s recent “The Wiz Live!” and Fox’s upcoming “Grease Live,” this version will be taped ahead of broadcast, rather than presented as a live event.

ABC has been developing the “Dirty Dancing” TV movie for quite some time, and began going out to talent for the two lead roles about one year ago. While Patrick Swayze’s role has not been filled, insiders tell Variety there is a wish list of high-profile talent.

The film version of “Dirty Dancing” was directed by Emile Ardolino. It was reportedly made for $6 million, but grew into a worldwide phenomenon that grossed $214 million. It was also adapted into a 2004 stage musical, “Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage,” which was also written by Bergstein. That same year, a prequel titled “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights” was released. It starred Romola Garai and Diego Luna.

Breslin is repped by CAA and Beth Cannon at Envision Entertainment. Sharzer is repped CAA. Blair is repped by UTA. Anders is represented by WME.

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