Get ready to welcome back Sandy and Danny to the screen. “Grease” is airing live on Fox this Sunday, and it’s a musical event that viewers won’t want to miss!
“Grease: Live” will premiere on the network at 7 p.m. EST Sunday, Jan. 31. “Dancing With the Stars” alum Julianne Hough and Aaron Tveit of “Gossip Girl” will breathe new life into Sandy and Danny, roles originally played by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in 1978. But before you catch the duo sing and dance their hearts out – along with cast members Vanessa Hudgens, Keke Palmer and Mario Lopez – check out some fun facts and trivia about the original movie.
1. Casting: “Grease” fans can’t imagine anyone other than Olivia Newton-John playing Sandy – but she almost didn’t land the role! Carrie Fisher, Susan Dey, Deborah Raffin and Marie Osmond were all considered for the role. Vanity Fair reports that Osmond was a front-runner for the part, but “dropped out in protest” over Sandy’s “transformation from good girl to bad girl.”
2. Elvis: The “Heartbreak Hotel” singer was linked to casting rumors for the role of Teen Angel. The part ended up going to Frankie Avalon.
3. Broadway: People automatically associate “Grease” with the 1978 film, but it was a musical before it became a hit film. It was first performed in Chicago in 1971, and had two Broadway revivals in 1994 and 2007. It’s one of the longest-running shows on Broadway.
4. Another Travolta: John Travolta’s sister, Ellen, had a small role in “Grease.” The actress, who went on to appear in “Charles in Charge” and “general Hospital,” played a waitress with one line – “Oh, there’s Danny and Sandy.”
5. The Songs: “Grease,” “You’re the One That I Want” and “Hopelessly Devoted to You” did not appear in the original play. The three hit songs were written specifically for the film.
6. Filming Locations: “Gease” may be set at the fictional Rydell High in Los Angeles, but in reality filming occurred at three different schools. According to Biography.com, Venice High School, Huntington park High School and John Marshall High School were all used for different scenes.
7. Lucille Ball: Rumor has it that Lucille Ball’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz, was case as Rizzo. However, Buzzfeed reports that Arnaz reportedly lost the role because Ball complained that her daughter shouldn’t have had to complete a screen test. Stockard Channing ended up playing Rizzo.
8. Olivia Newton-John’s Pants: No one can forget Newton-John’s tight, black pants from the final scene. The pants, which were already 25 years old when the actress wore them in the movie, reportedly ripped during filming. She ended up getting sewn into them in order to complete the scene. Surprisingly, the pants are still around today. The actress, now 67, revealed to Us magazine in June that she plans on auctioning off the outfit to raise money for her cancer center in Australia.
9. Money Talks: “Grease” cost $6 million to make and brought in over $400 million at the box office. As a result, the studio gave the green light for a sequel. “Grease 2” didn’t have the same magic. The film, which starred Michelle Pfeiffer and Maxwell Caulfield, was released in 1982 and only made a little over $15 million at the box office. The budget was $11.2 million.
10. Jeff Conaway’s Drug Addiction: Jeff Conaway, who played Kenickie, died in June 2011 at the age of 62 after an accidental drug overdose. Conaway’s addiction to pain killers started after he injured his back while dancing during “Grease Lightening.”
11. Jeff Conaway and Olivia Newton-John: Conaway and Newton-John weren’t just co-stars, they were also in-laws. The actor married her sister, Rona, in 1980. They divorced in 1985.
12. Coach Calhoun: Harry Reems of “Deep Throat” was originally supposed to appear as coach Calhoun in “Grease.” Reems ended up losing the part due to being indicted for conspiracy to distribute obscenity across state lines. Reems was convicted, but the ruling was later overturned. Sid Caesar ended up playing coach Calhoun.
13. Ages: John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John were supposed to be playing high school students, but they were much older than that. Travolta was 23 years old and Newton-John was 28 years old when “Grease” was filmed.
14. Sandy’s Background: Sandy was supposed to be American, however, Olivia Newton-John was worried she couldn’t do the accent. The character was rewritten to be Australian after the actress nailed her chemistry test with John Travolta.