Patrick Swayze's widow poses with wax figure, Kenny Ortega talks 'Dirty Dancing' remake (Video)
Patrick Swayze's widow Lisa Niemi reminisced about her "fearless" late husband and posed next to a new wax figure of him that was recently unveiled at Madame Tussauds museum in Hollywood.
Swayze was married to Niemi, a fellow actress and dancer, for 34 years before he died in 2009 at age 57 after battling pancreatic cancer. The actor's wax figure stands on a log with his arms stretched out, recreating an iconic lake scene from the 1987 film "Dirty Dancing," one of his most popular movies.
"When the curtain actually dropped, I was grateful for all the confetti," Niemi, 55, told OnTheRedCarpet.com at Wednesday's unveiling. "I was kind of bracing myself because I wasn't sure how I'd react. Of course as wonderful and fabulous and festive an event this is, it can't help but feel a little bittersweet. I loved him so much. I am so happy that it came out as beautifully as it did. I think Madame Tussauds put a lot of TLC into this."
In "Dirty Dancing," Swayze played the dance teacher and love interest of a young girl named Baby, played by Jennifer Grey. In the lake scene, his character, Johnny, teaches her to dance while maintaining her balance.
The actress appeared on the ABC reality show "Dancing With The Stars" last year and during one of her performances, recreated another iconic scene from the movie - one that sees her carrying a watermelon. Grey and her partner, Derek Hough, won the 11th season (see photos of their "Dancing With The Stars" performances).
"Getting out and dancing on a log - on 'Dancing With The Stars,' you see those couples going out to dinner and playing a little sports and stuff so they can dance better," Niemi told OnTheRedCarpet.com. "None of them are going out on a log ... or jumping in a cold lake to practice lifts. Because it's crazy. Nobody wants to risk their life like that."
"He would do it," she said about her husband. "Patrick was fearless and confident, creative and he was always taking chances. What's so perfect about this pose is that he's doing what in a lot of ways the movie was aying to many, many women was, 'Come with me and be fearless. Let's take a chance. Whatever you do, don't look down and everything's going to be all right. You gotta trust in yourself and you gotta fly.'"
In August, it was announced that a 2012 remake of "Dirty Dancing" is in the works. Kenny Ortega, the choreographer of the original 1987 film, is set to direct it. He also helmed the 2009 Michael Jackson documentary "This Is It" and three "High School Musical" films.
"We're going to teach Baby to dance again but we're going to find a cast that can stand tall in their own shoes," Ortega, who also attended the unveiling of Swayze's wax figure, told OnTheRedCarpet.com exclusively. "We're not going to try to be replacing this man, because that's impossible."
The director and choreographer said looking at the actor's likeness brought back memories of filming the iconic lake scene.
"We were there on that log together, balancing and dancing and creating this moment in time," he said. "What I love the most is that it's not just a moment from a movie - it captures his spirit, his courage, his wanting to do it all. It's almost like he's inviting us to come and dance with him."
"Walking in, I saw (wax figures of ) Fred Astaire, I saw Charlie Chaplin and I was like, 'Yeah. Boy, does this man deserve to be in there," Ortega added about Swayze. "No one will ever fill his shoes."
He has previously said Niemi has been "so supportive" about plans for the "Dirty Dancing" remake, while Grey has said she is "excited" about it.The original "Dirty Dancing" movie grossed $214 million worldwide and spurred the hit song "(I've Had) The Time of My Life." A film sequel called "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights" was released in 2004 and featured a cameo by Swayze. "Dirty Dancing" which was recorded by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. The Black Eyed Peas sampled the track in the 2010 single "The Time (Dirty Bit)."
Swayze is also known for the films "Road House," "Red Dawn" and "Ghost," a romantic thriller starring Demi Moore.