'Grease' prequel 'Summer Lovin' finds its director

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Grease, directed by Randal Kleiser (Credit: CBS via Getty Images)

The prequel to iconic teen musical Grease is back on track, with Paramount securing a director for the project.

According to Deadline, Brett Haley will be behind the camera, who made comedy musical Heart Beats Loud with Nick Offerman and Toni Collette, and 2017 drama The Hero, starring Sam Elliott.

The movie is called Summer Lovin', and will pivot on the premise of Summer Nights, the musical number from the original movie.

In it, John Travolta's Danny and Olivia Newton-John's Sandy detail how they met over the summer holidays, with Danny's account of events differing starkly to that of Sandy’s.

It's been penned by Leah McKendrick and John August, who wrote the screenplay for Disney's Aladdin remake and has worked often with Tim Burton on movies like Dark Shadows and Big Fish.

The original movie, released in 1978, was based on the musical of the same name by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, which debuted in Chicago in 1971 before moving to Broadway a year later where it enjoyed a record-breaking run.

Grease (Credit: CBS via Getty Images)

Directed by Randal Kleiser, it cemented Hollywood stardom for Travolta, who'd shot to fame in Saturday Night Fever the year before.

It also made the career of Australian actress Newton-John, providing her with her first major starring role.

Thanks to its abundance of classic songs, including You're The One That I Want, Grease (with vocals from Frankie Valli, and penned by Barry Gibb) and Greased Lightnin', it was a smash at the worldwide box office, making $396 million from its $6 million budget.

That would tip it over $1.5 billion today, accounting for inflation.

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta attend the Academy Presents Grease (1978) 40th Anniversary screening in 2018 (Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

A less successful sequel, Grease 2, starring British-born actor Maxwell Caulfield and Michelle Pfeiffer, arrived in 1982.

Though it bombed at the box office, making just $15 million (and having cost $11 million), it has since taken on something of a cult following.

There's no release date set for Summer Lovin', but Deadline reports that the movie is a 'high priority' for Paramount.