EXCLUSIVE: Paramount’s Grease prequel Summer Lovin’ is revving up its engine, with the studio tapping Brett Haley to direct the film. Leah McKendrick penned the script with Temple Hill and Picturestart producing.
The 1978 musical classic starred John Travolta as greaser Danny and Olivia Newton-John as good girl Sandy, high school teens who after having a brief summer fling come to find out they are attending the same high school. Even though they come from opposite ends of the world, the two try to make their relationship work while singing now-iconic songs that still resonate today.
One of the songs, “Summer Nights,” details the summer fling that started the relationship, and Summer Lovin will detail that fateful meeting and what followed.
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Grease became a massive hit, turned Travolta into a movie star and spawned a sequel starring Michelle Pfeiffer. In 2016, the film got the “live for TV” treatment on Fox in a version starring Julianne Hough and Vanessa Hudgens, which proved a hit and won five Emmys in the process.
The studio is extremely high on this property and sources say there is a sense depending on how this film goes of the possibility of a franchise down the road. The job that Haley would eventually win was highly coveted and it was not only Haley’s passion for the project but for his pitch up how he could update it for the 2020 audiences.
The film will mark Haley’s first film at a major studio after cutting his teeth on the indie and streaming service circuit. After graduating from University of North Carolina School of the Arts, he hit the ground running directing films like I’ll See You in My Dreams, The Hero and Hearts Beat Loud right out of the gate.
Haley and Temple Hill also already had strong ties after recently working together on the Netflix pic Sorta Like a Rock Star. He also recently helmed All the Bright Places, starring Elle Fanning and Justice Smith.
McKendrick most recently penned Voicemails For Isabelle for Sony Pictures. She is repped by UTA, Mazo Partners, and VanderKloot Law.
He is repped by WME, Grandview and McKuin Frankel Whitehead.
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