'She didn't know if she wanted to do a movie.'
Steel yourself to feel incredibly old – Grease is 40 years old this year. It’s hard to believe that it’s really been that long since the boppy tale of Sandy Olsson and Danny Zuko blessed the universe and the crew’s all been feeling pretty nostalgic. In fact, the director Randal Kleiser even went as far as to reminisce on Olivia Newton-John’s Grease audition and revealed that ‘she didn’t know if she wanted to do a movie’.
In a chat with ABC News, Randal revealed that Olivia was top of not only his, but also John Travolta and their producer Allan Carr’s list to play the doe-eyed cardigan-wearing Sandy Olsson. Prior to stepping into Sandy’s shoes (and her slinky black trousers), Olivia was living it up as a solo artist on her way up the chart list. However, it turns out that Olivia had her doubts about tackling the silver screen.
Randal explained, ‘She wanted to have a screen test because she didn’t know if she wanted to do a movie.’
In fact, Olivia’s spoken about her initial reservations before. In an interview with Vanity Fair, she explained, ‘I was very anxious about making another film, because my music career was going well. And I did not want to mess it up by doing another movie that wasn’t good.’
Luckily for us, things all worked out and the film we now know and obsess over came to be.
‘She did the screen test and she loved it,’ Randal continued, ‘and she loved working with John and I – and the rest is history.’
And it literally was, as Grease became a landmark piece of American cinema and Danny and Sandy became one of the best film couples ever. If you ask John though, it never would have been if they hadn’t been able to lock down his co-star in the lead role.
He told askjimmycarter.com, ‘There was only one person on the planet that could be Sandy, and that was Olivia Newton-John. And I was hell-bent to get her in this movie.’
As for what Miss Sandra Dee was like when the cameras weren’t rolling? Randal only had glowing things to say.
Randal explained, ‘Olivia is exactly the way she appears on screen. She’s loveable, beautiful, friendly. I can’t go on and on more about her.’
It warmed our hearts to see that a lot of the old Grease gang were actually reunited the other day at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. Cast members like Didi Conn, who played Frenchie, and Barry Pearl, who played Doody, were in attendance and naturally, John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John were about too. We gushed over the photos of Olivia and John grinning at one another and began mentally writing fanfiction about Olivia and Danny’s life decades after the film ended. (You can’t tell us they’re not still happily married and as badass as ever.)
All this news has made us think we need to get a headstart on our mandatory annual viewing of Grease. We’re cancelling all our plans to stay in, do a face mask and belting Summer Lovin’ as loud as we can tonight.