Seriously? OMG! WTF? » Grease’s director Randal Kleiser reveals 27 things you don’t know about it!
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[ # ] Grease’s director Randal Kleiser reveals 27 things you don’t know about it!
August 24th, 2015 under John Travolta, Olivia Munn

It has been 37 years since Grease came out in the theaters and it is still very popular today. So much so, Paramount Home Media just released a Digital Sing-A-Long version of the beloved musical last week. For decades, we have been singing along with Danny and Sandy, and now we really get to do it with them any time we want. Not only does the Digital release include the Sing-A- Long version, it also includes several special features like deleted scenes, how the movie was cast, filming some of the movie’s most special moments and interviews with the leads when it came out.
If that is not enough Grease for you, last week I got a tour of some their most iconic locations from the director himself Randal Kleiser. During the nearly two hour trip down memory lane for us, we visited some of the film’s stages on the Paramount Lot, John Marshall High School where they filmed the final scene and the LA River where Thunder Road went roaring through. Along the way, he revealed many things about the making of the movie that you and I probably didn’t know about until now. Things that any Grease fan would really love to know.
Then when you are done reading these 27 things you didn’t know about Grease and Randal Kleiser, surf on over to Amazon, iTunes or any other place where you download Digital movies and buy the Sing-A-Long version of Grease. This way you can watch it and Sing-A-Long with the students of Rydell High any time you want.

1 – Randal Kleiser worked with John Travolta before in 1976’s telemovie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble.

2 – The studio was filming Grease and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band at the same time and they were expecting the film based on The Beatles song to be a bigger hit than Grease. They were wrong.

3 – They had 5 weeks of rehearsal leading up to the production. Then they filmed the movie in less than 55 days.

4 – Carrie Fisher was considered for the role of Sandy before Olivia Newton-John.

5 – George Lucas and Kleiser were roommates in college. They worked on each other’s first films. Years later, they would direct two of the biggest films of the late ‘70s.

6 – For his 20th birthday, Lucas blindfolded him and took him to Disneyland. Decades later, they would have attractions there across the street from each other. Lucas’ was Star Tours and Kleiser’s was Honey I Shrunk the Audience.

7 – Keep your eyes out for all the cute little things that they added to the screen to make the Grease Sing-A-Long experience even better than it already is.

8 – Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty had offices across the way from where they were rehearsing the song and dance numbers for Grease, and the Oscar winners would occasionally yell at them to keep it down.

9 – The drive-in scene was an improvised day of filming. Kleiser asked for a bunch of animated movie trailers from the ‘50s to be sent to him for review and they didn’t arrive until day of the scene. When they got there, he had the crew sit with him at Pickwick Theater, to select which one would work for the movie. As we know, they settled on the one with the popcorn and the hot dog.

10 – The swing that John Travolta sits on in that scene is a homage to his childhood drive-in in Philadelphia that had one for the kids to sit on while they waited for the film to start.

11 – Kleiser met and loved Olivia Newton John as soon as he saw her at a party with producer Alan Carr, but he wasn’t sure if she would be able to do the film’s last scene because it was so opposite from her. When they were filming the drive-in scene, wardrobe and makeup decided to test out her style for that last look. Kleiser told us that all of sudden there was a commotion surrounding a woman with big hair. Kleiser thought it was an extra until she got up close to him. As soon as he realized it was Newton-John, he knew at the moment that she could handle being bad Sandy.

12 – They had no idea what they were going do for “You’re the One that I Want” until that day. Believe it or not, choreographer Patricia Birch didn’t choreograph that scene until that day.

13 – They rented a carnival for that scene.

14 – The day they shot the final scene at John Marshall High School, it was around 100 degrees. Needless to say, the actors were all sweating up a storm in their leather jackets and jeans.

15 – He saw Grease for the first time in Chicago. As soon as he saw Summer Nights in the stage version, he knew how he wanted to film that scene.

16 – Kleiser’s mentor is An American in Paris’ Nina Foch and she was able to set up a dinner for the director of The Sound of Music, Robert Wise, to talk to him about making a musical. Wise asked him, “How much prep time do you have?” He told him, “Five weeks.” Wise said, “You should back out of this movie immediately. You need about 2 years to prep a musical.” That advice from the man, who also directed West Side Story, terrified him.

17 – Even though Grease was the first feature film he directed, it wasn’t the first time he worked on a musical. He was an extra on Hello Dolly, Camelot and five Elvis Presley movies, so he knew what to expect.

18 – You might remember as Stockard Channing was singing “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee”, you can see a picture of Elvis Presley in the background? The day they filmed that scene is also, sadly, the same day that he died.

19 – Barry Pearl, who played Doody, is the man who keeps the cast together up until today. He emails them updates and keeps them informed about reunions and such.

20 – Bee Gee’s Grease theme song was not the original tune that was used in that animated opening. When Kleiser heard Barry Gibb’s song for the first time, he thought the lyrics were too dark for the film. So he went over to Gibb, who was filming Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Band, and asked him if he could change the lyrics to make them happier. Kleiser explained that his lyrics were very serious and there was nothing serious in the movie. Gibb responded with, “Why don’t you shoot a serious scene?” Kleiser did not add a serious scene and the song stayed in. Now go listen to song again, and try not to be too upset that it was just ruined for you.

21 – They filmed the drag race scene at the LA River near Downtown LA. Once again, it was a hot day, so Kleiser was walking around barefoot. The director cut his foot and then stepped in the stagnant water there. The next day he was sick as dog and had a high fever. He was so ill that they had to shut down production for the day.

22 – Annette Charles, who played Cha Cha, left the hospital while she was recovering from surgery, to film the Thunder Road scene. That is how much she wanted to be in it. When they were done filming for the day, she went back into the hospital to finish her recovery.

23 – From Grease to Greece. Kleiser filmed 1982’s Summer Lovers in Greece with a just starting out Daryl Hannah and Peter Gallagher. The beautiful and sensual film was recently released on Blu-ray.

24 – The actors, who were seen flying, in Beauty School Dropout, actually got high before they got high. They quickly regretted that decision.

25 – At the end of the movie, when they say they are not graduating because they have to go to summer school, there is a reason for that. Alan Carr wanted to call Grease 2, Summer School. The producer wanted the sequel to happen in the summer, so he added it that line into the story.

26 – He was busy working on The Blue Lagoon when they were filming Grease 2, so he was not available to do it.

27 – Randal Keiser just finished working on a virtual reality movie called Defrost with Blue Lagoon’s Christopher Atkins, Rocky’s Carl Weathers and It’s My Party Bruce Davison.


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