We’re Getting Schooled With These 10 Facts About Grease 2
Everybody loves Grease – but it’s fair to say not everybody loves Grease 2. A sequel to the 1978 film, it takes place two years after the original film and follows Pink Lady Stephanie Zinone and her burgeoning romance with new kid Michael Carrington. The film flopped, but still continues to be discussed, watched, and dissected to this day. Here are 10 facts about this controversial film.
20. Didi Conn was told that she was “no longer needed” halfway through filming
Didi Conn was one of the few actors from the original Grease film who reprised their role in the sequel. But oddly, viewers will notice that Frenchy – Conn’s character – seemed to disappear halfway through Grease 2. In a 2003 interview, Conn revealed that Frenchy disappears halfway through the movie because the character was written out after filming had begun.
Apparently, the script was unfinished when they began filming, but the draft they were initially using still included Frenchy. After Frenchy was cut from the script, Conn was told that she was no longer needed. However, filmmakers ultimately decided to include Frenchy in the film’s final cut, even if Conn was axed midway through shooting.
19. Michelle Pfeiffer didn’t use a stunt double for the motorcycle ride scene
Apparently, Michelle Pfeiffer performed her own stunts in the famous scene where Stephanie and Michael go on a romantic motorcycle ride. The scene sees Stephanie taken for a ride at twilight by the Cool Rider before they share a brief kiss. The loved-up pair are then interrupted by the arrival of the T-Birds and Pink Ladies.
Before the Cool Rider – aka Michael – leaves, he tells Stephanie that he’ll see her again soon at the school talent show. According to Maxwell Caulfield’s stunt double, Gary Davis, in the iconic scene Michelle Pfeiffer “sat behind me, then I lifted her around to where she straddled me, and then we wheelie’d away. She was wonderful the whole time.”
18. Michelle Pfeiffer and Maxwell Caulfield did not get along
Although Stephanie and Michael might have had great chemistry on-screen, in reality, Michelle Pfeiffer and Maxwell Caulfield were at loggerheads for the majority of the time during filming. Both offered an insight into their frosty relationship a few years after the film was released. In one interview, Caulfield claimed that they “got along infamously.” In another interview Pfieffer branded Caulfield as “self-adoring.”
Caulfield – whose career stalled after the movie, a stark contrast to Pfeiffer’s rise to stardom – went on to reveal that it was difficult to watch his former co-star achieve such great success. “It was, psychologically, quite a kick in the pants,” he told Page Six in 2021. “Michelle rose like a Phoenix, right? Did ‘Scarface,’ and that so that made it even, frankly, a little harder to swallow.”
17. A few big names were almost in the film
While Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta don’t turn up in Grease 2, some other big names in showbiz almost made appearances. Andy Gibb – the youngest of the Bee Gees brothers – was initially set to play the male lead, but he failed to make the cut after a poor screen test. Another music icon, Cher, initially signed on to play Paulette Rebchuck.
However, the singer eventually dropped out due to the low salary and unfinished script. Jennifer Beals also signed on to play Sharon Cooper, but dropped out when she was offered the lead role in Flashdance. Debbie Harry of Blondie was also asked to play the lead role of Stephanie Zinone, but she declined because she thought she was too old to play a schoolgirl. Clearly she hadn’t seen Grease!
16. Maureen Teefy didn’t make it to the recording session for Do It For Our Country
Do It For Our Country is a duet between Sharon (Maureen Teefy) and Louis (Peter Frechette), which sees Louis try to convince Sharon to get under the covers with him. In the song, the pair are shut into a fallout shelter where Louis tells Sharon that nuclear war is imminent and tries to convince her that they should “do it for their country.”
If you’ve listened to the movie’s soundtrack, you might have noticed that Teefy doesn’t feature in the song. The actress couldn’t actually make it to the recording session so Frechette had to sing the whole song himself. This explains why Teefy’s vocals aren’t on the official soundtrack. Teefy’s voice was ultimately dubbed in later.
15. Pamela Adlon got into a car accident before shooting wrapped
Unfortunately, Pamela Adlon – who plays Dolores Rebchuck in the film – got into a car accident while on her way to set one day. The accident occurred about halfway through shooting. Thankfully Adlon was not seriously injured and most of her scenes were already filmed anyway. For the scenes where Adlon was missing and recovering from her ordeal, stand-ins were used. If you look closely you can spot a stand-in during the talent show sequence.
Adlon went on to become a successful actress after her appearance in Grease 2. Notably, she appeared in Say Anything…, Bed of Roses, and Lucky. She’s also gone on to have a successful career on the small screen: she voiced Ashley Spinelli in the Disney TV show Recess and Brigette Murphy in Milo Murphy’s Law. She also featured in Californication.
14. There’s a small nod to Kenickie
Fans of the original film will be pleased to know there’s a nod to Kenickie in Grease 2. During the scene where Michael is confronted after trying to get a T-Bird’s locker, you can catch a glimpse of the license plate of Kenickie’s Greased Lightning car (DXJ 432) hanging inside the locker. If you look extra closely, you can also spot a pack of cigarettes and a wrench from the auto shop class.
Initially, filmmakers wanted the real Kenickie (aka Jeff Conaway) to feature in the film. Not only that, but they also wanted Rizzo (Stockard Channing) to make an appearance too.
Early plans for the film actually had Kenickie and Rizzo as main characters, and the movie was meant to document their time at summer school. Ultimately, this idea was scrapped – largely because Channing had left Hollywood by the early 80s, choosing to work on her stage career instead.
13. Michelle Pfeiffer only went to the audition “as a fluke”
Most of the people involved in Grease 2 were tarnished by their association with the film’s poor reviews and reception. But for Michelle Pfeiffer, it turned out to be a role that helped launch her career. However, it almost wasn’t to be, as Pfeiffer was initially ambivalent about the role. “I went on this audition as a fluke,” she recalled in an interview with Interview Magazine in 2012.
“And somehow, through the process of going back and dancing, and then going back and singing, I ended up getting the part.” She continued: “I went crazy with that movie. I came to New York and the paparazzi were waiting at the hotel. I know the producers put them up to it. I am basically very private, and I’m really nervous about doing publicity. Every time I set up an interview, I say, ‘That’s it, this is my last one. I’ll do this because I committed to doing it, but I’m never doing another one.’ It was insane.”
12. Johnny Nogerelli was going to be Danny Zuko’s cousin
In the film, new kid Michael Carrington is introduced as Sandy Olsson’s cousin – a neat little detail that helps connect Grease 2 to the original film. But producers almost went one step further and considered making Johnny Nogerelli – Stephanie’s ex-boyfriend – Danny Zuko’s cousin. However, in the end writers thought that making Michael Sandy’s cousin and Johnny Danny’s cousin would be overkill, and so the idea was scrapped.
However, there is still a connection between the characters of Johnny Nogerelli and Danny Zuko, even if they aren’t cousins as initially suggested. Adrian Zmed, who took on the role of Nogerelli in Grease 2, had previously played Zuko in the national touring company production of Grease back in the 70s. He later appeared in the Broadway musical, appearing as Zuko again. He reprised the role one last time at the age of 40 on Broadway in 1995.
11. The film helped repopularise bowling
Although it’s fair to say the film had little to no impact on the film industry, it certainly left an impact on bowling alleys across the US. The song Score Tonight, set in a bowling alley, combined with updated, mechanised scoring helped rejuvenate bowling and made it a trendy game again. Prior to the movie’s release, bowling alleys in the US had been declining in popularity, but following the release they were given a new lease of life.
Jeff Conaway – who plays Kenickie in the original film – was supposed to make a cameo during Score Tonight as the Bowling Alley Manager. However, the idea was scrapped an Tom Willett took on the role instead. Willett went on to co-star in the TV Series Dear John starring Judd Hirsch. Although Conaway did not make an appearance in Grease 2 there are a few references to Kenickie in the film.