Patrick Swayze and His Wife Do a Dance
Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niemi
is dancing again, but there isn't anything dirty about it. The drama One Last Dance
, written, directed by and costarring his wife, Lisa Niemi
, represents a passion project nearly two decades in the making. Now that the film (about a trio of dancers who must reunite to save something dear to them) is available on DVD, the marrieds are having, well, the time of their life.
TVGuide.com: You recently had a birthday, Patrick. Do you feel, what is it, 53? What are we saying these days?
Patrick Swayze: Well, I've never lied. I'm feeling like I should start to, though, what do you think?
Lisa Niemi: He's always been totally honest about his age.
Swayze: I'm 53 and it's amazing.
TVGuide.com: As amazing as the fact that you two have been married for 30 years. What is your secret?
Swayze: Keep dancing and keep looking in each other's eyes.
TVGuide.com: Tell me about One Last Dance's origin.
Niemi: It was based on a play that we wrote more than 18 years ago, Without a Word, which was very successful and won six Drama Critics Awards. It was basically based on our experiences as concert dancers in New York, and it affected people a lot. For a long time we didn't know how to adapt it [to film]. Finally we realized that if you're going to talk about the dance world and the heart and soul of a dancer, you really needed to have lived it. It was really important to us that this film [came across as] authentic. And at the same time, we tell an intimate story about healing a past hurt so that you can be as alive as you can.
TVGuide.com: The reunited dancers played by the two of you and George de la Pena deal with much bigger problems than wrong dance steps.
Swayze: [Laughs] Yeah, and that's a big part of why, we are starting to realize, this movie relates to everybody from ladies in the retail world to truck drivers. It reminds us that it's never too late to rediscover a dream we gave up on, or to make up a new one, which is in keeping with everything Lisa and I believe in as we go around supporting dance companies. Last night we had an event for the Joyce Dance Theatre, one of the few major dance venues in New York City, which wants to build a theater at Ground Zero — and that's a big deal. I can't imagine a more beautiful thing to go there than something about the celebration and continuation of life.
TVGuide.com: You also had a hand in the One Last Dance soundtrack?
Swayze: Lisa and I wrote the two big songs, "When You Dance" and "Finding My Way Back." I've been writing music for movies of mine for years, since "She's Like the Wind," and this soundtrack [available at OneLastDanceMovie.com] looks like it's going through the roof.
TVGuide.com: Are you relieved to see the film finally out on DVD?
Swayze: It's exciting, because it is sort of a calling card for the dance world. Every dancer who sees it feels for the first time in their life that they have been defined in some way. Lisa did an amazing job; it's not an easy thing to do to communicate that passion and belief.
TVGuide.com: Patrick, I hear you popped up on Dancing with the Stars....
Niemi: He helped out John O'Hurley, a good friend of ours, with some lifts.
Swayze: John called and said, "Help! I don't know how to do lifts!"
TVGuide.com: Did you take him out into the middle of a lake?
Swayze: [Laughs] No, no. He lost 20 lbs., but he's not that light.
TVGuide.com: You must be proud that Dirty Dancing's "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" made the AFI's list of Top 100 movie quotes.
Swayze: That was cool. You know, it seems like history is jumping on my head right now. North and South is on DVD, The Outsiders' director's cut is being released on DVD, Road House had its [15th] anniversary.... It's like there's this resurgence of movies from my past. The ones that created my career are the ones that have gotten cult followings, from Road House to Point Break to Next of Kin.
TVGuide.com: The Outsiders had quite a prolific cast.
Swayze: Aside from it being just a phenomenal moment in time that launched incredible careers, we busted our asses on that. Me and [C. Thomas] Howell and Rob Lowe lived in that house. I taught the guys how to hop freight trains, and gymnastics. [Tom] Cruise was an animal, I got him to do anything. If you notice in the movie I'm there to spot him as he throws backflips off a car or whatever, but he was rock-solid.
TVGuide.com: What is the key to hopping a freight train?
Swayze: You have to know where and when they have to slow down going through town. When I was a teen I'd hop a freight with a surfboard under the other arm and ride from Houston down to Galveston, surf, and come back the same day. I've never told anybody that.
TVGuide.com: One of your earliest performing gigs was as Prince Charming in "Disney on Parade"?
Swayze: The horror story there was doing the Russian tarantella number from Fantasia. All that squatting and turning, eight shows a week, periodically hospitalizes you. The dancers would drop like flies on that show.
TVGuide.com: Lisa, is he still Prince Charming?
Niemi: He does his best. I tell you what, give him a cape and sword and he's a happy man!
Swayze: A cape, sword and some cleavage. I think we're getting into unspoken "bedroom stuff" now. [Aside to his wife] That's a good idea, Lisa, we've got to try that sometime.