As kids head back to school, it seems fitting that the class of Rydell High returns with a newly remastered, extras-packed and "leather"-clad DVD release of Grease, out this week. The over-the-top 70s musical that waxed nostalgic for the cool 50s only grows in popularity, especially with younger viewers who go giddy for the catchy tunes and colorful costumes but who take little note of the hormone-fueled humor. TVGuide.com got a chance to chat with Didi Conn, who plays the pinkest Pink Lady and "Beauty School Dropout," Frenchy, about summer lovin' on the set, why she's hopelessly devoted to John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, and how come Grease remains the one that we want.
TVGuide.com: How did you get cast in Grease?
Didi Conn: I had just done a film called You Light Up My Life and a series with Danny Thomas called The Practice, so I was getting a little name for myself. I had been told to come in and look at the part, but I had only read one scene from the movie and I didn't really know who the character was. A security guard at Paramount was nice enough to let me hide under a desk and read the entire script. I could really relate to Frenchy, her champing at the bit to get out of high school and start a career. I did some research on beauty schools in Hollywood and found one called Frenchy's that did my hair for the audition. I think they used a whole can of Aqua Net on me.
TVGuide.com: What was it like doing the "Beauty School Dropout" musical number?
Conn: Frankie Avalon has such an aura about him.... He was just so sexy that I didn't really have to do anything. But I felt bad for the T-Birds who had to hang above me from the harnesses; they kept moaning about how it was hurting their [lower regions], the poor guys. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: What were John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John like back then?
Conn: Well, Olivia was already a big pop star at that time, and I don't remember her being on the set that much. She might have been out touring or recording. I remember she was a little nervous about doing the film, so I did some improv with her and it relaxed her. With John, I had past history I first met him at an unemployment office in Los Angeles. What a great connection.
TVGuide.com: Speaking of connections, were there any real hookups on the set?
Conn: I was married at the time, but I will say there was a lot of flirting by everybody. During that time Jeff Conaway (Kenickie) was a pretty wild guy.... His trailer was rocking and rolling all day.
TVGuide.com: What's something fans might not know about the film?
Conn: Originally Lucie Arnaz was going to play Rizzo, but when the producers asked her to come in and do a screen test with John, just to see how they looked together, her mother, Lucille Ball, said, "No, she doesn't test." So, they decided to go with Stockard Channing.
TVGuide.com: You are one of the few original cast members to do Grease 2. What was that like?
Conn: There was a setup in the first film for a sequel about summer school, but Paramount didn't know Grease was going to be such a success, so they passed on [doing] a sequel. By the time they got around to it, they couldn't get John anymore. So they came up with a new concept. I thought Michelle Pfeiffer was great in it. There are die-hard Grease 2 fans.
TVGuide.com: Will there ever be a Grease 3?
Conn: We've been planning one for years, and I've had meetings with writers, but they just don't get the innocence of Grease. The scripts are not right they're sad, and everybody's a loser. I don't think John is interested anymore, and he's convinced Olivia not to do it. The feelings of John, Olivia and Stockard are to let those characters be. I even read one script that had John's character dead. It was such a downer. That's not Grease Grease is always an upper!
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