Essentials are essentials.
Debra Messingis a very busy woman, and she’ll tell you herself through the text of her Instagram bio. She’s a self-proclaimed “actress, mama, advocate, photography lovin’, trying to slow down, woman”, who is now signed on to the growing cast of the Dirty Dancing revival. Plus, she’s joined Snapchat (@therealdebram), which is a commitment all on its own.
The story of the sheltered Frances “Baby” Houseman finding love in the Catskills is certainly not the first film classic to get a facelift from contemporary filmmakers. Audiences can’t get enough of nostalgia. In television, the casts of Full House and Gilmore Girls return for roll call to produce binge-worthy reprisals, teasing their fans with cheeky, yet exclusive behind-the-scenes photos that go viral within seconds.
Messing can barely contain her social media excitement either as she prepares to play Baby’s mother, Marjorie Houseman, but hypothesizes to Celebuzz that the resurgence of blasts from the past goes deeper than the irony factor.
“I think there’s something romantic about looking back in time at eras that, at least from our vantage point, were easier than current situations in our lives, like with the [Brussels] terrorist attacks,” said Messing. “We’re living in a scary time and I think, for me, looking at Dirty Dancing and hearing the music from the ’60s and seeing the wardrobe and how family life was portrayed, at least on television and film in that era, there’s a sweetness to it.”
“Perhaps, that’s what people are feeling a need for right now given what’s going on in the world.”
Messing tells us that the story will stay true to the original. It will still be set in the ’60s and will not be modernized to narrate the meet-cute of two disconnected youths who find each other by swiping right until they find their soulmate in the next cabin. “I think that it is very hard now to find love with all of the apps and dating sites and that story is just a very organic story with meeting and finding love,” she says of the original Dirty Dancing. “I think that’s the reason why people love it so much.”
The remake will not be sugar-coated either. Actress Abigail Breslin, portraying the film’s protagonist, will still navigate the controversial subplot where Baby assists her dance teacher-cum-love interest’s dance partner in getting an illegal abortion after she finds out that she is pregnant.
“The opinions and the danger with abortion back in the ’60s is similarly highlighted in our version,” Messing explains. “It’s a very polarizing subject and people have very passionate feelings about it. I do think that it will be very interesting for young girls who maybe were not alive when the first one was around, or maybe were too young to understand it, to now see the movie and to understand how dangerous and scary it was for girls back then.”
“There is a new strain of feminism throughout that I think certainly makes it feel more modern because it’s more relatable.”
But have no fear, film purists. Messing confirms with a laugh that the iconic lift will still have its rightful place in the forthcoming reboot.
So how does this transient power woman keep herself healthy amid attending Dirty Dancing rehearsals, her son’s science fair and online singing lessons all in one day?
“Zyrtec,” she preaches of her seasonal allergy cure-all. “I really was a mess. [My allergies] really interrupted my ability to work and to be the kind of mom I wanted to be. I could only go out to the park for like, an hour before I started having an allergy attack so I tried everything that was available and nothing was the right product for me. It was a complete game changer for me, know that I’m set for 24 hours.”
She also credits saline eyedrops, drinking lots of water and a healthy obsession with pepperoni pizza to her wellbeing, which comes as no surprise to devout fans of hers from the beginning.