Olivia Newton-John defends 'Grease' against claims it's sexist: 'There’s nothing deep in there about the #MeToo movement'

Ben Arnold
·Contributor
·2 min read

Though there are plenty of moments that haven't aged at all well in the classic movie musical Grease, its star Olivia Newton-John does not think it's sexist.

Newton-John was 29 when she played clean-cut high school student Sandy Olsson, who turned up at Rydell High after a whirlwind summer romance with fellow student Danny Zuko (John Travolta).

Jeff Conaway, Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta and Stockard Channing in a still from the film Grease, which the Australian actress says is not sexist. (Photo: Paramount Pictures/Fotos International/Getty Images)
Jeff Conaway, Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta and Stockard Channing in a still from the film Grease, which the Australian actress says is not sexist. (Photo: Paramount Pictures/Fotos International/Getty Images)

However, Danny's lurid, exaggerated recollections of their relationship clash with Sandy's more innocent take, while the movie has long been criticized for Sandy's final transformation.

After being mocked for her goody-goody image, she turns up for the movie's denouement dressed in skin-tight leather in order to snare her man.

But asked whether the film stands up to scrutiny in the modern era, Newton-John told the Guardian: “It’s a movie.

“It’s a story from the ‘50s where things were different. Everyone forgets that, at the end, he changes for her, too.

Newton-John's character Sandy gets a sexy makeover for the 1978 film's final scene. (Photo: Paramount Pictures/Fotos International/Getty Images)
Newton-John's character Sandy gets a sexy makeover for the 1978 film's final scene. (Photo: Paramount Pictures/Fotos International/Getty Images)

“There’s nothing deep in there about the #MeToo movement,” the Australian actress insisted. “It’s just a girl who loves a guy, and she thinks if she does that, he’ll like her. And he thinks if he does that, she’ll like him. I think that’s pretty real. People do that for each other. It was a fun love story.”

A prequel series of the 1978 movie, called The Rise of the Pink Ladies, is currently in production for HBO Max, and will explore how Rizzo and Frenchy ruffled feathers with their arrival at Rydell.

It's not the only Grease project in the pipeline, either.

Newton-John insists that the film is a "fun love story." (Photo: CBS via Getty Images)
Newton-John insists that the film is a "fun love story." (Photo: CBS via Getty Images)

Prequel movie Summer Lovin’ is also being developed by Paramount, with director Brett Haley being confirmed to lead the project.

The movie will sit on the premise of the song “Summer Nights,” in which Danny and Sandy regale their friends with details of what happened the previous summer.

It's been penned by Leah McKendrick and John August, who wrote the screenplay for Disney's Aladdin remake and has worked often with Tim Burton on movies like Dark Shadows and Big Fish.

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