Havana Nights: Dirty Dancing 2

Circa 1958, Katey Vendetto is an inexperienced American girl. An outsider who loves dance, she undergoes a metamorphosis when her father is transferred to Havana, Cuba, a city which hovers on the brink of violent revolution. With violence simmering just under the city’s surface, handsome Xavier, a talented dancer in his own right, helps Katey come of age and become a woman…

There is only one reason this movie is being made: Artisan needs money. Badly. Their success with The Blair Witch Project underscored everything they weren’t prepared for as a start-up brought forth from the ashes of several other dying or dead companies. Their extensive video library isn’t bringing in as much cash as expected, the Blair Witch property didn’t become the cash cow they expected and their recent distribution slate has been… well, non-existent.

Artisan came to own the rights to Dirty Dancing because they bought what was left of some company that bought what was left of some company that bought some company that bought what was left of Vestron Pictures, the Artisan Entertainment of the 1980s. And now, aiming for one last grasp for glory before its inevitable death throes, Artisan has worked out a deal with Miramax to make Havana Nights: Dirty Dancing 2.

Now, some of you may know that, at various times, Britney and Justin were mentioned to be interested in making a DD sequel. Ricky Martin and Natalie Portman have also been mentioned in the past as potential stars. But according to the casting notices we received this morning, the lead roles of Katey and Xavier are not cast.

Your Havana Nights characters are (and see how many movie character cliches you recognize)…

SPOILER WARNING!
These descriptions mayl include major plot points to the story. Read at your own risk.
Katey Vendetto: A distinctive 17 year old girl, she’s bright, graceful and intelligent, although according to the conventions of the time – 1958 – she is a bit reserved. But Katey is in actuality a promising dancer who practices her craft on the sly. The daughter of Bert and Jeannie, two former dancers who stopped dancing after starting a family, Katey has been moved from pillar to post by her dad, a middle management employee with the Chrysler Corporation. A fish out of water wherever she goes, Katey hopes that their latest transfer, this time to Havana, will bring color and excitement to her drab life. Katey arrives in Havana when it is hovering on the brink of a revolution, and soon penetrates to the city’s vibrant, turbulent heart. Her guide to this exotic new world is Xavier, a young Cuban who becomes her dance partner, her love interest, her passport to an unaccustomed culture, and her bridge to maturity. (Must have strong dance ability.)

Xavier: A handsome and charismatic young Cuban man, Xavier is a pool boy at the elite hotel where Katey and her family are staying. Treated like dirt by the privileged Americans at the hotel, Xavier is initially cold to Katey, a “gringa” new to Havana. Soon, however, they become friends, but their innocent fraternization results in Xavier getting fired from his job – a real blow to him and his family, considering his country’s grinding poverty. A talented dancer, expert at salsa and the mambo, Xavier agrees to become Katey’s partner in an upcoming dance competition. While rehearsing, Xavier and Katey are deeply drawn to one another, even though their friendship is frowned on from both sides of the cultural divide that separates them. Buffeted by the insurgent forces that are sweeping his country, Xavier is pressured by his brother Carlos to join the revolution. Put off by the violence of the uprising, Xavier resists. However, when revolution breaks out, Xavier must make some drastic and life-altering decisions, and soon.

Bert Vendetto Early 40s, Bert is a big softie who speaks with a NY accent. Years ago, Bert and his wife, Jeannie, were star ballroom dancers. Now, Bert works as a middle-management drone at the Chrysler Corporation, which transfers him every few months to a new posting. His latest transfer is to Havana, a turbulent city on the cusp of revolutionary change. In Havana, Bert and Jeannie are forced to drastically reevaluate their priorities – to the greater good of their family and their own relationship.

Jeannie Vendetto: Bert’s wife, an attractive woman in her late 30s, Jeannie was once a star ballroom dancer bound for greatness. A tense individual, Jeannie sees the family’s transfer to Havana as an opportunity to climb the social ladder and provide security for her family. More concerned with appearances than with substance, Jeannie is appalled when Katey dances at a competition with a Cuban youth – a violation of current social mores. At Katey’s instigation, Jeannie is forced to confront her shallow lifestyle and reconnect with her family – particularly her husband – in a more intimate way than she ever has before.

James Phelps: A very handsome youth of 17, the son of a top-ranking Chrysler executive who has been living in Havana. Rich, privileged and charismatic, James is accustomed to being treated like a prince. A leader in the young and wealthy American set in Havana, James is powerfully attracted to Katey, the new girl in town. When Katey proves resistant to his advances, however, James becomes increasingly miffed, and resorts to a variety of increasingly dirty tricks to make her more malleable.

Sophia “Susie” Vendetto: Katey’s perky and adorable 16 year old sister, “younger, hipper and in every way more socially adaptable” than her sibling. At first, Susie has a nasty streak, and never loses an opportunity to belittle Katey in public. Once in Havana, Susie joins the snootiest clique in town, making it clear to her new friends that she considers her sister a disgrace. But when Susie sees Katey’s stunning dance performance with Xavier, she realizes that her sister an artist whose work should be respected.

Carlos: A Cuban college student, Carlos is Xavier’s brother, a fiery-eyed revolutionary who hates all things American. Disgusted with Xavier for taking up with a “gringa,” Carlos is preparing for the great revolution that will soon sweep his country. He gives Xavier an ultimatum – join the revolution, or die. When Xavier resists, Carlos prepares to carry out his threat in the most literal terms.

Willard Phelps: A dashing corporate executive for the Chrysler Corporation, he’s a glad-handing wheeler dealer who is stationed in Havana. James’s father, Willard is a rapacious manipulator who has been bilking the company of a fortune. When the revolution breaks out, Bert uses Willard’s own greed against him to ensure a safe passage out of Cuba for himself and his family.

Inigo Ferrer The owner of an elegant hotel that caters to an American clientele, a suave Cuban and a very calculating and hardheaded businessman. When he learns Xavier has been fraternizing with an American guest, Inigo fires him with no further ado.

Eve Age 17, she’s a wealthy, attractive but terribly snooty young woman, the head of the young American set in Havana. Elitist, racist and grossly overbearing, Eve takes an immediate dislike to Katey, and publicly disparages her at every opportunity.

Cesar: This hotel clerk welcomes the Vendetto family to their new digs.

Yolanda: A warm and attractive Cuban hotel maid in her 30s, she takes an interest in Katey, the dowdy American girl who has come to live at the hotel. Yolanda gives Katey some fashion tips, and even lends her some of her own clothes – sexy attire that gives Katey a whole new look.

Steph: A 17 year old boy, he’s another rich and privileged American kid who is living in Havana. James’s sidekick, Steph also pokes fun at Katey, the odd new girl in town.

The most recent screenplay was turned in November 27, 2001, to Quentin Tarantino’s longtime producing partner Lawrence Bender. Shooting is scheduled to begin in yet-to-be-decided locations, under the direction of Guy Ferland (who previously directed Alicia Silverstone in The Babysitter), later this fall

If you feel you are rightly suitable for one of these roles, please feel free to have your agent contact either the production company or the casting directors.

The Scorecard
Director: Guy Ferland
Producers: Lawrence Bender
Writers: Not disclosed
Casting Directors: Minda Marin

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