Some viewers said the film was sexist and lacked diversity, podcast host Sarah Grynberg told the actress

By Nicholas Rice
February 04, 2021 02:04 PM
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grease
Credit: Everette

Olivia Newton-John has a message for critics of Grease.

While appearing as a guest on the podcast A Life of Greatness earlier this week, the 72-year-old actress responded to people who have criticized her popular film, calling the comments "kind of silly."

Host Sarah Grynberg told Newton-John the movie came under recent scrutiny by some individuals who labeled it "sexist" and said it lacked diversity. Metro reports that the backlash appeared on Twitter after Grease was shown on Boxing Day on BBC One in Australia.

Responding to critics of the 1978 film, Netwon-John said, "I think in this particular instance, it's kind of silly because the movie was made in the '70s about the '50s. It was a stage play, it's a musical, it's fun. It's a fun movie musical and not [meant] to be taken so seriously."

"I think everyone's taking everything so seriously," the actress added. "I think we need to relax a little bit and just enjoy things for what they are and I didn't see it like that at all, I think it's just a fun movie that entertains people. That's all."

Grease
Credit: Paramount Pictures; Everett

Grease follows the story of two teens in love in the 1950s — Sandy Olsson (Newton-John) and Danny Zuko (John Travolta) — who meet while on summer vacation and reconnect at the start of the school year when Sandy attends Rydell High as a transfer student.

Alongside Newton-John and Travolta, 66, the movie musical also stars Jeff Conaway, Stockard Channing, Barry Pearl and Didi Conn.

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While speaking with Grynberg, Newton-John opened up about her relationship with her on-screen love interest in Grease, telling Grynberg that Travolta and her are still "really great friends."

"We always will be," she continued. "I think we shared something incredibly unique, making that film that is still so loved. It keeps our friendship together."

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As Newton-John pointed out, she almost didn't take on the role of Sandy in Grease due to various fears.

After Grynberg noted that Newtown-John came under consideration for the role while at a friend's house, the "Physical" singer said that Grease producer Allan Carr was also there, ready to cast her in the musical. "Allan Carr was there and I didn't know it, but they had this plan because he was looking for his Sandy for the movie that he was producing — Grease — and he already had chosen John Travolta," she said. "John apparently had seen me and thought I was right for the role."

"I was afraid of it, actually, cause I had made a movie a few years before, called Toomorrow, that was a musical as well ... and it totally bombed," she continued. "So I was very nervous of doing another musical."

"And especially as I had to play a 15-year-old and I was 28 or something at the time when I met him," she added. "So I was like, 'Oh, I'm not sure I want to do this.'"

After she was told the see the stage version of Grease, which the movie is based upon, Newton-John's outlook changed and she said that Travolta was sent to talk her into staring in the movie. "How can you resist that, right?" she said.