LOS ANGELES, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Olivia Newton-John, currently promoting her new greatest hits CD, says she would take part in a proposed sequel to "Grease," but only if everyone from the original cast -- including John Travolta -- comes along for the ride.
The subject came up last month when ABC-TV announced a deal with Paramount Network Television to produce a musical update of the 1978 feature in which Newton-John starred with Travolta, Stockard Channing, Jeff Conaway and Didi Conn.
Of course, there was already a sequel, "Grease 2" in 1982, but it didn't amount to much -- even though it starred a very young Michelle Pfeiffer and featured several players from the original, including Conn, Sid Caesar, Eve Arden and Dody Goodman.
The new project, which is expected to air sometime in 2002, will be set in 1979 -- 20 years after cool guy Danny Zuko (Travolta) and foreign exchange student Sandy Olsen (Newton-John) found love at Rydell High.
Conn, who played Frenchy in both previous features, is an executive producer on the new project. She said the fictional children of the original Rydell High kids will be prominently featured, and her producing partners plan to offer starring roles to all original cast members.
Conn also said she hopes to cast only actors who have appeared in some version of "Grease" on stage or screen, which provides a lot of latitude. All kinds of performers -- including Rosie O'Donnell -- have performed in some incarnation of the show.
In an interview with United Press International, Newton-John said she would only participate on one condition.
"I would be interested if John (Travolta) does it," she said. "It would have to be everyone or it wouldn't be worthwhile."
Newton-John said talk of a sequel actually began while the original movie was still fresh in the can.
"We talked about doing a sequel 20 years ago," she said. "Looks like now maybe is the time."
No one involved with the project at the time knew that "Grease" would become a classic, but Newton-John said the cast and crew had a good feeling about it.
"We just did it," she said. "We had no comprehension. But it had amazing energy and a great feel to it, so there was no reason why it wouldn't do well."
It did well enough to stand at No. 46 on the all-time list of U.S. blockbusters with a total gross of $181.5 million, $28.4 million of which it collected during a 1998 20th anniversary re-release -- which in turn has provided the movie, and Newton-John, with a new generation of younger fans.
The new CD -- "Magic: The Very Best Of Olivia Newton-John" -- contains 21 digitally remastered selections, 20 of which hit the Top 40. It also contains the 1990's dance club hit, "The Grease Megamix."
It does not contain Newton-John's first hit, a cover of Bob Dylan's "If Not For You." Newton-John is mystified as to why that record did not make the cut, but she said it might have had something to do with research that the record company conducted to find out which songs fans wanted included in the set.
Although it's been a long time between hit records for the British-born singer who was raised in Australia, there is still a strong market for live concerts of her greatest hits and she stays busy with occasional film projects and philanthropic activities.
Most fans of the 53-year-old singer are most curious about her health. A cancer survivor, Newton-John says she is in "great" health these days.
"I eat well and I exercise regularly and I don't drink," she said. "I don't smoke and I think positive thoughts."
Does she get enough rest?
"That's the one you work on the most," said Newton-John.
But she said the past year has been very busy for her. Among her projects, a movie in the Galapagos Islands that she said gave her a new awareness about environmental issues.
"I learned how fragile our planet is," she said, "and how wonderful it is that there are pockets that are untouched where animals live in peace and are not bludgeoned to death."
Newton-John also said she sees a connection between personal health and environmental health.
"I definitely think that human illness is directly linked to what are doing to the planet," she said. "I think people are beginning to see it."
Like everyone else inside and out of the entertainment industry, Newton-John has been taking stock of a lot of things, including her work, since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
"I think it makes you reevaluate your whole life," she said. "We've taken our freedom for granted. This is an incredible shock to the system that's too hard to bear. We have to look inside to find our spiritual strength. That's not an easy thing."
Newton-John was scheduled to perform in concert two nights after the attacks.
"I was uncomfortable," she said, "but people needed it. Music's a healing thing. Suddenly the lyrics took on a deeper meaning.
"Fans had been writing and telling me that over the years, but I hadn't been taking it in," she said. "Now I was getting it myself. For two weeks it was like incredible catharsis every night. Me and the band would go through an emotional trip."
Newton-John said she went to Ground Zero in New York where she met some of the people involved in the rescue and recovery effort.
"The human spirit is an amazing thing," she said, "how we can keep going through all kinds of adversity. Other countries where they've had wars, they live in fear of war, but they've learned to pull together. We've never had to do it. Now everyone's anxious over what's next. We have to be kind to each other."