Is this 2023's weirdest scene? Grease prequel tries to ignore actor departure – with hilariously bad results

Grease Rise of the Pink Ladies
(Image credit: Paramount)

Not everything can be fixed in post, but it doesn't hurt to try. Grease prequel Rise of the Pink Ladies recently had to attempt its own CGI DIY to work around a lead actor departing the series – to hilarious results.

As first spotted by LittleKuriboh (of Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged fame) on Twitter, it appears that Richie actor Johnathan Nieves left partway through production and was replaced by a body double and what looks like a Photoshopped image of the actor's face.

The end of the eighth episode sees the leader of the T-Birds get into a physical confrontation with Buddy, with Richie looking decidedly static during the showdown.

Look a little closer and it's clear that body doubles and some slapdash CGI are used to avoid drawing attention to the fact that Nieves wasn't physically present in the scene. Unfortunately, as you can see below, it didn't quite go as planned.

"It looks like they printed out a photo of his face and glued it to the tip of some guy's nose," one wrote on Twitter.

In the show's defence, another added: "Oh man, I hate that this is gonna be the reason people hear about the show and not because of how charming it is."

It's not clear why Nieves left the show, but he's only fully absent in episodes 9 and 10. With Richie having left Rydell for a stint in military school, there's every reason he could return if Rise of the Pink Ladies gets a second season on Paramount Plus.

For more on what’s coming your way on streaming, check out our guide to new TV shows.


Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.