'Compelling' Patrick Swayze Is Why Original “Road House” Endured Despite 'Bad' Reviews, Says Director (Exclusive)

Director Rowdy Herrington tells PEOPLE that Jake Gyllenhaal “has some big shoes to fill" in the remake

<p>Peter Sorel</p> On the set of

Peter Sorel

On the set of 'Road House'

When Road House first hit theaters 35 years ago, no one could have predicted the fan favorite it has become today. Director Rowdy Herrington attributes the film's lasting success to its star Patrick Swayze.

“He’s very compelling. He's handsome and had so many talents,” Herrington says of the actor who died in 2009 at the age of 57 of pancreatic cancer.

Jake Gyllenhaal stars in the new remake of the film directed by Doug Liman. The new Road House is now available to stream on Prime Video.

"I'm thrilled to put my own spin on the beloved Road House legacy,” Liman said in a previous statement. “And I can't wait to show audiences what Jake and I are going to do with this iconic role."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Swayze had just finished Dirty Dancing when he signed on to play James Dalton, a tough bouncer tasked with cleaning up a rowdy Missouri bar.

Herrington says at the time, Swayze wanted to play an action figure. “He was a martial artist and dancer, so choreography was something he picked up quickly,” says Herrington. “He is fun to watch, he could be emotional and funny and strong. He was a terrific person. It was great loss.”

<p>Peter Sorel</p> On the set of 'Road House'

Peter Sorel

On the set of 'Road House'

Related: Conor McGregor Says Fight Scenes with Jake Gyllenhaal in Road House Were 'Very Much Real' (Exclusive)

Herrington admits when the movie first came out the “reviews were pretty bad.” But over the years, the modern Western, which also stars Kelly Lynch and Sam Elliott, has built a cult following.

“A few years back they had a 30th anniversary screening at the Egyptian theater. We watched the film and the audience knew every line,” says Herrington. “It was incredible.”

On the first day of filming, Herrington recalls walking on the set in Simi Valley, Calif. “It was very beat up. The set was going to transform along with Patrick’s influence on the bar,” he says. “It was great fun because of the action and the huge fights.”

As for the new film, Herrington says Gyllenhaal, who plays Dalton, “has some big shoes to fill,” but adds that, “Jake is a terrific actor just like Patrick.”

Road House is now streaming on Prime Video.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.