The Extraterrestrial

If you happen to have $20 million to burn and like the idea of Patrick Swayze drifting meaningfully across the night sky in the International Space Station, this may be your lucky day: Steven Barber wants to make it happen.

Barber says he’s gotten the 51-year-old Dirty Dancer (and onetime No. 1 box-office draw) to agree in principle to be the first celebrity in space. What he needs now is a corporate sponsor to pay the tab. Barber’s plan is many-pronged, and to hear him tell it, it’s a win-win-win-win situation: space-tourism company SpaceAdventures (for which Barber does some work) would get its highest-profile customer yet; an adventurous movie studio could film a documentary of Swayze’s training and expedition; the sponsor would get to film its very own Patrick Swayze ad in space (to go with “tens of millions of dollars of free advertising”); and Swayze would rise from “an A- celebrity” back to an A.

Barber admits he went after guys like Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks first. But then he saw Swayze at InStyle’s Oscars party, and something clicked. “I went right for the jugular,” he says. “I told him, ‘Listen, Patrick, you’re doing frickin’ dinner theater on Wilshire. You’re doing a play, Annie Get Your Guns [sic] or something. You haven’t done anything since Ghost. I’m going to revive your career. I’m your Quentin Tarantino, and you’re my John Travolta.”

It’s hard to imagine a company paying for this instead of, say, nine Super Bowl spots, but you never know. “I’ve gone after Howard Schultz at Starbucks and said, ‘Let’s get frickin’ Patrick to drink the first latte in space,’ ” Barber says. “What commercial could top it? Bill Medley in the background singing ‘I Had the Time of My Life,’ and Patrick saying, ‘I gotta get back to Earth. I’m going to Disney World!’? Don’t tell me this isn’t good. This is good!”