Queen Latifah joins John Travolta in film musical
March 3, 2006
John Travolta and Queen Latifah have signed on to star in New Line Cinema’s
upcoming feature film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical Hairspray,
it was announced by Toby Emmerich, New Line’s President of Production.
Travolta will play Edna Turnblad and Queen Latifah will play Motormouth
Maybelle in the film, which is being directed by Adam Shankman (The Pacifier,
Bringing Down the House) and produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, for
their Zadan/Meron Productions, who previously executive produced the Golden
Globe and Academy Award-winning Best Picture Chicago. A nationwide casting
search is currently under way to find a newcomer to play the lead role
of Tracy Turnblad in the film, with production on Hairspray scheduled
to begin this Fall for a potential Summer 2007 release.
“From cult classic film to hit Broadway
musical to major motion picture, Hairspray is a true New Line franchise,”
commented Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, New Line Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs.
“John and Queen Latifah will bring new sensibilities to the characters
of Edna Turnblad and Motormouth Maybelle, and introduce this innovative
musical comedy to new audiences.”
Zadan and Meron said: "It's long been a desire of ours to work with
John Travolta and to have the opportunity to produce his return to movie
musicals after three decades...it's a dream come true. And having worked
so successfully with Queen Latifah on Chicago, we were looking for the
perfect vehicle to re-team...Hairspray presented us with a wonderful opportunity
to collaborate once again with our multi-talented friend."
Hairspray is originally based on the 1988 John Waters comedy about star-struck
teenagers on a local Baltimore dance show. The new version of the film
will be based on New Line’s hit Broadway adaptation of the film
which debuted in 2002, and went on to win eight Tony Awards including
Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book and Best Director.
Marc Shaiman (Sleepless in Seattle) and Scott Wittman will contribute
new songs to their existing Tony Award winning score. Shaiman will also
serve as the film’s music supervisor and will compose the music
score for the film as well as produce its songs. Wittman and Shaiman will
also serve as executive producers on the film. The new screenplay for
Hairspray is written by Leslie Dixon (Freaky Friday, Outrageous Fortune).
Emmerich is overseeing the project along with New Line’s Executive
VP of Production Mark Kaufman, and Creative Executives Michael Disco and
Travolta burst into the dance musical world thirty years ago with Saturday
Night Fever and packed a one-two punch the following year with the release
of Grease, the most successful movie musical of all time. Travolta was
nominated for Oscars for Fever and Pulp Fiction. He is represented by
the William Morris Agency and attorneys Mike Ossi and Howard Butler.
Hairspray reunites Latifah with producers Zadan and Meron (she earned
an Oscar and Golden Globe nomination for her work in Chicago) and director
Shankman (she starred in his blockbuster Bringing Down The House).