Two very popular young actors, Brittany Snow (American Dreams) and Zac Efron (High School Musical), play a couple on the screen and were paired up at the press junket for New Line Cinema’s high-spirited musical romp, Hairspray. Both Snow and Efron have a large following of teen fans and both are hopeful those same fans will get into the ‘groove’ of their latest project, which brings the songs and the styles of the 1960s to life on the big screen once again.
Digging Into the 1960s: Snow’s a veteran of playing characters from that time period so it was relatively easy for her to get into character. “I feel like I’m never leaving the 60s because I did a show called American Dreams that took place from 63-66,” joked Snow. “And so I spent a long time when I did that TV show researching, going back and looking up things down to what people’s favorite ice cream flavor was, you know? Kind of researching the music which had such a huge part in the change of the 60s and society. And the same thing with this. I feel like I’ve lived in the 60s so much it was definitely part of me. I think we’re just honored to be a part of a movie that kind of handles the society and the civil rights movement, and things like that, all the things that were going on in the 60s in such a light-hearted, fun way and still having it be a film about the 60s and what that was all about. We did a little preparation but it was mostly about dancing and singing and to move like the characters and make that very genuine.”
“For me it wasn’t so much… A lot of it I couldn’t control because my mom was raised in the 60s and she was a teenager at exactly the time we’re portraying in the film,” said Efron. “As I was raised and as I got closer to my teenage years, she would just teach me small things that she was raised doing – being very kind to girls. She would tell me small [anecdotes] like whenever she got a ring from a guy it was always too big for her finger, so she would wrap tape on the inside and wear it. That meant they were going steady. It was a big deal. It had a different value. It was very important back then. I love that about the 60s. That’s what we got to play with a little bit in the film is being a teenage couple in the 60s. So yeah, it was very fun to explore that.”
It’s Okay to Like Musicals: Asked if he believes High School Musical has made it cool for younger people to appreciate musicals again, Efron answered, “Yeah. It’s great to think so I would like to think so. From what I hear, kids are loving it. It’s the best compliment when a parent can come up to you and say, ‘My son saw High School Musical and he’s starring in his school play.’ That happens. That really does happen and it’s so heartwarming to hear. I’ve also been excited because we’re educating a young audience in how great musicals are. It’s so easy to blow something up and it looks great and it looks so cool, but singing and dancing takes a little bit of thinking to wrap your mind around.”
That Fabulous Hair and Makeup: Brittany Snow had a lot of fun getting made up to play Amber Von Tussle but most of the styles aren’t exactly what she wears when she goes out with friends. Snow said, “It’s definitely different from today and especially doing Hairspray it’s different because Hairspray had to be in the 60s but also the hair and makeup was a character in itself. You know, it had to be larger than life because it’s a musical and it’s also the John Waters film which was kind of a fake reality, you know? So the hair wasn’t exactly very realistic. It was kind of to the max. You know, the person in the 60s who everyone’s like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe they did their hair like that!’
We spent a lot of time kind of working with my hair and makeup to be a less version of what Michelle [Pfeiffer] was doing. I kind of always wanted to match what she was doing because I felt like my character needed to be the daughter who wanted to be like her mom so much but didn’t quite pull it off. So her hair and her makeup and her clothes we tried to make always match and tried to be, you know, just like mother but not as over the top. So it was definitely really fun. And of course, it’s fun to play around with now because I’ve been doing so many things in the 60s lately that it’s definitely come across in what I do. Like the side bang and my clothes, I definitely am influenced by the 60s and I’m glad it’s coming back. There’s a little bit of the 60s in me still.”
The Original Hairspray Movie and the Broadway Play: Snow knew all about Hairspray even before being cast in the film. “Yeah, it’s funny because the first time I went to go see the original musical was with one of my best friends at the time, Laura Bell Bundy, she was the original Amber on Broadway,” said Snow. “She originated the musical role. She was kind of my big sister growing up. She took me to see the Broadway show a couple of times. And then when I got the call for this audition, I called her and I was like, ‘How weird is that?’ And then when I got the part she was so excited. It was kind of like passing the torch to her little sister to play basically her. So I had seen it a bunch of times and went backstage and met Marissa [Jaret Winokur] and everybody. I was so excited to even meet anybody, let alone I didn’t know I was going to be a part of it five years later.
And then, yeah, we both saw the original John Waters film. We had like a Hairspray party up in Toronto where we watched the film again, just to get refreshed on it. I think it was important to us to kind of take a little bit from the original, take a little bit from what we saw in the musical, and then add what we needed to add to the part as well.”