Travolta's taking over the role made famous by Divine. Ruth Brown played Motormouth Maybelle in the '88 movie. The search is still on for a newcomer to play the key role of Tracie Turnblad (Ricki Lake did it in the first film).
Adam Shankman ("The Pacifier") is onboard to direct the film based on the hit Broadway musical, which was based on John Waters' 1988 "Hairspray" film. The original movie is considered a cult classic and the Broadway adaptation earned eight Tony Awards.
Leslie Dixon ("Freaky Friday") wrote the screenplay and Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will produce the film. New Line's hoping to begin filming "Hairspray" this fall with an eye on releasing the movie in the summer of 2007.
In a statement issued by New Line Cinema, New Line Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs Bob Shaye an Michael Lynne stated, "From cult classic film to hit Broadway musical to major motion picture, 'Hairspray' is a true New Line franchise. 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 added, "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."
SOURCE: New Line Cinema