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.