Harvey Fierstein, who plays Edna (while wearing a fat suit) in the about-to-close Broadway production of Hairspray, is also known for holding weekly poker games in the theater's basement. The Observer's Spencer Morgan attended recently. Aside from being attacked by a barrage of friendly "faggoty-ass faggot" remarks, he managed to glean—when his tape recorder and notebook wasn't being forcibly removed—that someone close to the production is summoning backdoor johnnys for his own entertainment...
As the stock market continues its long, thumping swan dive into the terrible abyss, sometimes we just need lights! and costumes! and songs! and gay people! to cheer us up. Well, you'll be hard pressed to find such spectacle on the old Broadway come January, as three popular musicals will be shuttering in the next few months. Duncan Sheik's sex 'n pop rock ode Spring Awakening just announced their January 19th closing today, coming pretty quickly after bebop drag show Hairspray and Monty Python mug fest Spamalot made similar announcements. It's just sad proof that this looming recession reaches into even the silliest parts of the American experience. I guess you'll just have to watch TV now or something. I know. I know.
Pint size hottie/High School Musical trilogy star Zac Efron learned the right way to tip on the DL while at the airport on Thursday. While Efron was all set to slip a twenty into the pocket of his sky cap (a trick he learned from watching Hollywood A-Listers like Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler), an older gentleman who happened to be nearby instead instructed the Hairspray star about the proper way to tip. The gentleman shook Efron's hand and when Efron pulled it back, he discovered a twenty in his hand. Efron was baffled and amazed by the bill and asked the man where he learned it. The gentleman explained that he caught an episode of Friends in college and the rest has been history.
While the early eyewitness accounts of last week's Blonsky Family Reunion and Airport Rumble yielded enough specifics to suss young star Nikki Blonsky's injuries, it wasn't until today that we've finally seen the video that we knew would surface in the bloody aftermath. And what a scene it is, featuring Blonsky's Long Island nemesis and America's Next Top Model contestant Bianca Golden standing firm as the Hairspray actress is dragged away, yelping for charges to be pressed. But what really makes the sparring special is the camerawoman's inspired commentary: "She done decked the girl out, Tracy Turnblad... She won't be dancing around here today." No kidding: Both Blonsky and Golden were later charged with actual bodily harm (which, according to People Magazine, carries a maximum sentence of two years), while Blonsky's father Carl faces even sterner judgment — a five-year maximum on charges of grievous bodily harm. And at the end of it all stands the steely-eyed Golden, prompting us to wonder exactly how such a lithe beauty could ever outmaneuver the infamous Blonsky Sandwich. So many questions! For now, though, follow the jump and bask in the play-by-play joy, live from Turks and Caicos. [TMZ]
Word just over the Defamer transom reveals that Hairspray star Nikki Blonsky and her father were arrested after an airport brawl that left the Golden Globe-nominated actress in a neck brace. Reportedly, on a stopover in Turks and Caicos during her long flight from Long Island sweets-slinger to pugilist diva, both Nikki and Pa Blonsky went to war rather than move their luggage for an unnamed woman. More details — including a cameo by an America's Next Top Model contestant(!) — after the jump.
In the tradition of classic musical sequels like Goodbye, Dolly and Seven Divorces for Seven Brothers, the creative team behind Hairspray is set to return for a follow-up slated for 2010. New Line has reportedly brought aboard John Waters — whose original 1988 hit was adapted to a Broadway tuner that grossed $200 million when re-adapted for the screen last year — to scribble a new treatment "[picking] up the Baltimore saga of the Turnblad family after the resolution of the first film, which was set in 1962." Director-choreographer Adam Shankman and songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman are slated to return. The original cast is a question mark, however, as Nikki Blonsky, Queen Latifah, Christopher Walken, Michelle Pfeiffer and a frocked, fat-suited John Travolta (among others) didn't have sequel options. But while hardly incidental, such details seem secondary to a far more important question: When has a film musical's sequel ever been a hit?Shankman alludes to as much in an interview today with Variety, citing only the success of High School Musical as a musical franchise that worked. Of course it's a nonsensical analogy; despite the films' common Zac Efron denominator, tweens aren't going to break the sound barrier racing off to Hairspray 2. Pfeiffer has history here, too, as the female lead in another sequel that famously fizzled, Grease 2. Moreover, what would Hairspray 2 even be about? Velma Von Tussle's Aryan revenge? Tracy Turnblad goes off to Johns Hopkins, discovers acid and founds Beehives Against the Vietnam War? Or, better yet, drops out of school and stars in early John Waters films? No, really. We're asking. The possibilities are endless, yet we know there's only one right idea — and with history as our guide, it might be to skip the idea altogether.
Welcome to Hollywood, kid! Hairspray star Nikki Blonsky's meteoric trajectory from no-name Long Islander to Golden Globe-nominated movie star struck its inevitable litigation point Tuesday, when her former managers sued her and her mother for a cut of her earnings from the 2007 hit. Margaret Karaszek and Michael Ostrowski allege they're entitled to a "standard 20 percent cut for helping Blonsky land the role," reports Newsday, which adds that Blonksy nabbed the part of Tracy Turnblad six months after her contract expired with the partners. They say the Blonskys verbally re-upped for two years; a judge, meanwhile declined the Blonsky request to dismiss the case on the grounds that Karaszek and Ostrowski aren't entitled to anything without agent licenses. We give them one week to a settlement, which we predict Blonsky will obligingly pay off by working just one more summer at her old Cold Stone Creamery in Great Neck. [Newsday via People]
We hate to rain on Tom Cruise’s purity parade, but it seems his bundle of Hubbard Formula-chugging joy, Suri Cruise, has gone seriously gaga for two older men. And she’s got the giggles to show it. While babysitting for all three Beckham boys as David bent it like...well, lost to the visiting team, Tom and Katie brought finger-nibbling Suri along to watch. But the blanketed Cruiselette only had eyes for one guy: and he goes by Brooklyn Beckham. Tom did seem more interested in setting up Suri with the littlest Beckham (Cruz Beckham! Just picturing future Scientology couple Suri Cruise and Cruz Beckham likely made Tom's removable head spin with possibilities), Suri couldn’t keep her eyes off 9-year old Brooklyn. But earlier last week while still in NY, TomKat attended Suri’s favorite musical, and we have a feeling fellow Scientologist John Travolta’s role in the movie version had nothing to do with her ear-to-ear grin while leaving: a certain song-and-dancing Efronabbe got her all shook up...
During an evening lacking any sort of true (or even manufactured) sense of excitement, we found ourselves giddily mesmerized by the grainy home video that Nikki Blonsky shot of her family's reaction to the news that she had been nominated for a Globe for her work in Hairspray. After all, it's one thing to trash a hotel room, but it's another thing entirely to trash your parents' living room. In a viral video era where capturing a "real" reaction becomes harder and harder, it's impossible to argue that Nikki's spontaneous flip of the Blonsky family coffee table was anything other than a pure moment born from a rush of adrenaline and emotion. More simply put, we just paid witness to one of the most ecstatic moments of this young woman's life to date. We love everything about it, unironically and unapologetically. Now if only John Travolta were able to show this kind of range...
· Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz are in talks to star in a film version of the musical Nine for the Weinstein Co; when reached for comment on his potential cast, Harvey Weinstein said, "I may be jumping the gun, but if Penelope doesn't get nominated, I'll willingly blind myself with a rusty salad fork." [Variety]
· Noted liberal Janeane Garofalo (she even had an Air America show!) is joining the cast of 24 this season; oh, to be a fly on the wall overhearing the debates she'll be having with self-described "right-wing nutjob" co-creator Joel Surnow at the craft services table! Surnow, of course, can always retaliate for any political acrimony by having Jack Bauer torture her government agent character with a belt sander for suspected collusion with terrorists. [THR]
· Paramount chooses sides in the scintillating hi-def DVD format war, aligning with HD-DVD over Blu-Ray. [Variety]
· Hollywood Out Of Ideas, Your Head Will Explode If You Have An Original Thought After The Age of 30 Edition: Warner Bros. pulls a long-gestating remake of Logan's Run off the shelf, handing the project over to commercial director Joseph Kosinski for his feature debut. [THR]
· Hairspray becomes just the tenth musical to cross the $100 million mark in domestic box office, proving that there was, in fact, a healthy market for John Travolta in terrifying housefrau drag. [Variety]
And with nothing more complicated than a casual choice of wardrobe, John Waters produced a level of outrageousness at his premiere party for Hairspray that Captivity couldn't generate with a club jam-packed with half-naked SuicideGirls being tortured by guys in butcher smocks. To be fair, Waters did ask John Travolta to strip down to his underwear and submit to a public paddling by Mink Stole, but realized such a stunt might seem a little desperate even before a surprisingly game, yet distressingly sweat-slicked, Travolta was able to completely wriggle out of his shirt.
W magazine profiles John Travolta in their current issue, naively noting how "at 53 [he] still has a good head of hair and wields his famous blue eyes to powerful effect." When the topic shifts to his upcoming turn as Hairspray's zaftig hausfrau Edna Turnblad, Travolta explains how he firmly told producers that he would only take on the gender-bending role if they promised to build him the kind of plus-size, womanly curves recently dubbed by the LAT as the "new look" of Hollywood:
Just a little over one month away is the moderately anticipated release of Hairspray, featuring, as far as we know, the first fully authorized recorded drag appearance of Hollywood's second favorite OT-VIII family man, John Travolta. For those of you who simply cannot wait, however, the MTV Movies Blog has an exclusive sneak preview clip. The scene prominently features Travolta's Edna Turnblad, delivering her dialogue in an utterly inscrutable Southern-ish accent (doesn't it take place in Baltimore?) in a register slightly deeper than Travolta's own, and with none of the actor's trademarked, hip-gyrating moves—possibly all the result of reluctant concessions made to Church officials, who voiced serious concerns over how a flouncy, cross-dressing turn from one of their most high-profile lieutenants might affect the bottom-line numbers of their summer/fall 2007 recruitment drive.
Until today, our only glimpses of Hairspray—a worthy follow-up to The Producers in the category of "good movies turned hit Broadway shows turned crappy, likely-to-flop Hollywood musicals"—have been sparse. There was this promotional still of John Travolta suffering from what appeared to be an advanced case of steroid-induced facial-bloat, another unsettling snapshot of a bare-legged and bewigged Christopher Walken, and a 50-second "teaser," if you consider an announcer rattling off an endless list of names you didnt know and/or care about a tease. But with the release of the movie's full-length trailer on the internets, many of our curiosities about the movie are finally satisfied. Questions like: "Does this movie want to be the next Grease?" (Yes!) "Do we want to see it?" (No.) And, "How does Travolta look in a foundation garment?" (We torched out eyes with a cigarette lighter and a bottle of Aquanet.)
Had you told us a photo would emerge from the set of Hairspray, currently shooting in Toronto, whose monstrous, bouffant-laden imagery could haunt our dreams more than this one, we likely would have thought you had been huffing on a paper bag full of Aqua Net. Of course, we hadn't yet laid eyes on this portrait of Christopher Walken, whom we can best surmise plays the movie's elderly, withered drag queen, pictured positively beaming as he takes in what will likely be one of his final few gay pride parades. We imagine it should be a week or so before flashbacks to drooping sock-garters on a pair of spindly, pallid calves fail to rouse us from our slumber in trembling nightsweats.
The nationwide search for the girl to play Tracy Turnblad, the plump and perky lead in the big screen adaption of Hairspray: The Musical, is finally over. 17-year-old Nikki Blonsky was ambushed by Access Hollywood's cameras at her job at Coldstone Creamery, where she received the life-changing news that she had been plucked from obscurity to star opposite John Travolta in a muumuu: