Mitchell and O'Brien Depart "Hairspray" Film; Marshall May Direct

News   Mitchell and O'Brien Depart "Hairspray" Film; Marshall May Direct Tony Award winners Jerry Mitchell and Jack O'Brien are no longer attached to New Line's film version of the Tony-winning musical Hairspray.
Rob Marshall
Rob Marshall Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Variety reports that choreographer Mitchell and director O'Brien, who were set to co-direct the film, departed the production when the start date was moved from fall 2005 to spring 2006. The industry paper also reports that Rob Marshall, who helmed the Academy Award-winning movie musical "Chicago," is at the top of New Line's list of hoped-for directors.

New Line now plans to release the film in summer 2007 rather than Christmas 2006. Filming will begin in Toronto next spring with "second-unit work" in Baltimore, the setting for John Waters' original movie.

Marshall does have a history with the long-running musical. He developed the stage version and was replaced by O'Brien and Mitchell when he stepped out to focus on other projects.

No casting has been announced for the film, although Variety says John Travolta has been approached for the role of Edna Turnblad, the part created on Broadway to Tony-winning effect by Harvey Fierstein.

A Tony Award nominee for his work on Damn Yankees, Little Me, She Loves Me, Kiss of the Spider Woman and Cabaret, Rob Marshall made his feature-film directorial debut with the Academy Award-winning adaptation of "Chicago." He also directed the forthcoming "Memoirs of a Geisha" film.

Hairspray, based on the 1988 John Waters film of the same name, currently plays the Neil Simon Theatre. The show won 2003 Tony Awards for Best Score (Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman), Best Book (Thomas Meehan and Mark O'Donnell), Best Actress in a Musical (Marissa Jaret Winokur), Best Actor (Harvey Fierstein), Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Dick Latessa), Best Costume Design (William Ivey Long), Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical.

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