Shankman to Direct “Hairspray” Film

News   Shankman to Direct “Hairspray” Film
After Jerry Mitchell and Jack O’Brien bowed out of the project and Rob Marshall passed on the offer, the film of the Tony-winning musical Hairspray has found a director.

Variety reports that Adam Shankman will direct the New Line Cinema film, which is expected to begin filming in Baltimore early next year. Featuring a screenplay by Leslie Dixon, “Hairspray” — with a score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman — should hit movie theatres some time in 2007.

The industry paper also says that John Travolta is likely to star as Edna Turnblad, the role created onstage by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein. Queen Latifah, who was directed by Shankman in “Bringing Down the House,” is likely for the role of Motormouth Maybelle.

About his new position, Shankman told Variety, “I have worked with Marc and Scott on a variety of projects over 15 years, and the idea we get to work on the mother of all their projects, I consider it a great leap of faith in me.” Neil Meron, who’s co-producing the film with Craig Zadan, added, “It is rare to find a director who can speak the language of musicals. He lives and breathes this language."

Adam Shankman has directed the films “Cosmo’s Tale,” “The Wedding Planner,” “A Walk to Remember,” “Monk,” “Bringing Down the House” and “The Pacifier.” He also helmed “Cheaper by the Dozen 2,” which is due in theatres over the holidays. Shankman is also a Juilliard-trained dancer.

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. *

Choreographer Jerry Mitchell and director Jack O'Brien, who were set to collaborate on the film, departed the production earlier this year when the start date was moved from fall 2005 to spring 2006. At that time, New Line announced plans to release the film in summer 2007 rather than Christmas 2006.

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