Hairspray (2007) Poster



In a classroom scene, a teacher mentions that Everest is not Earth's highest geographical point. She asks what the actual highest point is, and the bell rings. The answer is Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador, which is the furthest point from the Earth's center, but closer to local sea level than Everest. (The Earth bulges at the equator.)

However, as the movie is set in 1962, and the analysis that led to Mt. Chimborazo being described that way was performed recently, it is extraordinarily unlikely that's what the teacher is referring to. Also, by the measurement that lists Mt. Chimborazo as highest, Everest is not 2nd, but 10th. The reference is almost certainly to K2, which is a point of contention.
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Amanda Bynes' character, Penny, is seen constantly eating lollipops. Bynes' father, who is a dentist, became very worried for her dental health, as it was estimated she ate about 40 lollipops a day. She told him that she wasn't really eating all of them, when in reality she ate them all.
It wasn't until halfway through production that Michelle Pfeiffer realized that the character she plays is actually racist. She became worried about what people would think, but director Adam Shankman reassured her.
It took John Travolta four hours to put on the 30-pound fat suit and 5 gel-filled silicone face prosthetics to become Edna Turnblad.
This film brings together John Travolta who starred in Grease (1978), and Michelle Pfeiffer who starred in Grease 2 (1982). One day, while the cast was waiting between takes, Travolta began singing "Summer Nights". Co-stars Amanda Bynes and Zac Efron were so excited that they immediately began sending text messages to their friends about what was happening.
Most of the cast jokingly called "You Can't Stop the Beat" "you can't stop to breathe" because of its pace and fast-moving lyrics. Queen Latifah said she had no trouble singing a lot of words very quickly because of her background as a rapper.
Aretha Franklin auditioned for the role of Motormouth Maybelle, but lost out to Queen Latifah.
Nikki Blonsky revealed on the Tuesday, May 16th, 2007, edition of The Oprah Winfrey Show (1984) that when she entered the studio on the first day, John Travolta said to her, "Come to Mama".
According to the DVD commentary, director Adam Shankman made Zac Efron make out with the picture frame in the "Without Love" sequence for "hour after hour after hour".
Amanda Bynes's pigtails alone took two hours every morning.
Penny Pingleton's dress in the "You Can't Stop the Beat" song was made from the curtains in her room. This is an homage to The Sound of Music (1965).
After Penny and Seaweed fall in love, she sings, "And if they try to stop us, Seaweed / We'll call the N-double A-C-P."

Until the Supreme Court's 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia, interracial marriage was illegal in 17 states, including Maryland. In 1962 Baltimore, Seaweed and Penny's relationship would've been illegal.
Film debut of Nikki Blonsky, who celebrated her 18th birthday with her family and friends while on the set of this movie.
According to Film Journal International, the song "Big, Blonde and Beautiful (Reprise)" was added in at Michelle Pfeiffer's suggestion to replace a scripted scene, giving her the chance to sing.
Edna (John Travolta's character) says "Look, if you want to be famous, learn how to take blood outta car upholstery". This could be seen as a reference to Pulp Fiction (1994), when Travolta's character (Vince) accidentally shoots Marvin in Jules' (Samuel L. Jackson) car. They have to take the car to Jules' friend and call in the Wolf (a man who deals with big problems) to help them clean up the mess that's all over them and the car. So Travolta's character does indeed have to take blood out of car upholstery. However, the line has appeared in other productions; this relation may be a coincidence.
Adam Shankman offered the role of Link Larkin to Zac Efron after seeing him in High School Musical (2006).
This film had the best opening weekend ever for a movie musical ($27.5 million) until Mamma Mia! (2008).
Meryl Streep and Madonna were considered for the role of Velma Von Tussle.
Amber is the only blonde among the "Nicest Kids in Town" characters.
Costume designer Rita Ryack actually got vintage outfits for some of the characters to wear during several scenes shot in the high school. Link Larkin's blue sweater was a sweater vest found at a vintage shop.
Billy Crystal and Jim Broadbent were both considered for the role of Wilbur Turnblad.
Actor Dermot Mulroney plays cello on the soundtrack along with the Hollywood Studio Orchestra.
John Travolta had input on the fat suit. He wanted it to look more realistic than normal fat suits.
Elijah Kelley had to go through an hour of hair dressing every day.
Hayden Panettiere was considered for the role of Amber Von Tussle.
To facilitate filming for the "Run and Tell That" dance number, the production cut up a 1957 GMC transit bus. According to the DVD commentary, it was cut into 6 pieces. The bus wasn't really moving; that part was filmed in a soundstage.
Hairspray (2007) is the second film Michelle Pfeiffer and Christopher Walken have starred in together. Their first was Batman Returns (1992), 15 years prior.
Season 3 American Idol (2002) runner up Diana DeGarmo auditioned to play Penny Pingleton but did not get the part because she was "too short". She is, however, in the Broadway show.
In the scene where Allison Janney's character, Prudy Pingleton, reads nine verses of the Holy Bible aloud to herself, she is reading Genesis Chapter 19: verses 30-38. This is when Lot's two daughters get their father drunk and conceive children with him, becoming mothers. This occurred shortly after they both lost their unnamed husbands (& mother), as two Biblical cities, Sodom & Gomorrah, were destroyed.
Hairspray was directed by Adam Shankman, who also choreographed the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once More, with Feeling (2001).
The soundtrack for the new "Hairspray" features a rendition of all of the "original" Tracys (Ricki Lake from the first film, Marissa Jaret Winokur from the Broadway cast, and Nikki Blonsky from this film) singing "Mama, I'm A Big Girl Now". Harvey Fierstein appears near the end, but he isn't credited.
Arvin Hodgepile and Franklin von Tussle, two characters from the original theatrical film, Hairspray (1988), do not appear in this version. The actors who played them died: Divine in 1988 and Sonny Bono in 1998.
The "Nicest Kids in Town", in order of introduction, are: Amber Von Tussle, Brad, Tammy, Fender, Brenda, Sketch, Shelley, IQ, Lou Ann, Joey, Mikey, Vicki, Becky, Bix, Jesse, Darla, Paulie, Noreen, Doreen, Link Larkin and (when Brenda leaves) Tracey Turnblad.
This is the first time a John Waters story made into a movie was not filmed in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, but over the border in Toronto, Ontario instead.
The creative team modified several songs from the Original Broadway production, removed others, and added some new songs. "Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now", a number performed in the stage musical by Tracy, Penny, and Amber opposite their respective mothers, was reluctantly cut from the script during pre-production - but was sung over the credits by all three "original" Tracys (Ricki Lake, Marissa Jaret Winokur, and Nikki Blonsky). While the crew liked the song, screenwriter Leslie Dixon felt the number did not adequately advance the plot, and would also be impossible to film without a three-way split screen, which neither she nor director Adam Shankman wanted to use. "It Takes Two", sung in the stage musical by Link to Tracy during her first day on "The Corny Collins Show", was moved to an earlier scene in the film; Link sings it just before Tracy learns that the TV station will be holding auditions for a new Council Member. However, only the song's coda remains in the final release. "Cooties", performed by Amber at the climactic "Miss Teenage Hairspray" pageant in the stage musical, is an instrumental during the pageant contestants' dance-off. "Mama" and "It Takes Two" are also instrumentals during scenes featuring broadcasts of "The Corny Collins Show". A reprise of "Big, Blond, and Beautiful", sung by Velma and Edna, was added to the film as part of a new subplot involving Velma Von Tussle's attempt to seduce Tracy's father Wilbur. "I Can Wait", a climactic ballad written for the film, was to have been performed by Tracy as she is hiding out in Penny's basement. The sequence was cut from the final release print. "The New Girl in Town" was written for the stage musical, dropped during the workshopping stage, resurrected, and used in this film to underscore Tracy's rise-to-fame montage, and to show "The Corny Collins Show" on Negro Day. "Ladies' Choice", performed by Link at a school dance, was added to replace "The Madison", a dance number carried over into the stage musical from Hairspray (1988). "Come So Far (Got So Far to Go)" was written for the film for use during the closing credits.
John Travolta and Christopher Walken previously co-starred in Pulp Fiction (1994) as Vince Vega and Captain Koons, respectively.
Four songs were written for the film, but didn't make the final cut: "I Can Wait" (the only one filmed, available on the Special Edition DVD), "Mrs. Von Tussle Says" (meant to replace Miss Baltimore Crabs), "Save Your Applause 'Till The End" (Velma follows Tracy around, complaining), and "Turn Back the Hands of Time" (the original "Come So Far"). All 4 songs are on the 2-Disc Special Edition Soundtrack.
The original Broadway production of "Hairspray" opened at the Neil Simon Theater on Wednesday, August 15th, 2002, ran for 2,642 performances and won the 2003 Tony Awards for the Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score. It is Broadway's 21st longest running show ever (February 2013). Cast included Marissa Jaret Winokur (Tracy), Harvey Fierstein (Edna), Clarke Thorell (Corny Collins), Laura Bell Bundy (Amber), Matthew Morrison (Link), Kerry Butler (Penny), Linda Hart (Velma), Dick Latessa (Wilbur), Corey Reynolds (Seaweed) and Mary Bond Davis (Motormouth Maybelle).
This 2007 film, from director Adam Shankman, is an adaptation (or remake) of the Broadway musical, which is an adaptation of the 1988 film by John Waters. The Broadway musical version of Hairspray opened to rave reviews in 2002; it played over 2,500 performances, finally closing seven years later. A book, by Tony award-winning librettists Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, was published in 2003.
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Tabitha Lupien (Becky - Corny Collins Council) starred alongside Travolta as his daughter Julie in Look Who's Talking Now (1993).
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This is the second time Michelle Pfeiffer has taken over Debbie Harry's role. The first time, Harry was set to play Stephanie Zinone in Grease 2 (1982) but backed out.
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In this film, Michelle Pfeiffer is the aggressor whereas Christopher Walken is the submissive. The two also appear together in Batman Returns, where Walken acted as the aggressor and Pfeiffer was the submissive. The two films were exactly 15 years apart.
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Two actors playing minor roles in this film also appear in My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002). Gerry Mendicino, the neighborhood drunk seen during "Good Morning Baltimore", is Uncle Taki in MBFGW. Jayne Eastwood, Tracy's geography teacher Miss Wimsey, is next door neighbor Mrs. White in MBFGW.
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The character played by Sonny Bono in the original film does not appear in this film, but the part was the husband of the Michelle Pfeiffer character. Pfeiffer previously appeared in The Witches of Eastwick (1987) with Bono's first wife, Cher.
Zac Efron chose to star in this film rather than go on tour with the rest of the High School Musical (2006) cast. Drew Seeley, who dubbed Efron's singing in the first HSM film, took Efron's place on the tour.
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The original reason for the Von Tussles not singing the final song was because Amber was to sing a song afterwards about the police not taking Velma to jail.
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Elijah Kelley, who portrays Seaweed, is originally from LeGrange Georgia.
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Zac Efron and James Marsden both went on to appear in a movie based on a Nicholas Sparks book: Efron in The Lucky One (2012) and Marsden in The Best of Me (2014).
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Maybelle's record shop set was in reality an auto repair shop.
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According to the producers' commentary, the "hairspray" in the Ultra Clutch cans was actually deodorant. Out of many possibilities, it was the only thing that would catch the light and show up on camera the way they wanted it to.
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The show title, "Grease", was rifting on "Hair", a Broadway hit about the 60s which had come out a few years before "Grease". In the same way "Hairspray" was a rift on "Grease".
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Zac Efron and Allison Janney would be in another movie after this: Liberal Arts in 2012.
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Travolta starred in this and the similarly themed "Hairspray"; both were period piece musicals about hair which were also adaptations of hit Broadway shows. Not coincidentally; Michelle Pfeiffer, another star of Hairspray, also starred in the Grease franchise; she was the star of Grease 2.
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Steve Martin, Robin Williams, and Tom Hanks were considered for the role of Edna Turnblad.
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Jerry Stiller: Wilbur Turnblad in Hairspray (1988), now appears as Mr. Pinky.
Ricki Lake, Adam Shankman, Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman: William Morris talent agents in the finale - note Shaiman's very out of character and period beard.
John Waters: The flasher in the opening 'Good Morning Baltimore' sequence.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The song "You Can't Stop the Beat" was changed for the movie version. When it is performed off Broadway, the last verse is sung by Velma and Amber Von Tussle, providing a form of redemption for the villainous characters. This does not happen in the movie.

The Broadway lyrics are: "Ever since we first saw the sun/It seems Von Tussle girls are always tryin' to please someone/But now we're gonna shake and shimmy it/And have some fun, today!"

In the movie, the rest of the characters sing this version of the line: "Ever since we first saw the sun/a man and woman liked to shake it when the day is done/And so we're going to shake and shimmy it and have some fun today."
Originally Michelle Pfeiffer's character, Velma Von Tussle, is arrested at the end of the film; that scene was cut.
Despite having top billing, Allison Janney (playing Prudy Pingleton) has fewer than three minutes of screen time.

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