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HAIRSPRAY

Re-Invention
Now, in 2007, the third generation of John Waters' story has been created. Neither a remake of the 1988 film nor a filmed version of the 2002 stage musical, the film is a "re-invention” based on the hit Broadway show.

In Fall 2004, New Line Cinema – the common thread to all three iterations – enlisted producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to help shepherd this new version to the screen, which began with their hiring of screenwriter Leslie Dixon (Mrs. Doubtfire, 2003's Freaky Friday). The duo are veterans of the musical genre, having executive produced the Academy Award®-winning Chicago (which was the first movie musical to win the Oscar® for Best Picture in 34 years) and produced television productions of "Gypsy,” "Rogers & Hammerstein's Cinderella,” "Annie,” and "The Music Man.”

"All three incarnations of Hairspray have the same DNA, the same bloodline,” says Neil Meron. "They're all very much related to one another, but unique in their respective artistic sensibilities. This film utilizes the building blocks of the original movie and combines it with the energy and fun of the Broadway musical to create a singularly different translation of the story. It's like having triplets…they're not always identical, they don't always look the same, but they come from the same family.”

"For all of us, it was first and foremost about honoring the source material,” says Craig Zadan. "Whether it was comedic elements from the original film or musical elements from the Broadway show, we approached this movie with a deep respect and dignity for the story that John Waters so brilliantly conceived.”

New Line Cinema and the producers found a perfect choice for director in Adam Shankman. Hairspray also marks a return to Shankman's roots in the entertainment business. "This is truly a dream come true for me, and I feel like I've come home,” says Shankman, who spent the first half of his career as a successful dancer and stage and film choreographer. He then turned to directing movies like The Wedding Planner, A Walk to Remember, Bringing Down the House, The Pacifier and Cheaper By the Dozen 2, which combined to earn more than $600 million worldwide. 

"Craig and I have known Adam for many years and have watched him grow into a talented filmmaker,” says Meron. "When we first sat down with him to talk about the possibility of him directing this movie, he was very, very passionate. He told us that he understood this show more than anything he's done in his entire career. To him, the story of Tracy Turnblad and her indomitable spirit to succeed somewhat echoes portions of his own life and his desire and determination to work hard and be successful. Given his expertise in the genres of dance, musical theatre and film, and his intrinsic relationship with the material, he truly was the guiding force behind this film.”

"The films I've been lucky enough to direct over the past few years didn't utilize the skill sets of my years as a dancer,” Shankman says. "Directing Hairspray took me back to doing what I felt I was always supposed to do…and I loved it. On top of which, I was surrounded by some of the most talented people I have ever met. The cast is so rich in talent and their collective courage in stepping into a project like this was awe-inspiring.”

Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron believe the magic of Hairspray is created from the combination of Shankman's unique skills as a director-choreographer; the stellar cast of award-winners and hot, young newcomers; and the upbeat music and lyrics of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who have written several new songs for the film, including the Elvis-inspired "Ladies Choice” for heartthrob Link Larkin (played by Zac Efron) and "Come So Far (Got So Far To Go),” sung by Queen Latifah, Nikki Blonsky, Zac Efron and Elijah Kelley, which appears over the end title credits.

For his part, Marc Shaim

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