Trivia / Hairspray

  • Acting for Two: Divine played both Edna Turnblad and Arvin Hodgepile. Waters had to give Divine a male role because she was getting sick of doing drag for film roles.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Face it, Ruth Brown was Motormouth Maybelle.
    • On the 2007 album, during "Nicest Kids in Town," Corny Collins describes them as "The Sugar and Spice-est"
    • In the 2007 film, Michelle Pfeiffer and Christopher Walken have a scene where she advances on him sexily, and he tries to stop her by using practical jokes as weapons. It's a deliberate homage to the end of Batman Returns, where they did the same thing as Catwoman and Max Shreck (although Walken used an actual gun in the latter).
    • Brittany Snow actually played a dancer on American Bandstand, the show that the Corny's was based on in American Dreams.
  • All-Star Cast: Played with. The 2007 movie had several all star members (John Travolta, Christopher Walken, Queen Latifah, and Zac Efron to name a few), but these were mostly secondary roles, whereas the main role went to entirely new actress Nikki Blonsky (the 2007 version was her debut as a professional actress). The 2016 TV musical however, is a straight example (Complete with Dove Cameron and Kristin Chenoweth together again for the latter), and like in the 2007 movie, the main role went to newcomer Maddie Baillio, who won the part from one thousand other people who auditioned for the role.
  • The Cast Showoff: Several members of the cast were picked either because their musical talents were largely unknown to the general public (Marsden, Walken, Bynes) or had simply been forgotten about in recent years (Travolta, Pfeiffer)
  • Casting Gag:
  • Channel Hop: Both the 1987 and 2007 films are owned by Warner Bros. through New Line Cinema, but the Live show, being produced for NBC, will be distributed by Universal Television. However, Warner Bros. Television and New Line were still involved, as was Sony Pictures Television.
  • Creator Cameo: John Waters has a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo in the 2007 film as "The Flasher That Lives Next Door."
  • Cut Song:
    • "The New Girl in Town" was cut from the stage musical, but put into the 2007 film. Some songs from the stage version were cut from the film, too.
    • "I Can't Wait", sung by Nikki Blonsky in the 2007 movie, also counts, but the said song can be heard as a deleted song/scene in the two-disc soundtrack and two-disc DVD/Blu-Ray release.
    • The 2016 telecast cut "The Big Dollhouse".
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Amanda Bynes ate so many lollipops during filming there were some genuine concerns she might lose her teeth, especially from her dentist father. Rumors place it at around 40 a day. John Travolta's fat suit couldn't have been all that pleasant either.
  • Fan Nickname: Amongst the cast, "You Can't Stop the Beat," due to the intense dancing and fast pace, garnered the nickname "You Can't Stop To Breathe." Queen Latifah, being a rapper, was the only one who had no trouble singing the song.
  • Playing Against Type:
    • An extremely epic one for John Waters. Ironically, this actually led to a lot more controversy due to parents getting such earlier Waters material as Pink Flamingos for their kids, which in at least one case resulted in a 911 call. Yes, Hairspray is for the whole family. Anything else by Waters prior? Not even close!
    • This isn't the only time that Christopher Walken plays a all-around Nice Guy, but they're rare.
    • Brittany Snow's characters, equally, are usually much nicer.
    • During interviews, Divine made it perfectly clear her character was not one of her usual "drag queen" roles. As she put it: "What drag queen would allow herself to look like this? I look like half the women from Baltimore."
  • Production Posse: NBC reunited at least four people behind their critically-acclaimed The Wiz telecast to adapt Hairspray for television: Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (who produce all of the musicals NBC airs during The New Tens, and also did the same for the 2007 Hairspray movie), director Kenny Leon (who collaborated with Zadan and Meron three times before Hairspray), and scriptwriter Harvey Fierstein. The actress cast as Velma, Kristin Chenoweth, also previously appeared in three other productions produced by Zadan and Meron.
  • Promoted Fangirl: Ariana Grande has admitted wanting to play Penny Pingleton for years by the time she landed the role in the TV version.
  • Recursive Adaptation: From movie to Broadway musical and back again.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • James Marsden beat out his X-Men co-star Hugh Jackman and Joey McIntyre for the part of Corny Collins.
    • Queen Latifah won out over Aretha Franklin.
    • Christopher Walken was chosen over Billy Crystal.
    • Mamie Van Doren was originally picked for Velma in the original film.
    • John Waters wrote a sequel to the 2007 movie titled Hairspray 2: White Lipstick, detailing everyone's struggles to adjust to new music trends of the late 1960s. Plot points he shared included the African-American dancers planning an all-Black music program, Link becoming Fake Brit to attract fans of The Beatles, and Edna losing weight through weight loss pills. New numbers included Link having a Mushroom Samba and singing with his pimples, and Edna gorging back all the weight she lost after learning that Wilbur thinks she looked better when she looked fat.
  • Written by Cast Member: NBC's version sees Harvey Fierstein both reprise the role of Edna Turnblad, and write the teleplay.
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