Jim Broadbent Cast as Wilbur in Hairspray Film
He will join a starry cast that so far includes John Travolta as Edna Turnblad, Queen Latifah as Motormouth Maybelle, Michelle Pfeiffer as Velma Von Tussle, Brittany Snow as Velma Von Tussle, Amanda Bynes as Penny Pingleton, Zac Efron as Link Larkin, Elijah Kelley as Seaweed, James Marsden as Corny Collins and newcomer Nicole Blonksy as Tracy Turnblad, who helps to integrate a Baltimore dance show-and wins the heart of Link in the process.
The British Broadbent won an Oscar for his performance in Iris, and his many film credits also include The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Vanity Fair, Nicholas Nickleby, Gangs of New York, Moulin Rouge, the Bridget Jones' Diary films, Topsy-Turvy, Little Voice, Bullets Over Broadway and The Crying Game. He is also a stage veteran who has been seen in plays for the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, among others.
The film version of Hairspray will be directed by Adam Shankman (Bringing Down the House) produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, for their Zadan/Meron Productions, which previously executive produced the Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning Best Picture Chicago. It will start shooting in Toronto this fall for a projected release date of December 21st, 2007.
Hairspray is originally based on the 1988 John Waters comedy. The new version of the film will be based on New Line's hit Broadway adaptation of the film, which debuted in 2002, and went on to win eight Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book and Best Director.
Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman will contribute new songs to their existing Tony Award-winning score. Shaiman will also serve as the film's music supervisor and will compose the music score for the film as well as produce its songs. Wittman and Shaiman will also serve as executive producers on the film. The new screenplay for Hairspray will be written by Leslie Dixon (Freaky Friday, Outrageous Fortune).
Toby Emmerich, New Line's president of production, is overseeing the project along with New Line's Executive VP of Production Mark Kaufman, and Creative Executives Michael Disco and Daryl Freimark.
A condensed production of Hairspray opened at the Luxor Las Vegas on February 15th. Originally starring Fierstein and Dick Latessa, the show closed on June 11th with Paul Vogt and Eddie Mekka as Edna and Wilbur, respectively. On Broadway, it currently stars Shannon Durig, John Pinette, Stephen DeRosa, Darlene Love, Isabel Keating and more.