The Director's Chair: Adam Shankman's Hairspray Diary #12

July 22
1:24 PM 2007 has an exclusive look into the making of the movie musical HAIRSPRAY with this special Director's Diary written by Adam Shankman. Check back daily for new entries!


Well, it's happened. I've moved my entire life once again back to Toronto.  I've always liked Canada, but I really do miss my house. At least the dogs are gonna be up here with me. Jake and Sierra are keeping me company in the middle of all this mayhem.  The choreographers have all moved as well.  We're shooting back at Showline Studios and I'm familiar with it because we shot THE PACIFIER there.  We have the whole place to build the inside of the Turnblad residence, Prudy Pingleton's basement, the entire exterior of the Turnblad House (the backyard setting for "Timeless to Me") and various other sets.  We are going to be using practical locations for the school. We've divided them up into two because school is still in session, but we did find a fantastic school with brilliant architecture from the period.  The architect happened to have built two schools, one of which is being closed down.  So, while school is in session, we are using one and while school is out of session we will be using the other one.  The interiors we will be shooting in Hamilton, which is an hour outside the city. This is also where we are going to stage most of the march for "I Know Where I've Been."   David Gropman has been doing one of the most extraordinary jobs I have ever seen in my entire life. It's really unbelievable how much design he is doing simply by finding us perfect locations. He showed me a three block area that is going to be transformed into Highland Town, where Tracy is going to do most of "Good Morning Baltimore," where Mr. Pinky's will be; that will also be where we play the exterior for "Welcome to the Sixties."  What freaks me out is that we are going to have to shut down sixty businesses and three very busy city blocks for ten days.  What in God's name have we paid in order to get them to agree to do this?

Rita's costume shop is bustling. I walked in and almost fainted.  Thousands upon thousands of cardigan sweaters, pencil pants and the like were being loaded in from months of shopping in thrift stores, going through costume houses and from my favorite area, where the new costumes are being made. There is a giant mold of John Travolta's body that that they are building Edna's costumes on. It's a three hundred pound massive, headless lady draped in sequence right now, simply plopped into the middle of the room. There are hundreds of yards of plaids, shantung, sequence, bolts of fabric for Corny Collin's coats, which I want to be very shark skinny, and everything you can possibly imagine.  She actually seems a bit like a pig in shit right now to me.  The sound stages are getting prepped and ready. The mirrors are being rolled in and I am just looking around in awe that all of this is being prepared for me to put into motion.  

I'm moving into my house. It's this bizarre, gothic, three story monstrosity that makes me terribly uncomfortable to go in because it's too big for me, but I need a place that has a nice backyard because of the dogs. I hope that I'm getting it for not very much money because I had to take a pay cut on this job, God knows. The dogs will be happy because it has a big, giant, brick wall enclosure so they will be safe and sound and I don't have to worry about them.  One thing that does make me very happy is that it has a big living room with a giant TV in there so I can have the cast over to watch "So You Think You Can Dance" every Wednesday which is something that I think will bond all of the dancers. Does that make me a geek?  If it does, well, I guess who cares? I just know that this time spent with the dancers is going to be some of the happiest of my career.

I'm going to go to Tony Bologna's now to get my favorite veal parmesan sandwich.  Talk to you later.

More tomorrow with entry #13...

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Adam Shankman Adam Shankman is a master of comedy yet is still able to capture the sensitivity of each story, making him one of the most loved and commercially successful filmmakers of his generation.

Currently in post-production on Hairspray, Shankman is bringing the feature film adaptation of the Tony award-winning Broadway production to life with a remarkable collection of talent including John Travolta, Queen Latifah, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken. Hairspray is scheduled for a July 2007 release from New Line Cinema.

Shankman is also in pre-production on Bedtime Stories, which he will direct and executive produce through his Offspring Entertainment banner for Walt Disney Studios, with Adam Sandler set to star. Additionally, Shankman is producing an Untitled Project in the works also through Offspring, with Hairspray star Zac Efron set to star. He is also producing, through Offspring, All Of Me, starring Queen Latifah and based upon the 1984 film starring Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin.

Shankman and Gibgot?s Offspring Entertainment are set to produce Monday Monday, a film about a neurotic teenager forced to relive the first day of high school until he gets it right. Offspring Entertainment is also producing an adult treasure hunt project in association with Benderspink.

Most recently, Shankman produced the Sandra Bullock film, Premonition, as well as Step Up for Walt Disney Studios. Step Up, directed by his co-choreographer Anne Fletcher, garnered critical acclaim and grossed over $100 million at the box office. The sequel Step Up 2, directed by John Chu, is scheduled to begin production this summer. In addition, Shankman recently directed the box office success, Cheaper by the Dozen 2, the sequel to the 2003 20th Century Fox smash hit family film.

Shankman began crafting an enviable career with his directorial debut, Columbia Pictures' The Wedding Planner. The Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey film was the heart-felt hit of 2001. Shankman's following grew with his next film A Walk to Remember, distributed by Warner Bros., starring Mandy Moore and Shane West. A Walk to Remember was nominated for a 2002 Phoenix Film Critics Award for Best Live Action Family Film.

Shankman followed this up with Bringing Down the House, a Walt Disney comedy starring Steve Martin and Queen Latifah which was number one at the box office for three weeks in a row, grossing over $130 million. Shankman followed that up by directing another Disney film, The Pacifier starring Vin Diesel. To date, Shankman?s films have grossed over a half-billion dollars.

Prior to directing, Shankman was one of the entertainment world's premiere dance and physical comedy choreographers, putting his creative stamp on many well-known comedies, dramas, thrillers, and animated films. His projects include The Addams Family, Casper, Inspector Gadget, Anastasia, George of the Jungle, Boogie Nights, Miami Rhapsody, and The Flintstones for which he was nominated for a Bob Fosse Award. Shankman won the Bob Fosse award for his work with Simon West.

At age 24, Shankman teamed up with influential video director Julian Temple as a music video choreographer. One of the first videos as choreographer was Whitney Houston's "I'm Your Baby Tonight." He has also choreographed videos for The B-52's, Barry White, Aaron Neville, Chic and Stevie Wonder.

A native of Los Angeles, Shankman developed a love for the theater at an early age. After high school, he moved to New York and attended the Juilliard School.

After five years as an actor and dancer in New York and regional theater, he moved back to Los Angeles and began dancing in music videos, including videos for Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson. He also performed at the 1989 Academy Awards.