The Director's Chair: Adam Shankman's Hairspray Diary #8 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!


We have auditioned what seems like every person under 25 to play the roles of Link, Seaweed, Amber, Penny and Corny for what seems like weeks and weeks and weeks. Once again my brain has turned into scrambled eggs but some interesting people have surfaced for me.   

Brittany Snow, who I worked with on THE PACIFIER, is a favorite.  She didn't do exactly what I hoped she would in the auditions.  I think she was just so nervous auditioning in front of me again because we are friends, but I have ultimate faith in her.  I also found Hayden Panettiere interesting to play Amber, but I think she has a pilot called HEROES that is going to be picked up, so she is sort of knocked out of the race.  I really want to go with Brittany. I know that she really wants to do this and I really have the most fun with her and I think in my heart of hearts that she is going to be perfect.   

As far as Link is concerned, my sister kicked the crap out of me for dismissing Zac Efron from HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL.  I thought he was too Disney and didn't really understand what was so special about him besides the fact that he has the most beautiful eyes on the planet and a smile that has broken the hearts of millions.  So I brought him back in to see if I could work with him after she screamed at me for about an hour about how if I didn't cast him, I would be costing the movie millions of dollars and realized that's exactly what the problem was.  His smile was too broad and a little too Disney-like, so once I told him to stop smiling and read it again with a little smoke in his voice, arch his eyebrow and give me a wink when he met me; I suddenly knew I had found my Link. It was perfect.  I can't wait to chop off that hair, dye it black and give him an Elvis "do".  It will be like Sampson loosing his strength for a second, but then he'll recover at tenfold.   

As far as Penny is concerned, Amanda Bynes came in and has been aggressively trying to get the part, like a pit-bull grabbing on, locking jaws and shaking us until she gets it. I was very surprised she wants it, because she is a movie star in her own right and easily opens movies by herself.  Penny, albeit is a great part, but it's certainly not the starring role.  I love her; I think she is like the next Lucille Ball.  I am pretty sure I am just going to cast her. 

As far as Seaweed is concerned, Elijah Kelly came in, I saw him, and I cast him.  There was no two ways about it for me.  We had been searching all over the country for him in our open calls but this kid has everything and spades. He's gorgeous, he's talented, he can sing the hell out of everything and I just love his energy. 

None of them are the best dancers I have ever seen and the choreography team is going to have to work really, really hard to get them up to snuff, but I think we're going to do great. I'm really, really loving the cast so far. 

Side note. I have no idea who is going to play Corny Collins. I was really interested in Hugh JackmanJoey McIntyre, etc. etc.  And David Rubin showed me a tape of James Marsden, believe it or not, Cyclops from the X-MEN Movies, singing on Ally MacBeal. He was the end of the line but it felt like the greatest discovery of all.  Jimmy Marsden is the next Michael Buble and Frank Sinatra, all rolled up into one.  He is unbelievable. I can't wait to chop off his hair too and make him look like a young Dick Clark. 

This is getting really exciting!

More tomorrow with entry #9...

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