The film version of Hairspray: The Musical is just a few weeks from starting up in Canada, and there are big changes happening in the casting – Jim Broadbent, who was set to play Wilbur Turnblad, father of dancing fat girl Tracy, has left the film and Christopher Walken has taken the role.
Once upon a time this would have been impossibly wacky casting, but now everybody knows that Walken has a song and dance background. Now it’s just sort of bizarre to think that John Travolta is going to be playing his wife. What a Pulp Fiction reunion.
There’s no specifics on why Broadbent is out, but Marc Shaiman, half of the Tony-winning duo that wrote and scored the Broadway version of John Waters’ film, was always hoping that Walken would get the part. "Chris was the person [partner] Scott [Wittman] and I wanted in the first place, and this is a happy ending to this particular saga," Shaiman said. "It seems like this part allows him to coalesce all his skills into one role. I am constantly pessimistic, but I look at this cast and feel like I’ve fallen into an old MGM musical." Yes, in much the same way that Hedley Lamarr did, I imagine.