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Friday, June 15, 2007

John Travolta’s Aggressive Suckery

posted by on June 15 at 9:14 AM


When I first heard that the new movie musical of Hairspray would star John Travolta as Edna Turnblad (originated on film by the brilliant Divine and reprised in the musical by a Tony-winning Harvey Feirstein), I did more than reserve judgment—I actively hoped Travolta was harboring some untapped camp talent that would make the casting make sense and perhaps result in triumph. It seemed possible: Why would John Travolta want to do something he’s horrible at?

Who knows, but judging from this preview clip, he does, and has, and it ain’t pretty. As Defamer notes, “The scene prominently features Travolta’s Edna Turnblad delivering her dialogue in an utterly inscrutable Southern-ish accent (doesn’t it take place in Baltimore?) in a register slightly deeper than Travolta’s own.”

As for “untapped camp talent,” Travolta displays none. I’m tempted to say, “This is the kind of drag your dad would do,” but it’s too weird. One thing’s for sure: Travolta’s never seemed straighter. Weird.

(However, I remain excited to see Alison Janney’s take on the spastic-with-racism Mrs. Pingleton.)

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Here is a clip of him singing and dancing. Mmmm. The singing and dancing seem good, the speaking voice, not so much.

Posted by Nick | June 15, 2007 9:29 AM

I'm torn on this movie. On the one side is John "Battlefield Earth" Travolta who I never expected to do anything but butcher Edna. But I heart Allison Janney in so many ways shapes and forms that I don't see how I can not see it.

Posted by monkey | June 15, 2007 9:31 AM

I sat through the trailer for this (along with several other horrible, horrible-looking comedies) before Knocked Up recently, and I really, really wanted to punch something. I hope John Waters is being well-compensated for this travesty.

Posted by Levislade | June 15, 2007 9:32 AM

John Travolta sucks dick in hell.

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 15, 2007 9:37 AM

I'll wait for Pink Flamingos: The Musical.

Posted by elswinger | June 15, 2007 10:00 AM

this infuriates me. i can't even explain it. i am offended, travolta, you fucking fat ass homo closeted hosebag alien worshiping no talent etc.

and this time, it's personal.

Posted by adrian! | June 15, 2007 10:27 AM

Hmmm... sounds about as fun as a drag show at a frat house... I wonder if John shaved his legs at least?

Posted by Phenics | June 15, 2007 10:54 AM

Sort of off-topic, but Kurt and I saw a preview for some HEINOUS "gay-themed" movie with Adam Sandler and Kevin James.


In the bad way.

Posted by Mark Mitchell | June 15, 2007 11:11 AM

And I'm living to hear Alison Janney tell Penny Pingleton that she's permanently punished.

Posted by Mark Mitchell | June 15, 2007 11:12 AM

@8 - yes, that was one of the other awful trailers I saw. Something like I now pronounce you Chuck and Larry? I don't know, but it looked awful. One of two trailers I saw for movies with a main/title character named Chuck, no less. (There were also two different ones that involved adorable female love interests clumsily smacking into poles and falling to the ground. Seriously.)

Posted by Levislade | June 15, 2007 12:08 PM


It's a rip-off of Bed Strangers or Bed Fellows or whatever. I don't remember the title. Haven't seen either. Don't want to see either. Knock on wood.

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 15, 2007 1:22 PM

They didn't cast Fierstein because...?

I understand why they didn't cast the original Ulla in The Producers. She was very much a stage actress and wouldn't have done well on screen.

But Fierstein has done movies before. WTF?

Posted by keshmeshi | June 15, 2007 1:40 PM

I admired his performance in "Primary Colors." But, Dave, you're right. He's got Edna soooo wrong. The comedy of the role is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek - even Divine toned it down to do Edna; Travolta has her as a Vaudevillian clown. Pity.

My Queen's looking good though.

Posted by Bauhaus | June 15, 2007 3:17 PM

i've seen the original at least 100 times (i'm not sure what that says about me since i'm only 25). i hate to be so fussy & critical of movie remakes, but you've got to be fucking kidding me with this. it's a disaster waiting to happen, queen latifah, john travolta, no thanks...i'll stick with deborah harry & divine.

it's the times. they are a-changin'. Something's blowing in the wind. fetch me my diet pills, would you?

Posted by still_dottie | June 15, 2007 3:22 PM

They didn't cast Fierstein because...?

They didn't cast Fierstein because

(1) He was a huge dick when it came to the Broadway show, more or less demanding an ungodly percentage of the box office that rightfully belonged to the creators. Which people are still shocked that he got. He burned a lot of bridges.

(2) To make this a film, big names were required--and amazingly, Travolta is still a name.

P.S.--the Crybaby readings have been fantastic. I think it's slated for 2008, though I'm not sure.

Posted by seattlesucks | June 15, 2007 5:06 PM

Gosh, if his eyes were any closer together he'd be a cyclops.

Mommy, I'm scared...

Posted by David K. | June 15, 2007 6:07 PM

For what it's worth, a lot of people in Maryland think they're in the South. The state is below the Mason-Dixon line, for one thing. Maryland was a slave state during most of the Civil War, and Lincoln had to suspend habeas corpus there and jail a bunch of legislators to keep them from voting to secede.

And, if that's not enough, during the seventh inning stretch of Orioles games at Camden Yards, they play John Denver's "Thank God I'm A Country Boy." Really.

Still, the "Balmer" accent isn't quite a "Southern" accent, and it might be asking too much for Travolta to master the nuance.

Posted by Milbarge | June 15, 2007 11:24 PM

u ppl suck dicks in hell!!!!! JOHN TRAVOLTA IS NOT GOING TO RUIN THIS FILM!!!

Posted by jennifer | June 25, 2007 4:48 PM

u ppl suck dicks in hell!!!!! JOHN TRAVOLTA IS NOT GOING TO RUIN THIS FILM!!!

Posted by jennifer | June 25, 2007 4:48 PM

u ppl suck dicks in hell!!!!! JOHN TRAVOLTA IS NOT GOING TO RUIN THIS FILM!!!

Posted by jennifer | June 25, 2007 4:48 PM

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