Trivia: During the opening musical number, Tracy passes a man on the sidewalk wearing a trench coat who then flashes the crowd; this is John Waters, the writer and director of the original 1988 version.

Trivia: As for John Travolta playing Edna Turnblad, that goes back to John Waters having often cast 'Divine' in his movies. 'Harris Glenn Milstead' was an actor best known for performing in drag as 'Divine', John Waters cast him as Edna in the 1988 version. When the Broadway musical was being cast, they cast Harvey Fierstein as Edna Turnblad, and started a tradition of casting a man in the role of the mother, so the movie is just keeping that tradition going.

Trivia: Two characters from the 1988 film do not appear in this version: Arvin Hodgepile and Franklin von Tussle. The actors who played them have both passed away: Divine in 1988 and Sonny Bono in 1998.

Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Divine played both Edna and Arvin. Edna is in the 2007 film, but not Arvin.


Trivia: Adam Shankman, director of the movie, has a cameo appearance as the agent with the sunglasses in the Miss Hairspray pageant.

Trivia: During one of the last musical numbers, when the William Morris talent agents arrival, the female agent is played by Ricki Lake, she was the original Tracy Turnblad in the 1988 version.

Trivia: When Edna (John Travolta) tells Tracey that when she learns to get blood out of car upholstery it's a skill she can take to the bank, while the line was in the original broadway show before Travolta's involvement, it's now also a coincidental reference to Pulp Fiction where Travolta's character cleans brains and blood from the inside of a car.

John Cyr

Factual error: The movie is set in 1962, but when Tracy misses her bus, she catches a ride on an International-Harvester truck that wasn't introduced until 1969.

More mistakes in Hairspray

Motormouth Maybelle: [to Seaweed and Penny.] Oh, so this is love? [She pauses and then smiles.] Well, love is a gift, a lot of people don't remember that. So, you two better brace yourselves for a whole lotta ugly comin' at you from a neverending parade of stupid.
Penny Pingleton: [Totally serious.] So, you've met my mom?

More quotes from Hairspray

Question: One of the lines in "Without Love" states that "Without love, life is Doris Day at the Apollo". What does that mean?

Answer: First I need to explain that the Apollo Theater, an amazing music venue, is in upper Manhattan (NYC), in the predominantly black neighborhood of Harlem. The movie 'Hairspray' takes place in 1962, and at that point in time very few white musical artists had performed at the Apollo, and those who did were famous rock-and-roll musicians. Now as for Doris Day, by 1962 she was a popular American actress/singer, who, as the saying goes, was "as white as white bread", and to imagine someone like Doris Day appearing on stage at the Apollo Theater is an amusing incongruity and just not right. So the words "without love, life is Doris Day at the Apollo", means life would just not be right at all without love.

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Thank you. My director is making our cast look up stuff we don't know. So as Penny I felt like I needed to know so thank you for cleaning that up for me.

I hope you have fun playing Penny, and that your entire cast and crew enjoy putting on your stage production of Hairspray. Break a leg, sweetie.

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