Monday, August 11, 2008

Clash of the Titans

Being the girl at my office, last summer I was assigned the big summer musical, i.e., Hairspray. The studio gave us roundtables, which was great. It also gave us nearly every person who ever thought about being in the movie, which was less great.

For the better part of an afternoon, we were locked in a small hotel room wherein we were to interview no less than the following:

Queen Latifah (Motormouth Maybelle), Christopher Walken (Wilbur Turnblad), James Marsden (Corny Collins), Elijah Kelley (Seaweed), Michelle Pfeiffer (Velma Von Tussel), Adam Shankman (Director, Choreographer), Craig Zadan & Neil Meron Producers), John Travolta (Edna Turnblad), Nikki Blonsky (Tracy Turnblad), Zac Efron (Link Larkin), Brittany Snow (Amber Von Tussel), Amanda Bynes (Penny Pingleton), Allison Janney (Mrs. Pingleton), Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman (Lyricists/Producers), and Leslie Dixon (Writer).

At least they took pity on us and paired a few of them up. Still, it was a looong day.
I will not, however, not repeat the same horror to you. Instead, let's just give you the Reader's Digest version, shall we?

James Marsden was: sick.
Elijah Kelley was: really, really tiny.
All the producers were: entirely forgettable and I have no idea why they trotted them out.
Allison Janney was: nice, and not entirely sure why she was there since she had such a small part in the movie
Leslie Dixon was: sporting a face so wrought with plastic surgery that it was literally all I could do not to have my mouth hanging agape in horror.
Zac Efron was: possibly wearing make up, seemed like a little surfer boy.
Brittany Snow & Amanda Bynes were both: pretty, nice, not snotty like the stereotypical 'pretty girls' in high school they play
Queen Latifah was: nice, pretty, not secretly enormously butch despite what her persona life may be.
Nikki Blonsky was: a no-show with 'food poisoning'. Foreshadowing her recent airport brawling and rumors of diva-ness? Possibly. I cannot confirm or deny. I did walk by her at the valet a couple of days later and she smiled nicely, so that obviously speaks volumes about her character.
Adam Shankman was: so flamingly gay it was hilarious. And also delightfully self-deprecating. He made a joke about his 'opus' Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and it made me love him. Admitting you took it for the paycheck? Wonderful.
Christopher Walken was: terrifying. I mean, he was nice enough, but he is still one of the only actors I saw people address by his full name ('So, Mr. Walken...') and everyone was on serious good behavior and clearly very reverential. He, on the other hand, wasn't full of himself at all; if anything, the opposite. He made some jokes about himself. But he's just definitely an oddball, so he was scary. He was also wearing a weirdly funky suit and has, as I said in my official write up, more hair than any human should be in possession of, let alone one his age.
Michelle Pfeiffer was: absolutely lovely, happy, funny, down to earth, game, joking and still unbelievably gorgeous. Either she has perfect genes or else an amazingly subtle plastic surgeon. Probably some of both, and that being the case, I really, really want to know who the plastic surgeon is.
and finally...
John Travolta was: insane. By that I don't mean he was actually crazy so much as he was totally un-self-aware. He was a nice enough guy, actually. Happy to be there. Answered all the questions. But definitely is not in touch with how he is perceived, and clearly thinks he is very much an 'actor.' We got lots and lots of him talking about how he needed to perfect Edna's look and how he got every single iron from that era and tried them out to see exactly which one she would use. Evidently he never got the memo that he is kind of a joke and that when you're playing a woman in a camp musical, maybe saying you made some poor PA search the far ends of the earth for every single possible iron you might conceivably use makes you come off as a self-important jerk.

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