Fuck You, Travolta

I’m as pissed off about the casting of John Travolta in the role of Edna Turnblad in the new Hairspray movie as any John Waters fan. Perhaps more so; I credit Waters and Divine as two people that helped me with coming to terms with my own sexuality and being proud of letting my freak flag fly. I’m still wondering why the hell Harvey Fierstein isn’t in the role, but wev. There is no replacement for Divine.

But this? This is just fucking infuriating.

Travolta says “Hairspray” Isn’t a “Gay” Film

John Travolta says that gay-rights folks who are looking to boycott “Hairspray” don’t know what they’re talking about.

The 1988 version of the film is a cult classic in which late drag queen Divine plays the role that Travolta has in the 2007 flick.

“Travolta, a prominent Scientologist, has no business reprising an iconic gay role, given his [religion’s] stance on gay issues,” notes Kevin Naff, managing editor of the Washington Blade, who has been spearheading the call for a boycott.

“There is nothing gay in this movie,” Travolta told the London Times on-line. “I’m not playing a gay man.” Besides, the actor insists, Scientology isn’t anti-gay, despite numerous reports that it seeks to “cure” homosexuality.

Okay, I’ll say this slowly so you can understand this.

Hairspray is a movie written by a gay man. The role you are playing was originated by a gay man. The film and the musical are camp. It may not have any openly gay characters in it, but that does not make it a “straight” film. You haven’t the slightest clue what you’re talking about. As an actor in a remake of a remake, you do not get to say what this film is.

Hairspray is gayer than a leather daddy singing “I Will Survive” at Karaoke night at The Manhole.

Just shut up and collect your paycheck, Travolta. You’re not worthy to wear Divine’s tits. Go release a thetan and shut the fuck up.

Advertisements

46 Comments

Filed under 02_paul_the_spud

46 responses to “Fuck You, Travolta

  1. Melissa McEwan

    You’re not worthy to wear Divine’s tits.

    LOLOLOL!!!

  2. This really does not look good. Another opportunity missed thanks to Hollywood idiocy of the type personified by Mr Travolta.

    I only hope John Waters is getting a huuuuge payday out of this.

  3. Angelos

    I’ll stay out of any relating to the history of the story and its various productions, and the gay, and the whatever, because I’m not that familiar.

    But, when I saw the preview a couple days ago, all I could ask was: why John Travolta?

    Just because the first one had a man in drag in that role, why did this one have to? Is it essential to the role?

  4. The clips I’ve seen are worse than horrible. Travolta seems to be doing a Southern accent — exactly like Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie.

    He’s HIDEOUS in drag and doesn’t have a campy bone in his body.

    Patrick Swayzee was a better drag queen in To Wong Foo!

  5. Paul the Spud

    Just because the first one had a man in drag in that role, why did this one have to? Is it essential to the role?

    No, they could have easily cast a woman in the role. I don’t know the story behind this, but something tells me that Travolta pushed his way into the role.

    The thing that really gets me is he doesn’t look like a mom. Divine did. Travolta looks like he’s trying to play Tracy Turnblad. And that “girly voice” he’s doing is completely inappropriate for Edna. Edna is supposed to be a frump that blossoms. Travolta’s playing her like Donna fucking Reed.

    Sorry to keep ranting… the original film is very important to me, and he’s just pissing all over it.

  6. Just because the first one had a man in drag in that role, why did this one have to? Is it essential to the role?

    Not really. There are some campy women who could easily perform the role — Bette Midler, Mo Gaffney, even Roseanne Barr.

    But, it is more about having a classic camp performance like Divine did in the original role.

  7. Melissa McEwan

    Sorry to keep ranting… the original film is very important to me, and he’s just pissing all over it.

    Don’t be sorry! Rant away.

    (That’s why I wanted you to write about it. I couldn’t even find the words.)

  8. Melissa McEwan

    There are some campy women who could easily perform the role — Bette Midler, Mo Gaffney, even Roseanne Barr.

    She’s not technically old enough yet, I suppose, but they could have brought back Rikki Lake as Edna, which would have made me just all kinds of happy!

  9. Don’t be sorry! Rant away.

    Yes, rant away.

    I first saw Hairspray at the Westwood theater. The audience was probably 90% gay men. It is difficult to describe how the audience responded to the film other than we laughed our asses off.

    My friends and I waited months for the film to be released. There was HUGE anticipation in the gay community.

    For Revolta to say it isn’t a gay film is horseshit.

    Oh, and BTW. I once saw Revolta shopping at the Beverly Center with a male companion. They were practically holding hands, browsing through Macys and giggling like little girls. They looked like a typical gay couple to me.

  10. She’s not technically old enough yet, I suppose, but they could have brought back Rikki Lake as Edna…

    That would have just been too FUCKING BRILLIANT!

    Imagine Rikki Lake doing the record shop dance number.

  11. Melissa McEwan

    Oh, and BTW. I once saw Revolta shopping at the Beverly Center with a male companion.

    Wasn’t there a picture recently of him kissing a guy just as he was about to board one of his airplanes…? Kissing a guy like most straight guys don’t kiss other guys, I mean.

    Imagine Rikki Lake doing the record shop dance number.

    I know, right?! They missed a great opportunity IMO by not casting Rikki as Edna. I wanted Harvey or Rikki. I got John freaking Travolta.

  12. As a native Baltimoron, I am just SICK TO DEATH with the ENTIRE THING. First, they fucked us royally by opting to film the movie in…in…..TORONTO?

    Then this shit from Travolta? You’re RIGHT. HE IS NOT WORTHY TO WEAR DIVINES TITS!

    next time I run into JW, I will tell him that this sucks. (yes, he likes to hang out at the Drinkery a lot, too. God I love that place.)

  13. Paul the Spud

    She’s not technically old enough yet, I suppose, but they could have brought back Rikki Lake as Edna, which would have made me just all kinds of happy!

    That’s what I’ve been saying since DAY FUCKING ONE.

    And you KNOW she would have been honored to do it. And it just makes sense!

    next time I run into JW, I will tell him that this sucks. (yes, he likes to hang out at the Drinkery a lot, too. God I love that place.)

    I’d imagine that he probably had little to nothing to do with it (and it wouldn’t surprise me if he found the whole thing rather amusing). I’m just all kinds of jealous that you run into John Waters!

  14. Melissa McEwan

    That’s what I’ve been saying since DAY FUCKING ONE.

    How did we never discuss this previously, lol?

  15. David Hasselhoff would have been better than Revolta. Seriously.

    But, if I were doing he casting, I would have cast Paul Vogt

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0901099/

    Or, his twin brother Peter Allen Vogt

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0901101/

  16. wordhorder

    Seriously, the original movie is one of the best there is. It has an amazing cast, one that only Waters could pull together. Any film that has Divine and Debbie Harry is amazing; but together, with their powers combined, a film is fantastical. I am quite sad that they made a remake with this film. It is like trying to remake Citizen Kane, it will never happen. There is nothing Hairspray the musical added to the discourse, the masterpiece was already completed.

    VIVA DIVINE!

  17. I’m not joking about Paul Vogt.

    Check him out playing Edna in a stage production:

    He’s brilliant.

  18. Paul the Spud

    I wonder if Travolta’s also playing Arvin Hodgepile. Somehow, I doubt he’s talented enough for the stretch.

    I’ll have to look at that when I get home Fritz, but I still wonder what was the problem with Harvey Fierstein? Couldn’t they just use the man that originated the role in the musical?

    Fuckin’ hell.

  19. I really loved the original movie — still do — but frankly, the one thing I never liked about it was Divine as Mrs T. From my POV, here was this great film with an inexplicably weird casting decision.

    I have zero interest in the stage version or the new movie.

  20. Molly, NYC

    Mr Travolta, what are your criteria for what constitutes a “gay movie”? Also, do you know what a reaction formation is?

  21. Jesus Christ. Is there anyone other than John Travolta who thinks casting John Travolta in this role was a good idea?

    And may I point out, because it’s what I do, that the original Hairspray was hugely important to fat girls, too. So I’m nauseated not just because Travolta’s Scientologist ass is reprising Divine’s big gay role, but because he’s reprising it in a fucking fat suit.

    (That would be my objection to the concept of Ricki Lake in the role, too. She’s actually pretty close to Divine’s age in the 1988 movie, but she’s currently a proud size 6, so playing Edna would require a fat suit for her, too. God forbid anyone give a fat woman the job of playing a fat woman. Though, having said that, I’d take Harvey Fierstein over Ricki Lake OR Travolta.)

  22. “Reprise” was totally the wrong word there. Make that “Taking over.” Or “bastardizing.”

  23. They missed a great opportunity IMO by not casting Rikki as Edna.

    ain’t that the truth!

  24. Paul the Spud

    I’ve got nothing but HAMPERS of ironing to do!

    And my diet pill is wearing off.

  25. I’ve the film’s fun. But gay rumors have floated around Travolta for years, as Fritz and Melissa touch on… That would certainly make his statement all the more ironic.

    I’m with Kate, though. I really can’t stand Travolta, other than in a few roles. I think he’s pretty consistently godawful. The problem is, he’s a bigger name/draw than Fierstein or many others, which is why he was cast. Sometimes when it comes to Hollywood casting, I really think it’s a matter of the Emperor’s New Clothes (or Mugato’s rant in Zoolander about “Blue Steel”). Do they really not see how bad that actor is? In some cases, the person isn’t even a box office draw!

  26. Umm, that would be “I’ve heard the film’s fun,” from a friend who saw an advance screening.

  27. Paen

    I think that I would make a better Divine than Travolta even if I didn’t shave my beard and body hair.

  28. "Fair and Balanced" Dave

    Twenty years from now, I hope the only films Travolta is remembered for are Battlefield Earth and Staying Alive

  29. Spud:

    I’ve run into him several times: The Atlantis (the Fudge factory in Pecker) The Drinkery, (we all know what Divine did on the corner next to that bar..) and the Hippo. he’s super nice and always chatty. After the success of the Broadway play, though, I do not see him out as much as I used too. Major bummer.

    I’m certain he has sold his rights to the film and I wonder if he can’t speak out about the way they decided to cast/execute it? Baltimore waters fans were pretty pissed offf about it being filmed in Toronto. You simply cannot recreate Highlandtown in Toronto. Baltimore is, well…it’s own “Charm city” Pardon the pun.

  30. Matt the Bruins fan

    On Ricki Lake, a fat suit would have been permissible (if not ideal). She has the John Waters cred, and has walked a mile in the orthopedic shoes of the plus-sized gal before she lost all that weight. On Travolta, it’s just insulting.

    And may I just offer to Ms. Barbarino (since Battlefield Earth gives a pretty clear indication of the quality of judgement to be expected) that people who want to distance themselves from anything gay would be well advised not to follow in the career footsteps of the world’s most famous drag queen?

  31. Paul the Spud

    HolyFatman, I COMMAND YOU to let him know that his biggest fan(s) blog here! 😉 Seriously, when I was living in NYC, he was the one person I wished I would run into. It seemed like I met every goddamned clebrity in the world, but never met Mr. Waters. But everyone else I knew in NYC had. Argh.

  32. Sister Faith

    I agree with wordhorder….why a remake anyway?

    The original had it all. I have no interest in this new film and even less interest in Travolta….

    He was a cute Italian kid who stole Gabe Kaplin’s show……
    Now he’s just an overweight millionaire with a couple of screws loose.

  33. Liz

    OH, SNAP.

    To echo and add on to both Spudsy and Kate’s statements, I think the original film had a profound impact on anyone who’s ever felt othered, queer, in a different league (if not a different world) from the mainstream in-crowd. Having John Travolta play Edna feels to me like a betrayal.

    *sigh*

  34. eastsidekate

    Molly,NYC: Mr Travolta, what are your criteria for what constitutes a “gay movie”? Also, do you know what a reaction formation is?

    Hypnothetical JT: ‘Reaction formation? Of course I don’t know what that is… why are you suggesting that I would know what that means? How dare you! I mean, uh.. ‘

    Yeah… I’m not a big fan of Freud, but I’d say Molly is spot on.

  35. eastsidekate

    Okokok… I call myself queer, and I’ve never seen Hairspray (we can discuss that later– I hate camp, and musicals). I’d always assumed it had an openly gay character in it. But, uh, I’ve always been under the same impression as Paul, and most people.

    So why the (2nd) post about a movie I haven’t seen? I just realized that my local video store is arbiter of all gay movies– they put little stickers on all the gay ones. Yeah, I know, what’s up with that? When I first moved here, I wasn’t sure whether it was meant as a warning to close-minded folks or an advertisement. Judging from the fact that the flagged movies are always freakin’ checked out (and the clientèle, and staff, and neighborhood), I figure the later. It’s kinda handy– I’ve found some great films that way.

    I’m pretty sure that my local video store concurs with the rest of the known universe, that despite the fact that there isn’t an openly gay character in it, Hairspray is gaygaygaygay– for the exact reasons Paul describes. I’ll have to check on that.

  36. Paul the Spud

    eastsidekate; the original Hairspray isn’t a musical, although it has plenty of music in it.

    It’s camp, but John Waters camp, which is a slightly different animal. It’s hard to describe… but trust me, it’s well worth a viewing.

  37. Pingback: Some Thoughts on Hairspray « Shapely Prose

  38. james in philadelphia

    I’m late to this thread, but better late than never.

    Having Travolta in the role of Edna is just weird. Never liked the guy (Travolta) and have no plans to see the new version of ‘Hair Spray’. I love the original and in my humble opinion is one of the best comedy films ever. Instead of going to watch fireworks tonight, I’m going to get out my DVD of ‘Hair Spray’ and have some laughs.

  39. amish451

    Dudez …best scene Travolta ever played was with Willis, in the crapper …he did dead guy really well … no doubt he was playing to type …

  40. Pingback: Arthur D. Hlavaty

  41. Pingback: John Travolta, you have been convicted of assholery at Pandagon

  42. Pingback: William K. Wolfrum » Blog Archive » Scientology murders two in Australia

  43. Pingback: Scientology murders two in Australia at Shakesville

  44. Pingback: Buffista Movies 5: Development Hell

  45. tight-rope

    I agree w/ whoever said Paul Vogt should have been cast. I saw him on Broadway 2 weeks or so ago and he was am-ah-zing! Awesome performance. He gets the humor AND he has heart. Brilliant choice for the movie… and people still love him from Mad TV. So he’s got a name. Regardless, if you ain’t gonna cast Harvey, do us a favor next time and cast Paul Vogt!

  46. Arkades

    Why are they remaking this in the first place? Why fuck with perfection?

    Especially if you’re gonna have John Freaking Travolta crap all over the role, do a terrible job, and then insult our intelligence by suggesting that we don’t ‘get’ the film if we think it’s a gay film.

    Well, JT, rest assured you ain’t gettin’ any of my gay dollars.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s