What with Mamma, Mia! hoovering up cash like there’s no tomorrow (even keeping adorable little Wall-E off the top of the UK box office, the meanie) and the High School Musical franchise boldly going where only cinema releases have gone before, it should not be any surprise that New Line want to sequelise their delightful 2007 hit Hairspray. But somehow, it still comes as a shock.

The original was about chubby teen Tracy Turnblad and her bid to become a featured dancer on a TV show in 60s Baltimore – and incidentally, to desegregate TV while she’s about it. The 2007 film was a musical based on the 2002 Broadway show, based in turn on the 1988 John Waters film (still following?), which starred Ricki Lake before she hosted a chat show and Divine. The 2007 film grossed more than $200 million worldwide, and the show is still going strong, hence the scramble for a sequel.

This new film will be based on a treatment that Waters is writing, which will then be music-ified by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who wrote the 2002 musical, with a screenwriter to be confirmed. And they’re planning a 2010 release, which in film terms means that they’re going to have to get their skates on (NOTE: I don’t mean that literally. Please don’t do a version on rollerskates.)

What’s more, none of the star-studded cast of the film have signed on for a sequel (what with no-one having thought there was any chance of that, I imagine) so negotiations would need to start soon if John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Queen Latifah, James Marsden, Zac Efron, Amanda Bynes, Allison Janney, Elijah Kelley and star Nikki Blonsky are all to be reunited.

Frankly, i’m a big fan of the 2007 musical – yes, even with the scariness of John Travolta in a dress taken into account – but remain to be convinced that this can ever be more than a cash-in. Fingers crossed, eh?

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