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Hollywood needs a new Tracy

sun reporter

Wanted: Overweight girl with a pretty face, infectious grin and indomitable spirit. Must be a "triple threat" talent - singer/dancer/actress with a powerful Broadway-caliber singing voice.

Wait, we know this girl!

She's Tracy Turnblad, and a nationwide casting search is under way for an actress to play her in another movie version of Hairspray. The role is one of three principal parts that will be cast in open auditions starting next week, producers announced yesterday.

One thing, though. The Baltimore-based movie apparently will not include Baltimore-based open casting calls for this adaptation of the Broadway musical. Nor is there any word on whether any of the film actually will be shot in Baltimore.

The casting search begins Feb. 4 on the campus of Georgia State University in Atlanta. Casting agents will also hold an open call in New York on Feb. 11 (Hilton Theatre Rehearsal Studios) and Feb. 18 at the Chicago Academy of Arts. (Oscar-winner Chicago was produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who are producing the Hairspray movie.)

Along with the starring role of Tracy Turnblad, producers also are filling the roles of Seaweed (Charming, African American, handsome, excellent singer and dancer. Dynamic) and Little Inez, Seaweed's younger sister (Smart, African American, strong and the kind of girl who stands up for herself). Press reports have mentioned John Travolta for the role of Edna Turnblad, the Broadway role Harvey Fierstein popularized and Divine before him in John Waters' 1988 movie Hairspray, which started the whole thing.

Produced by New Line Cinema, Hairspray might also star Billy Crystal as Tracy's dad, Wilbur; Queen Latifah as Motormouth Maybelle; and Meryl Streep as the television producer, according to The Hollywood Reporter last September. The movie's release is expected for summer 2007.

For more details on the audition and for actors wanting to apply online, contact

In describing Tracy Turnblad, the Web site mirrors yesterday's announcement - except for one little adjective. The press release mentioned casting for an overweight girl. The Web site says extremely overweight.

A minor detail, of course.

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