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Last Updated: Friday, 3 March 2006, 17:10 GMT
Travolta 'set for Hairspray lead'
John Travolta
John Travolta recently appeared at the San Remo music festival in Italy
Actor John Travolta is to play the lead female role in the new film version of Hairspray, according to reports.

The 52-year-old will play dowdy housewife Edna Turnblad in the movie, says Hollywood newspaper Daily Variety.

Hairspray, which has become an award-winning Broadway stage musical, was first made into a film in 1988.

It starred actress turned talk show host Ricki Lake, while Edna Turnblad was played by transvestite performer Divine, who died the same year.

First choice

Lake's role of Tracy Turnblad has yet to be cast.

Variety also reported that Oscar-nominated actress Queen Latifah has signed up to play civil rights activist Motormouth Maybelle.

The paper added that a film version if 1980s soap Dallas will have to be pushed back, as Travolta, who is said to be keen to play the role of JR Ewing, will be shooting Hairspray in the autumn.

Michael Lynne, the co-chairman of New Line Cinema who are making Hairspray, told Variety that Travolta, famed for his role in Grease, was his first choice for the role of Edna Turnblad.

"Bringing Travolta back into a musical after 30 years is so gratifying," he added.

The film is due for release in summer 2007.

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