In the 28 years since, writer-director John Waters’ breakthrough film “Hairspray” hit the big screen, it has morphed into an industry all its own, spawning a musical remake in 2007 and now the NBC live show.
“I’m happy about it,” Waters told News4 in the reading room of his Baltimore home. “I’ve been paid to do three sequels that never happened. Keep them coming. I’ll keep writing them.”
While Waters is thrilled about the live TV production, he said he had little to do with it.
“Well, my role in it is really less and less sometimes as it goes along,” he said. “I’ve certainly met the people. I met the new Tracy when she was in Baltimore.”
Waters is currently touring the country with his annual one-man Christmas show, so he had to turn down “Hairspray Live.”
They asked me to be in it, but I’m on stage that night in Boulder, so I can’t even watch it,” he said. “I have to watch it On Demand the next morning in an airport or something.”
Waters said he’s surprised how much interest there’s been over the years in remaking “Hairspray.”
“I want ‘Hairspray in Space,’” he said. “I made a joke once that I wanted to do ‘Hairspray on Ice,’ and the next day real producers called and said, ‘We’ll do it.’”
A TV series is a possibility, Waters said.
“I was paid to do a TV series and a special HBO event,” he said. “It didn’t happen. It went into turnaround. But maybe if this is a hit it will happen. You never know.”
Or maybe an adult version.
“I want an all nude ‘Hairspray,’” he said. “That’ll be the final version.”
Waters one man Christmas show comes to the Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia, Dec. 20.
“I give advice to everybody,” he said. “How to get the cheapest presents you can make that are scary, that will make your relatives laugh. Like, you just find the ugliest picture of your relatives and you put them on Christmas poles and give them as gifts.”
“I talk about criminals,” he added. “I talk about Christmas in jail. I talk about how you can deal with people who give you gift cards, which I think is not a good idea unless it’s to a porn site or something. Really, I think that like gift baskets are bad ideas, like a fruit basket. I can buy a pear.”
Waters knows coming from Baltimore to do a show in D.C. has its challenges.
“Everybody in Washington thinks Baltimore’s hillbillies and everybody in Baltimore thinks Washington’s square, and they’re both right,” he said.
As for the recent presidential election, Waters was a Hillary Clinton supporter, but he said he can’t stand liberals that said they’d leave the country if Donald Trump won.
“Well, go ahead,” he said. “No one cares.”