There just aren't as many successful musicals as there are movies, which means that often, a musical that achieved some degree of success is revamped for a few different versions. That's exactly what happened with Hairspray. It was initially released in 1988 as a comedy musical movie, and it proved so successful that it was turned into a touring live musical. Then, in 2007, the studio decided to revamp it once more into a new, updated movie.
Hairspray is obviously known for the catchy songs that are woven throughout it, but many people also love the story just because underdog Tracy Turnblad is so fun to watch. I mean, there's a reason that many people assumed Nikki Blonsky, who portrayed her in the 2007 version, was going to be the next big thing in Hollywood — she was amazing in the movie!
Hairspray also had the fortune of having tons of huge A-List names on board — perhaps they just liked the idea of having a bit of fun in a musical with zany costumes rather than taking on another one of the serious dramas they were frequently filming.
If you've ever wondered what happened to your Hairspray favorites, look no further — here's what the whole cast is up to now.
15 The Star Nikki Blonsky, Who Played Tracy Turnblad
Nikki Blonsky managed to snag the coveted role of Tracy Turnblad in the movie at just 19, and everyone assumed she'd become a big superstar. After all, she could act, she could sing, she was super talented! She appeared in a few projects after the movie wrapped, but it seems that the Hollywood hustle and bustle just wasn't for her. She earned her cosmetology license in around 2011 and started working in her hometown of Great Neck as a hairstylist. She's not even 30 yet, so we don't want to discount her jumping back into acting again, but it seems that she's settled down and is enjoying just living a normal life — hey, Hollywood is definitely not for anyone, and she should definitely be doing whatever makes her happy! Although we do hope she opens her own salon someday called Hairspray.
14 The Unconventional John Travolta, Who Played Edna Turnblad
If you didn't know who played Edna in the movie, chances are you would never guess it was John Travolta — they certainly did a pretty big transformation on him! Travolta was tearing up Hollywood far before Hairspray was cast, appearing in huge successes like Saturday Night Fever, Grease, and Pulp Fiction. His popularity dwindled a bit in the '00s and later, but he's still a recognizable name — although not always for good reasons (who could ever forget the silly Idina Menzel blunder?). He's also well known for being a member of the church of Scientology and has been the subject of several scandals related to that. He's been active in the entertainment industry since 1972 and shows no signs of slowing down, so you'll probably be seeing him in a few more cheesy action movies in the years to come.
13 The Gorgeous Michelle Pfeiffer, Who Played Velma Von Tussle
Michelle Pfeiffer is one of those actresses who is aging insanely gracefully. She hasn't tried to change her face with a ton of plastic surgery and is instead just allowing time to do what it will. She obviously takes good care of herself, and her flawless bone structure definitely helps, but she's not trying to fight mother nature. Pfeiffer first made a huge splash when she appeared in Scarface and went on to have a thriving movie career in a variety of films, both comedies, and serious dramas. She recently took on her first television role in over twenty years, in the miniseries The Wizard of Lies, but seems to primarily be focusing on movies because, well, that's what she does best. We can't wait to see what character she takes on next.
12 Legendary Actor Christopher Walken, Who Played Wilbur Turnblad
Christopher Walken is a bit of an enigma. He's tackled a variety of serious, meaty roles over the years, but also has a few quirkier, comedic roles under his belt — it's always a surprise to see what kind of project he'll tackle next. It also helps that he has a super distinctive voice that adds a certain quality to both dramatic and comedic roles. Walken is 74 years old, but he doesn't seem to even be thinking about retiring. Since Hairspray, he's tackled a Broadway musical, for which he received a Tony nomination, movies, a few small television roles, and even lent his voice to various characters including for a live-action remake of The Jungle Book — oh, and he's hosted Saturday Night Live about a thousand times. There's no doubt that he's majorly talented, and there's no telling what kind of role he'll choose to tackle next.
11 Amanda Bynes, The Troubled Actress Who Played Penny Pingleton
Ah, Amanda Bynes. Unless you've been ignoring pop culture for the past decade, chances are you know exactly what's been happening to the once major starlet. She was a child comedy star on Nickelodeon who managed to leverage that into a successful career in teen flicks and on teen shows and continued to do so for a few years after her Hairspray role. However, some personal demons began to surface in around 2010, and she went on a hiatus as she tried to sort out her own health issues. In the past year or so, though, she's been showing some major signs of improvement — she's been pursuing her interests in fashion, but she also announced she would be looking to return to acting, and we can't wait to see what a new, healthy Amanda takes on.
10 James Marsden, The Hunk Who Played Corny Collins
James Marsden is one of those actors who has been acting steadily for years but has one of those faces where you just can't recall the name most of the time. He's 'that guy.' While many models turned actors with chiseled good looks stick to the roles of playing a modern day prince charming, Marsden has mixed it up over the years. In the years directly following Hairspray, he stuck to the safer, big box office roles in flicks like Enchanted and 27 Dresses. However, in the past few years, he's also added a few indie dramas to his plate, and also appears on the critically acclaimed television show Westworld. He's appeared in such a diverse variety of films that we just can't wait to see what he's got next.
9 The Sassy Queen Latifah, Who Played Motormouth Maybelle
As most people know, Queen Latifah got her start in the entertainment industry as a rapper and had a great deal of success in that field. She started to transition into the acting world in the late '90s and has been appearing in projects ever since. She was most recently in the hit comedy Girls Trip, and also received a ton of praise for her portrayal of the legendary blues singer Bessie Smith in the HBO flick Bessie. Her musical ability gives her a bit of an edge in Hollywood because she's more than willing to tackle roles that require singing — and she's been doing amazing. She appeared in the NBC musical The Wiz Live!, so who knows — perhaps she has her sights set on Broadway next!
8 Brittany Snow, Who Played Amber Von Tussle Before Moving To The Acapella Musical World
Chances are, if you didn't know who Brittany Snow was from her pre-Hairspray projects like the retro television show American Dreams or the teen flick John Tucker Must Die, you know who she is now thanks to Pitch Perfect. Snow has been working consistently in Hollywood since her childhood, but it's with the Pitch Perfect franchise that her career truly blew up. Lately, she's been exploring things from the other side of the camera and is working on producing an indie feature film. She's obviously proven that she can handle a blockbuster film, so we'd really love to see her exploring the indie side of things a bit more in the years to come — or, at the very least, taking on more roles that allow her to show off her pipes!
7 A Young Zac Efron, Who Played Link Larkin
Zac Efron was likely in the casting director's mind when it came to casting Hairspray because he was in the middle of his High School Musical years, showing off his vocals as a basketball player in a Disney high school. Since then, he's stepped away from his singing roles, and instead opted to capitalize on his leading man good looks to take on a variety of film roles. He's appeared in everything from romances to comedies to action flicks, including Dirty Grandpa, The Lucky One, Neighbors, and Baywatch. He recently warmed up his vocal cords for a role for the first time in a while, playing Philip in the musical film The Greatest Showman. He just continues to get bigger and bigger — he's a legit A-Lister now!
6 Elijah Kelley, Who Played Seaweed
Elijah Kelley was yet another of the Hairspray cast who was right around 20 when he filmed the movie, which means he was really just at the beginning of his career. In the decade since then, he's appeared in the movies The Butler and Boys of Abu Ghraib, sang his heart out in The Wiz Live! (alongside former Hairspray co-star Queen Latifah), and appeared in The New Edition Story, a miniseries on BET. He may not have a huge list of credits under his belt yet, but the man is only 31 years old — there are actors who don't even get a single role before they turn 30! Given that he can sing, dance, and act, we have a feeling it's just a matter of time before he finds the perfect role that catapults him to superstardom.
5 Award-Winning Allison Janney, Who Played Prudy Pingleton
Okay, unless you've been living under a rock for the past decade, you have to know what Allison Janney's been up to — she's absolutely lighting Hollywood on fire! I mean, the number of awards she's been either nominated for or won is absolutely astounding. She was in Hollywood for a bit over a decade before appearing in the musical comedy, and since then, has tackled a ton of roles, both meaty and comedic. She appeared in The Girl On The Train, The Help, Liberal Arts, and the recent smash hit I, Tonya. And, as if that wasn't enough, she's been balancing her successful film career with a successful television career — she's been on all five seasons of Mom alongside co-star Anna Faris. I mean honestly, is there anything this woman can't do?
4 Veteran Actor Jerry Stiller, Who Played Mr. Pinky
Okay, are you ready for this one — first of all, Jerry Stiller is 90 freaking years old, so safe to say, he's had an insane career. He's been in the industry since the '50s, getting his start on television, detouring to the comedy circuit for a while, and also nurturing a thriving film career. There honestly wouldn't be enough time in the world to go into the variety of credits he has under his belt — he definitely set a pretty example for his son Ben Stiller, who must have felt a little nervous trying to make it in Hollywood when his father cast such a legendary shadow. And, despite the fact that he's 90 and could easily just be spending time in warm weather locations, relaxing in the sun, he's still working consistently.
3 The Young Taylor Parks, Who Played Little Inez
Taylor Parks — or, as she's also known on stage, Tayla Parx — has certainly gotten a whole lot cooler since her Hairspray days. Well, it also doesn't help that she's now a gorgeous woman in her 20s and not a teenage girl! She's been balancing an acting career and music career flawlessly over the years, appearing in one episode storylines on various shows and contributing to songs from some of the biggest artists in the game. The talented songstress has written with superstars like Demi Lovato, Usher, Rihanna, Meghan Trainor and more — and she's still only in her mid-20s! She doesn't seem to be too focused on her acting career, but in all honesty, given how she's killing it in the music game, we'd keep our eye on that prize as well!
2 Talk Show Legend Ricki Lake, Who Played The Talent Agent
We have to imagine it must have been a totally bizarre experience for Ricki Lake to step onto the set of the 2007 version of Hairspray. After all, she played the role of Tracy Turnblad in the original 1988 film version — how crazy would it be to revisit a story you knew so well, nearly 20 years later? Lake still remains best known for her successful talk show, which ran from 1993 to 2004, but that doesn't mean she's disappeared from the entertainment industry since 2007. She's hosted a variety of shows, been involved behind the scenes producing and working with directors on various documentaries, and more. She probably won't come back to television screens as a talk show host — she tried to reboot her show in 2012, and it wasn't successful — but we have a feeling you'll be hearing a lot more from her soon.
1 The Battle Of The Tracys — Original vs. Revamped Movie Versions
It's crazy to think about just how many similarities there are between Ricki Lake and Nikki Blonsky. First of all, they both were born and raised in the upstate New York area. Second, they both snagged the coveted role of Tracy Turnblad without much prior experience, when they were right around 20 years old. They're also both multi-talented women who weren't content to pursue solely acting careers — they dabbled in a variety of projects, from cosmetology to hosting, because they just knew they wanted to find something they were passionate about. We're not sure what both of these talented ladies will decide to do in the future, but we have to admit — we'd absolutely love to see the two Tracys come together for a bit of a song and dance show at some point.