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James Marsden Reveals How Julia Roberts Helped Him Get Hairspray Role

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It has been thirteen years since Hairspray hit the cinema screens. However, it is still the favorite film version of the Broadway musical. Recently, James Marsden disclosed how Julia Roberts played an important part in his role for the film.


Originally, Hairspray is an adaptation of John Walter’s 1988 film.

Infamously, it is based on the Broadway musical of 2002. However, the original film was released in 1988. The 2007 version is the most popular and loved film. Directed by Adam Shankman and written by Leslie Dixon, the story revolves around Tracy Turnblad who becomes a famous dancer and performer on a local TV show. She also joins the rallies against racial segregation. At the time of its release, Hairspray came at number 3 at the box-office and became the biggest opening for a film based on Broadway musical. The cast of the film includes James Marsden, John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Nikki Blonsky, Brittany Snow, Queen Latifah, Christopher Walken, and Amanda Bynes.

Recently, James Marsden recalls how Julia Roberts got him the role in Hairspray.

On Thursday, James Marsden appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. During his interview, he talked about his character, Corny Collins, on Hairspray. While the character is iconic, so is the story behind it. James Marsden narrated the story and said:

“That role came about—I was sitting down with Adam Shankman, the director, and producers, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron at the time in an empty restaurant off-Broadway in New York City and we were just talking about, you know, the potential of me playing Corny Collins. And in the middle of the interview—it was an interview because I was trying to get the job—I had a tap on my shoulder and it was Julia Roberts.”

James Marsden continued:

“And she was standing there and she said, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt. But, I just wanted to tell you that you’re in my favorite movie, The Notebook, and I love what you do in the film. And congratulations on it. Nice to meet you.'”

Furthermore, he said:

“And then Adam Shankman turns to me and he goes, ‘If you didn’t have the job already, I think that sort of seals it,’. So, I have Julia Roberts to thank for that. She was the one who cemented me getting cast in that role.”

In short, Julia Roberts became his guardian angel and scored him an essential role of Marsden’s career.

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