Drag Not Really a Drag for Travolta in Hairspray
Going further than his most recent chat with W magazine, John Travolta gave an interview with the Daily Mail in which he noted how horrible it was that rumors about his sexuality resurfaced last August. It was then that the National Enquirer published photos of the actor kissing another man on the tarmac.
Said Travolta: "You have to be ready to battle the worst insults, the worst innuendos. People say things that hurt. I think: 'Wow, so because I have money or fame, I don't have problems? I don't have feelings?' OK, I'll try not to take offence at that."
Yeah, it's horrible to be thought of as gay. Though Hairspray's director Adam Shankman, or producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, or executive producer John Waters would likely have a difference of opinion.
Curiously, enough, Travolta said just the opposite about the rumors to W: "I don't think anyone can hurt me."
At the time, Travolta's publicist called the kiss (with his male nanny) a "customary, non-romantic gesture."
Travolta also goes further into the creation of his Edna Turnblad role:
"I wanted [Edna] to look like Sophia Loren if you added 200lb. I wanted her to be a sexy bombshell who was fun to look at. "Being Edna was fun, but becoming Edna was not fun. I loved the effect the look had on people when they would see me on set as Edna, but I did not love the process involving the prosthetics and the fat suit. It was very hot. I knew from Robin [Williams, who starred in Mrs Doubtfire] and Martin Lawrence [from Big Momma's House] that it was hell on wheels! It was like wearing seven layers of very uncomfortable clothing and I remember thinking I would never want to be a woman if that was the case. I know my mother had a girdle, bra and sometimes a cinch, but, wow! How do they endure stockings and high heels? The discomfort level was astonishing, but losing the suit was like coming out of a prison. I didn't want to do a drag joke. I wanted to do Edna like the great musical stars, so people could have the joy of me really being someone else. They were determined to make her like a refrigerator and I said: 'That's not going to work, I won't do it.' I took a personal interest in designing that lady so she had a figure. I said: "Give me a little waist. Give me big breasts and a big butt. I want her to look like a woman. Imagine Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Anita Ekberg - that's what I want.' And I won that [battle]. They kept bringing me these skinny high heels but when I was growing up, I saw girls in the chorus with a thicker-heeled shoe, more like a dance shoe, and when they finally found it, I said: 'Make it in many colours. The polka dot dress, because it reminded me of images I have in my mind of the Fifties and of people like Sophia and Anita. And of course, we had to get the right wig, too, which was a hoot."
And what seems to be the most exciting part for Travolta:
"It must have worked since guys from the crew were hitting on me. I was so flirted with and so groped! I was convinced I was a slut because I was like: 'Go ahead - touch me! I don't care!' But as soon as I took it all off, there was a real coolness, like: 'Oh well, it's just him. I liked the other person more.'"
We probably will too.
More on this topic from Michelangelo Signorile...
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