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Hairspray - Zac Efron and Elijah Kelley interview

Zac Efron in Hairspray

Interview by Rob Carnevale

HIGH School Musical star Zac Efron and Elijah Kelley talk about stepping up to the challenges of the latest Hairspray revival and how fondly they recall the original…

Q. Do you think in 30 years’ time you’ll have the guts to put on a fat suit and emulate John Travolta by playing a woman?
Zac Efron: My fat suit has already been made!
Elijah Kelley: If I had an airport at the back of my house, then… [laughs]

Q. What was the first read through like in the company of people like Michelle Pfeiffer, John Travolta and Queen Latifah?
Zac Efron: The way we did the read through was like a sing and dance read through, kind of like rehearsing for a Broadway show. In between the scenes where the songs would come it, we’d actually stand up from the table and go to the room behind us and do all the songs.

Q. How familiar were you with the previous material? And did you have to brush up on it?
Zac Efron: I was familiar with the original movie but I’m more familiar with the Broadway show. I revisited them both after I found out I got the role.
Elijah Kelley: I saw the original when I was a lot younger, like 14 or 15. I didn’t actually revisit when I found out I got the part because I was already familiar with it and I just wanted to add to that foundation. The Broadway show actually came to LA, so after getting the part I went and saw it.

Q. How did the rehearsal and shooting time for this compare to High School Musical?
Zac Efron: I think we shot and rehearsed everything for High School Musical in less time than in took to rehearse for this movie. It was a lot different. I think we had four days of rehearsal for High School Musical. But this was so much preparation, so that by the time we actually got to doing the numbers, dancing and singing it almost went too quickly. It was months and months of dancing so hard, and getting so passionate about it, that we’d do it in something like three takes and movie on. It was crazy.

Q. How did you find the preparation, Elijah?
Elijah Kelley: It was like a performing arts summer camp. We rehearsed and sang and recorded the songs for two months before we even saw a camera. We had us prepared well beyond what we’d eventually need.

Read our interviews with producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan