Over at Hollywood Elsewhere (a frequent site of heated debates on issues like homosexuality and fatness versus thin-ness) Jeff Wells really pushed some buttons with a post about this New York Times piece on Hairspray star Nikki Blonsky by Monica Corcoran (note: login with a free account required to read it) in which Ms. Corcoran makes observations like, "To see Ms. Blonsky caper through "Hairspray," the musical adaptation of the John Waters camp classic, is to watch a Botero come to life as she wiggles her broad backside and flaps her ample arms." and "When plates of ribs and roast chicken arrived, she dug in with gusto." Golly gee, with those ample arms flapping in the breeze, however did she manage to even hold onto that plate of ribs, much less sign autographs for fans?

Wells doesn't actually weigh in (yeah, pun intended) with an opinion on Blonsky's proportions, but boy, oh, boy do his commenters get into it. This isn't the first time Wells and his readers have gotten into it on the issue of weight, but I find it interesting nonetheless that people are going after Blonsky for her weight (and I love all the concern about the poor girl's health) -- after all, the role of Tracy Turnblad calls for a "fat girl" -- that's kind of the whole point of the story, right? I mean, seriously ... imagine, if you will, if Adam Shankman had cast uber-skinny Keira Knightley as Tracy, and stuck her in a fat suit like they did with John Travolta in the film. Plenty of people are peeved also at the casting of Travolta in a fat suit instead of a real woman of larger proportions playing that role, by the by, even if the casting is a sort of homage to Harvey Fierstein and Divine.

I've not seen Hairspray yet, but by all the accounts I've read of the film, Blonsky's performance is pretty darn good -- how about discussing how she compares to Ricki Lake, or to any of the actresses who played Tracy on stage? Here's what I predict: Within a couple years, Blonsky's agent and PR people are going to convince her that she has to lose weight in order to continue having a career (after all, there are only so many roles for fat girls out there, right?) and we'll see a miraculous transformation ala Ricki Lake -- I can see the tabloid headlines now: "Former Fatty Nikki Blonsky: How I Stopped Eating Ribs With Gusto and Shed 50 Pounds!" Then she can start hanging out with Paris Hilton, get drunk at nightclubs, flash her crotch getting out of limos, and end up in rehab. Maybe then people will talk about her talent, and not her weight.
CATEGORIES Cinematical