NEW YORK — John Travolta can indulge his Haagen-Dazs habit all he wants.
Sources close to “Hairspray” report that the actor has the inside track to star as the zaftig Edna Turnblad in the movie version of the Broadway tuner. Harvey Fierstein created the stage role of the Baltimore laundress-housewife, played by Divine in the 1988 John Waters movie.
Fueling the Travolta report is news that screenwriter Leslie Dixon, who co-penned Travolta’s 1993 “Look Who’s Talking Now,” has replaced Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan on the film project. The writing duo penned the book for the musical.
Not all of Edna Turnblad’s bon mots, however, came from O’Donnell and Meehan. Fierstein wrote zingers that include “If you want to be famous, learn how to get blood out of car upholstery!”; he reportedly receives points but not written credit for his Edna lines. He is author of the Broadway shows “Torch Song Trilogy” and “La Cage aux Folles,” among others.
Whether Dixon retains the thesp-scribe’s contributions is an open question. Her previous crossdressing epic was “Mrs. Doubtfire” with Robin Williams.
New Line did not confirm the Travolta choice, and it is unlikely that any casting will be firmed up before Dixon finishes polishing her script. She has already turned in a first draft.
“We’re exploring everything, and all our opportunities are open,” said Neil Meron, who is producing the “Hairspray” film with Craig Zadan. “The best people (will) get the job.”
“Hairspray” is expected but not confirmed to go before the cameras in September.
Fierstein recently extended his current Broadway run in “Fiddler on the Roof” through August.