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A hair-raising high school musical

Amanda Bynes, left, and Nikki Blonsky play Baltimore teens in the movie musical

Amanda Bynes, left, and Nikki Blonsky play Baltimore teens in the movie musical “Hairspray.”

Meet Tracy Turnblad. She’s the curvy teenage heroine in the movie musical remake of “Hairspray,” set in Baltimore in the early 1960s. Tracy, played by newcomer Nikki Blonsky, has big hair, a big heart and even bigger dreams. All she wants is a spot on “The Corny Collins Show,” a television dance program. But her round figure has always made her an outsider.

This doesn’t stop Tracy, however. Her dance skills not only land her on Corny’s show, they also win the attention of the show’s heartthrob, Link Larkin (“High School Musical” star Zac Efron). Will the plucky teen be able to convince her mom and the rest of Baltimore to find beauty beyond physical appearances? With help from best friend Penny (Amanda Bynes) and new pal Seaweed (Elijah Kelley), anything’s possible!

“Hairspray” is based on a 1988 film and a Tony Award-winning Broadway show. Time For Kids spoke with Blonsky, Efron, Bynes and Kelley about the film.

TFK: Nikki, what was it like playing Tracy?

Zac Efron stars as Link Larkin.

Zac Efron stars as Link Larkin.

NIKKI:Well, I was a 17-yearold girl with a big dream, and that’s exactly who Tracy is. She loves her body, and she loves her life. She just loves love, you know? She doesn’t see any reason to hate anything. That’s pretty much how I am. I was told I was beautiful every day by my parents. At the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is that I make my parents proud.

TFK: Can you all talk about your own characters and their relationships with Tracy?

ZAC: It’s really great (playing Link in) the movie because in real life, I’ve always tended to be that guy who goes for the Tracys. I’m really proud to play a character that shows it’s not always about being that tall, perfect blonde girl. It’s about character and about having fun, and it’s about hobbies and about your personality. I’m very proud to fall in love with Tracy.

AMANDA: I feel I lucked out because my character, Penny, doesn’t see weight or color. It’s good for anyone who sees this movie, young or old, to see that my character is accepting.

TFK: And Elijah, your character Seaweed accepts Tracy because …

ELIJAH: Because she’s cool! Where I come from, in and out of the movie, you don’t (hang out) with people because of their popularity. Tracy’s just a cool girl that can dance, you know?

TFK: Do you feel there’s pressure in Hollywood to be a certain way?

NIKKI: There’s a big stereotype in Hollywood to look a certain way and to be a certain way. What I’m so excited about is hopefully knocking that stereotype out of the park and showing kids out there that difference is OK, that uniqueness is beautiful. Be who you are and be proud of it, and follow your dreams. – Vickie An

© 2007 Time Inc. All Rights Reserved. TIME FOR KIDS and Timeforkids.com are registered trademarks of Time Inc.

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