Travolta To Turn Transvestite for 'Hairspray'

He's played a teenage disco prince, a high-school gang leader and a mob hit man - and now John Travolta is going to stretch as an actor, playing a woman in the upcoming film adaptation of the Broadway musical "Hairspray."

Travolta, 52, has been cast as Edna Turnblad, the mother of a teenage aspiring dancer, in the feature-film adaptation of the hit musical, which was based on the 1988 cult movie of the same name, distributor New Line Cinema said.

In the original movie, by director John Waters, Edna was played by the late transvestite performer Divine. Harvey Fierstein won a Tony Award for the role on Broadway.

New Line also announced that Queen Latifah, who earned an Oscar nomination for her performance in the 2002 movie musical "Chicago," would play the character Motormouth Maybelle in the new "Hairspray" film.

Production on the film is set to begin this fall for a potential summer 2007 release, according to New Line, a unit of Time Warner Inc .

The project reunites Latifah, 35, with the producers behind "Chicago," Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, as well as with director Adam Shankman, who worked with her on "Bringing Down the House."