John Waters to make first film in 20 years with Aubrey Plaza set to star

<span>Back to Baltimore … John Waters.</span><span>Photograph: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Academy Museum of Motion Pictures</span>
Back to Baltimore … John Waters.Photograph: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

Hairspray director John Waters is about to start production on his first feature film for 20 years, with Aubrey Plaza as the lead, it has been reported.

According to World of Reel, Emily the Criminal and The White Lotus star Plaza is confirmed for Liarmouth, Waters’ adaptation of his own 2022 novel. Shooting is set to begin later this year in Baltimore, Maryland, Waters’ home city, and perennial location for his films.

Subtitled “A Feel-Bad Romance” and described by its publishers as a “hilariously filthy tale of sex, crime, and family dysfunction”, Liarmouth centres on a scammer and compulsive liar called Marsha Sprinkle who splits from her partner Daryl and steals from both her daughter and her mother. The project was first announced in 2022 but appears to have been delayed by the writers’ and actors’ strikes.

Waters’ last film as director was the poorly received 2004 release A Dirty Shame, starring Tracey Ullman, Johnny Knoxville and Selma Blair. A subsequent project, a children’s Christmas film called Fruitcake, was abandoned in 2009 after it lost its financing, but Waters’ profile was buoyed by a successful Broadway adaptation of Hairspray, his teen rock’n’roll musical released in 1988. A film version of the stage musical, starring John Travolta and Michelle Pfeiffer, was released in 2007.

Waters made his name on the “midnight movie” circuit in the 1970s with outrageously transgressive films such as Pink Flamingos and Polyester, made with a regular cast of collaborators including Divine, Mink Stole and Cookie Mueller, before moving into the mainstream with Hairspray, Cry-Baby (starring Johnny Depp) and Serial Mom.