Rumours of new John Waters film ‘pure speculation’

In the Maryland city where Waters is considered a cultural icon, his presence is felt even decades after he last released a film set here. There are still flowers and colourful decorations frequently left on the Baltimore grave of Glenn Milstead, known to fans as the legendary drag queen and actor Divine, who played Tracy Turnblad’s mother in Hairspray and a criminal living under the name Babs Johnson in Pink Flamingos. Plastic pink flamingos stuck in resident’s lawns and in their Christmas wreaths feel like signs that Waters’ mark will always remain on the city.

Benn Ray, owner of Waters’ favourite Baltimore bookshop, Atomic Books, where Waters also holds signings, tells BBC Culture that Baltimore residents would be “off the charts” excited if a Liarmouth movie panned out. “This is something everyone in Baltimore has been hoping and rooting for for years,” he said. After the rumour took off, Ray’s partner (“in life and business”) Rachel Whang, told BBC Culture she emailed Waters personally and received confirmation back that a film has not been confirmed.

While Baltimore residents are fond of John Waters, and hoping for a long-awaited return to filmmaking there, Waters loves the city right back. “It’s the most mixed,” he told The Guardian in 2014. “Nobody cares what I do. They know who I am but I can do anything. I can be a voyeur still. I can go out and watch people.” And he does. When Waters is in town he is spotted at local bars, and riding on the city’s light rail – seeming to fully embrace the accepting vibe of the city he helped establish.

Waters didn’t just change Baltimore, though. Nearly 50 years ago, Waters put drag queens in his films. He also took a bold stand against segregation and racism, and featured interracial couples. He set movies in trailer parks and row houses and earned the nickname “the pope of trash” by fellow writer and artist William Burroughs. And while it seemed like for a while, Hollywood wanted to write him off, they couldn’t for long. His movies started earning more than just a cult following, but popularity and even a Hollywood star on the Walk of Fame.

Fans seemingly can’t wait for another film from the eccentric filmmaker – in fact, they want one so badly, they made it up.

If you liked this story, sign up for The Essential List newsletter – a handpicked selection of features, videos and can’t-miss news delivered to your inbox every Friday.

If you would like to comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Culture, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *