Legendary filmmaker John Waters is stepping back to the director’s chair for the first time in 18 years, for an adaptation of his 2022 novel “Liarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance.” Waters — a pioneering independent filmmaker who catapulted to cinema infamy with bad taste masterpieces like 1972’s “Pink Flamingos” and 1981’s “Polyester” — will write and direct the project for Village Roadshow, with Steve Rabineau producing. It will be Waters’ first movie since 2004’s “A Dirty Shame.”
“‘Liarmouth’ is the craziest thing I’ve written in a while so maybe it’s fitting that my novel was shocking enough to jumpstart the engine of my film career,” the 76-year-old filmmaker said in a statement. “Thrilled to be back in the movie business, hopefully to spread demented joy to adventuresome moviegoers around the world.”
The novel follows three generations of women in the same family: Adora, who runs an unauthorized veterinarian practice on the Upper East Side of Manhattan that specializes in plastic surgery for pets; Adora’s daughter Marsha, a pathological thief and misanthrope who is the “liarmouth” of the title; and Marsha’s daughter Poppy, who runs a trampoline park on the outskirts of Baltimore. Eventually, they all conspire to kill each other.
“Liarmouth” is, somehow, Waters’ debut novel. In the 1980s and ’90s, he shifted from the gleeful fringe of subversive cult cinema into a kind of mainstream avatar for his own queer, campy sensibility, especially after his 1988 film “Hairspray” was adapted into a Tony-winning Broadway hit musical in 2002, and then re-adapted into a 2007 feature film. But after “A Dirty Shame,” Waters stepped away from filmmaking, publishing a series of non-fiction books, touring with spoken word performances, and appearing in a series of cameos in other film and TV projects.
The deal for “Liarmouth” was handled by Jack Tantleff at Paradigm, on behalf of Bill Clegg at The Clegg Agency and Waters’ lawyer Jason P. Hendler at Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller & Gellman, L.L.P.
Deadline first reported the news.