October is only three months away, and we can’t help but shiver with antici… pation as the long-rumored “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” re-imagining will air just in time for Halloween on FOX.
Directed by Kenny Ortega, the television film stars “Orange is the New Black’s” Laverne Cox in the iconic role of transvestite (“from Transsexual, Transylvania”) mad scientist and sexual psychopath Dr. Frank-N-Furter.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last 41 years, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is perhaps one of the biggest cult classic films in the world. With a score by Richard O’Brien, the story centers on newly-engaged sweethearts Brad Majors and Janet Weiss.
After getting stuck with a flat tire on a stormy night, they stumble upon the mansion of Frank-N-Furter. Throughout the evening, they encounter a variety of eccentric characters, lose their sexual innocence, and meet Frank’s new Adonis creation — Rocky.
Unlike FOX’s game-changing “Grease Live!” broadcast, “Rocky Horror” foregoes a live taping in favor of a traditional pre-filming. The event brings together a cast of talented music, Broadway, film, and television artists. Joining Cox is Tony Award winner Ben Vereen as Dr. Everett Scott, Frank’s German paraplegic rival. Christina Milian, recently in the FOX show “Grandfathered,” will play Magenta.
The cast will also include Victoria Justice (“Victorious”) as “Janet”, Ryan McCartan (Heathers the Musical) as “Brad”, Reeve Carney (Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark, “Penny Dreadful”) as “Riff-Raff”, Annaleigh Ashford (Wicked, Kinky Boots, You Can’t Take it With You) as “Columbia”, and Adam Lambert (“American Idol,” “Glee”) as “Eddie”. “Game of Thrones” actor Staz Nair will portray the titular monster Rocky Horror. And we won’t mind seeing him rock the golden bikini.
Prolific actor Tim Curry starred in both the 1975 film and the original 1973 stage musical, The Rocky Horror Show, as “Frank”. He’ll make a special cameo appearance in this new adaptation as the Criminologist, also the narrator.
This throwback to early sci-fi films has gone on to spark multiple international stage adaptations, parodies, and is still screened in theaters today as part of a “midnight showing.” Fans dress up as the characters, sing, and dance, and call back to the screen, while “shadowcasts” act out the movie in front. Those new to the Rocky Horror experience — “virgins” — go through an initiation (almost like Brad and Janet in the film).
The new version has, of course, already faced massive amounts of criticism from diehard fans, which is understandable. Why even attempt to remake a classic, still a living, breathing, successful monster that was shocking and progressive way before its time?
Many worry that this version is a little too PC (or on the other end, offensive) in the casting of trans actress Cox as a transvestite traditionally played by a male, who gets his kicks dressing up in heels and fishnets. While the original spent over 40 years subverting flexible gender, sex, and sexuality, this reboot falls into the danger of exploiting it.
And how well does Laverne Cox actually sing?
Regardless, we’ll be glued to our TVs come October, if only to see living legends Tim Curry return to the screen, and Ben Vereen pull off a thick, German accent.
And in case you needed a refresher on how to do the Time Warp:
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