Time Warp: Fox brings back "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"

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11 October 2016

FOX, October 20, 8:00 PM ET

By Kellie Freeze

When FOX presents the musical The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again on Thursday, it’ll be an eye-popping homage to the 1975 cult classic that offers nods to the original while reimagining the iconic film with a fresh twist. And one of the film’s biggest treats is the appearance of Tim Curry, who originated the starring role of Transylvanian transvestite Dr. Frank-N-Furter.

“I actually offered myself as Dr. Scott because I was already in a wheelchair,” the actor jokes. He suffered a debilitating stroke in 2013, but was eager to participate in the project and says, “They thought the narrator was a better fit, and I enjoyed it a lot.”

Lou Adler, executive producer of both the 1975 original and this reboot, knew casting the film’s lead role would be a challenge, but found actress Laverne Cox to be an ideal — and original — choice. “We put out a call for actors that could sing, dance, move. And in a way, Laverne was perfect because we thought — which was difficult — ‘We have found someone that will not be compared to Tim Curry,’ because you lose if you’re comparing to Tim Curry.”

Cox reveals that she’s still awestruck by the role of Frank-N-Furter. “I can’t believe I’m living what I’m living now!” squeals the transgender actress and LGBT activist. “The first time I saw [the original], I was like, ‘What is this? This is me!’ It felt like me,” Cox says. The Rocky Horror Picture Show helped her make sense of her own life, and she shares, “I saw this character who was gender nonconforming like me and saying, ‘Don’t dream it, be it.’ And that became a personal mantra and now I am it.”

The original movie

Cox acknowledges that following in Curry’s high-heeled footsteps is a near-impossible task, but it has been made easier by his participation in the project. “The first day of rehearsal in L.A. — before we started recording the soundtrack — I sang all of the songs from the film in front of him, and talk about pressure! Talk about it being intimidating! He said ‘Brava’ after I sang. ... I didn’t sleep that night.”

Director Kenny Ortega reflects on that moment when Curry passed the Frank-N-Furter torch to Cox, saying, “That’s what we all felt throughout this entire experience working with Tim — his generosity, his wit, his charm, his elegance.”

And Curry, the star of stage and screen who has appeared in projects ranging from Amadeus and Spamalot to Annie and Clue is OK with the fishnet-clad transvestite being his lasting legacy. “There’s not a lot I can do about it really,” he shrugs with a laugh.
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