Let's do the Time Warp again, AGAIN
October 22, 2015 10:10 AM   Subscribe

 
Recasting The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Brad: Grant Gustin / Dulé Hill
Janet: Anna Kendrick / Alison Brie
Dr. Scott: Stephen Colbert
Columbia: Kristen Bell / Nicki Minaj
Eddie: Joseph Gordon-Levitt / Rebel Wilson
Magenta: Alan Cumming / Kate McKinnon
Riff Raff: Janelle Monae / Neil Patrick Harris
Rocky: Chris Pine / The Rock / Terry Crews
Frank N. Furter: Lee Pace / John Barrowman
The Criminologist: RuPaul
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:12 AM on October 22, 2015 [15 favorites]


And will Walken be the Criminologist?
posted by I-baLL at 10:19 AM on October 22, 2015


Wow, Fox? Really? Isn't this story a little queer for their audience's taste?
posted by clockzero at 10:21 AM on October 22, 2015


First reaction: this is awesome but can she sing?
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:23 AM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow, Fox? Really? Isn't this story a little queer for their audience's taste?

Fox TV =/= Fox News. They're not necessarily polar opposites, but remember, this is the network that gave us Glee.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:24 AM on October 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


*shivering with anticip-*
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:27 AM on October 22, 2015 [30 favorites]


NPH as Riff-Raff could be a brilliant thing.
posted by mephron at 10:34 AM on October 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


*shivering with anticip-*

Say it!
posted by maxsparber at 10:34 AM on October 22, 2015 [16 favorites]


I love Laverne Cox and I love Rocky Horror. I hate this idea.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 10:36 AM on October 22, 2015 [18 favorites]


*-ation.*
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:37 AM on October 22, 2015 [14 favorites]


/throws toilet paper at laptop screen
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:37 AM on October 22, 2015 [11 favorites]


I'm normally pretty blase about reboots, but unless the reviews are uniformly awful, this is going to be must see tv in my household.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:38 AM on October 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Eddie would have to be Jack Black. He is already Meatloaf's son.
posted by ian1977 at 10:39 AM on October 22, 2015 [47 favorites]


Fox TV =/= Fox News. They're not necessarily polar opposites, but remember, this is the network that gave us Glee.

...oh yeah. I wonder how it is that Fox News viewers seem not to care about what the other hand of the company is doing to 'promote the homosexual agenda,' as I imagine people might absurdly characterize productions like these.
posted by clockzero at 10:41 AM on October 22, 2015


I'm normally pretty blase about reboots, but unless the reviews are uniformly awful, this is going to be must see tv in my household.
posted by Ufez Jones


Actually, if the reviews are uniformly terrible, that may convince me to watch it.
posted by matrixclown at 10:45 AM on October 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Five years down the line, when The Rocky Horror Picture Serial has been running for three and a half seasons, we will look back at today as the moment when everything went horribly awry.
posted by egypturnash at 10:47 AM on October 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


Maybe it'll be good. But the movie is only good for around the first third, then gets really, really boring, IMO. Still, it's cool that Cox got such a major role.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 10:48 AM on October 22, 2015


It got really weird when they added Cousin Oliver to boost the ratings.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 10:48 AM on October 22, 2015 [8 favorites]


Can she sing? Furter's are my favourite songs in the whole show.

John Barrowman would make a terrible Frank N' Furter - I like him as Captain Jack, but he's not versatile enough. Alan Cumming could probably do any role in the show, though he'd be wasted as Brad or as Dr Scott.
posted by jb at 10:48 AM on October 22, 2015


I love Laverne Cox, but those are some big fishnets to fill. I think the "Janelle Monae plays every part" idea is the only remake I'm comfortable with.
posted by thetortoise at 10:53 AM on October 22, 2015 [25 favorites]


John Barrowman would make a better Brad, I think.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 10:57 AM on October 22, 2015 [10 favorites]


A gender-swapped Dr. Frankenstien is such a good idea as to be mandatory this time around, I think. It's the only way to upset expectations as much as Curry did in the original. Male drag for this part is too conventional.

I don't know Cox that well, but I still think Aubrey Plaza would have made a killer Fran-N-furter, same as last time.
posted by bonehead at 10:57 AM on October 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm just not sure The Rocky Horror Show works if Frank isn't played by a big hunk of a man. I'm generally all for non traditional casting, but this is one case where I'm not sure you can mess too far with the formula.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:01 AM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Riff Raff should be played by RiFF RAFF
posted by Hoopo at 11:01 AM on October 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm here for Laverne Cox and Alan Cumming, thanks. Please cast Alan Cumming.
posted by jeather at 11:02 AM on October 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


rifflesby for Riff Raff!
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:02 AM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


As long as we're rebooting the 70s, I keeping hoping someone will do a remake of Tommy and that Laverne Cox will play Tina Turner's role (the Acid Queen). Her ability to sing would probably be an issue there too.

(And I'd really like to see Jennifer Lawrence play Ann-Margret's role just for the baked beans scene.)
posted by fuse theorem at 11:03 AM on October 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm just not sure The Rocky Horror Show works if Frank isn't played by a big hunk of a man.

This discomfort is why I think it's a good idea.
posted by bonehead at 11:08 AM on October 22, 2015 [8 favorites]


this is the network that gave us Glee.

And when Glee did Rocky Horror it was complete garbage removing everything that made it subversive. The Fox Network may not be Fox News, but it is television that is utterly inoffensive dealing with source material that is supposed to be very offensive.

I hope this is the best thing ever. But I would put money on it being so co-opted as to be hardly recognizable.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:10 AM on October 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


I feel weird about this. I think Laverne Cox will do a great job and I trust her to take roles that are right for her, but casting a trans woman as a part that is traditionally a man in drag has some unfortunate implications for me.
posted by possibilityleft at 11:11 AM on October 22, 2015 [28 favorites]


I bet if nothing else the set pieces will be great.
posted by ian1977 at 11:11 AM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


These casting suggestions are amazing. I'm normally not a fan of remakes, but in this case, I wish they'd make multiple versions, one for every permutation of the cast.

And I bet they'd all make money, seeing as how it's impossible to watch TRHPS too many times.
posted by lesli212 at 11:14 AM on October 22, 2015


My first reaction was:
Love! But wait, will Laverne Cox be genderqueer enough? I think of her as so femme...

Unless she's going to be drag-kinging? Now I'm confused. That could be awesome!

I would LOVE to see a drag-king Frank-N-Furter tho!


(I'm super pleased with the increasing public acceptance of trans men and women, but genderqueer is still more threatening to many conservatives [Just as long as you'll stay in ONE box!], so I worry it's not pushing the boundary enough, but if anyone can pull it off, Laverne can...)
posted by Elysum at 11:16 AM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm working on a shadow cast showing off the film right now and add a result have spent a ton of time with both the film and videos of dozens odds live productions. Even the great Franks I've watched this month don't measure up to Curry. This is partly because the film is always still fresh in the minds of its fans burr also because Curry's performance is iconic. He is Frank and everyone else seems like they're pretending.

In my opinion, for a production to escape that, the production team needs to thoroughly and consciously re-imagine the whole show. Change the set, the costumes, the choreography (especially of Sweet Transvestite) and maybe even approach the songs differently (the musical is equal parts 50's rock and glam rock). The minute the performer playing Frank conjures up an image of Curry they're kind of screwed (there are so many productions where Frank does the exact same "dropping the Cape" reveal of his lingerie move and that's a huge error in my opinion).

Anyhow, the stage show, it should be remembered, is a different (more coherent ) creation than the film. Hopefully, Fox will follow that script and hopefully Cox can make the role hey own.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:17 AM on October 22, 2015 [9 favorites]


>I'm just not sure The Rocky Horror Show works if Frank isn't played by a big hunk of a man.

>This discomfort is why I think it's a good idea.


But, you see that's not discomfort. It's the opposite of discomfort. Casting a woman as Frank removes the discomfort that's an inherent part of the show.

It's like in the film version of Hud, when they cast a white actress as Alma, who had been Black in the novel.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:19 AM on October 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Splice in some DNA from The Love Boat. Every episode features guest star(s) whose car has broken down.
posted by RobotHero at 11:20 AM on October 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


Casting a woman as Frank removes the discomfort that's an inherent part of the show.

Frank is, by far, the most dominant personality in the show. What's society most scared of now? It's not effeminate/genderqueer men, they're almost mainstream now.
posted by bonehead at 11:30 AM on October 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


But, you see that's not discomfort. It's the opposite of discomfort. Casting a woman as Frank removes the discomfort that's an inherent part of the show.

Comfort or no comfort, I'm glad to see a character from Transsexual played by an actual trans performer.
posted by maxsparber at 11:30 AM on October 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


What does transvestitism mean in the transsexual world?
posted by rhizome at 11:40 AM on October 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


From the second dream cast link, my God would I love to see Crispin Glover as Riff Raff.

And thanks for the OPP, I had no idea a RHPS reboot was in the works and I am now totally excited!
posted by wyndham at 11:41 AM on October 22, 2015


I've read that this is a reimagining rather than a strict reboot, so that's why I'm in favor of this casting decision. Otherwise I'd agree that perhaps it's not a good idea to cast a trans woman to play a transvestite. Trans women already get wrongly perceived as fetishistic crossdressers. We have to trust that Laverne knows what she's doing, though.

What does transvestitism mean in the transsexual world?

It's not a word that's used that much anymore and is sometimes seen as pejorative. I have most often heard it used to mean a person who dresses up part time as a different gender than they were assigned at birth (e.g. man dressing as a woman) and who sometimes goes out in public dressed this way. (This last part is to differentiate from crossdressers, who do not go out in public.) There are going to be different opinions on this but that is my understanding as someone in the "transsexual world" (albeit the ftm side).
posted by desjardins at 11:46 AM on October 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


"I'm just not sure The Rocky Horror Show works if Frank isn't played by a big hunk of a man."

But he even says "I'm not much of a man by the light of day".
posted by I-baLL at 11:54 AM on October 22, 2015


I want The Rock as Frank N. Furter.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:56 AM on October 22, 2015 [8 favorites]


The "Mickey's Monster Musical" episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse starts off with Mickey and Minnie's Toon Car breaking down outside a castle. The parallels are on purpose.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:01 PM on October 22, 2015


As a RHPS fan, I'm personally more concerned that this whole thing is being directed by Kenny "High School Musical" Ortega, really.* But yeah, my first reaction to this is that Laverne Cox in lingerie doesn't work as a "transvestite," (because she's a woman in the first place), and that's what the lyrics call for. I like her a lot, though, so I'm open to seeing what they do to make it work.

*As I noted the last time this remake came up here on the blue.
posted by dnash at 12:13 PM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


My previous comments aside, I do have somewhat mixed feelings about this.

I had a similar issue with the remake of The Producers: there were certainly elements I enjoyed, such as the revamped and expanded musical numbers, and the Hitler actor switch actually made more sense in the new version; but Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane simply aren't Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel, and were never really able to capture the manic energy of the originals.

That being said, I would love to see Lavern Cox do something radically different as Frank-N-Furter, rather than just being a trans woman doing Tim Curry. I'd like to see her make the role hers in this version.

Don't dream it- be it.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:14 PM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, she is an actor so presumably she can pretend to be whatever. I mean, she's not a monster making mad scientist escaped from another planet either.
posted by ian1977 at 12:15 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Like maybe fem it up even more, but in a less self-conscious drag-y manner, and still fuck Brad (ASSHOLE!) and Janet (SLUT!).
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:18 PM on October 22, 2015


Zooey Deschanel for Janet. Her MPDG stylings would work in this context.
posted by pxe2000 at 12:22 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is the idea here to run a series? Like, episodic TV? Or a made-for-TV movie? Because if it's the former, the people involved in pitching and approving that idea need some quality medical attention.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:33 PM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is the idea here to run a series? Like, episodic TV? Or a made-for-TV movie? Because if it's the former, the people involved in pitching and approving that idea need some quality medical attention.

From the link: "The two-hour taped event is described as a reimagining of the 20th Century Fox cult classic."

I actually thought at first that this was going to be a live musical, like NBC has been doing recently.

I think the idea here, as well as the idea behind the NBC ones, is actually really savvy. Networks are trying to figure out ways to make people watch TV in real time instead of streaming it; with an episodic show, it feels less important to see it Right Away. But for a One-Night-Only Television Event, people are a lot more likely to carve out time to sit down and watch it, engage with it, livetweet it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:48 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Frank-N-Furter, a sexually ambiguous flirtatious alien mad-scientist, is holding an annual Transylvanian science convention to showcase the birth of “Rocky Horror” – a fit, attractive man created solely to fulfill Frank’s desires.

There is something so odd about seeing the synopsis written out. I have never once given the plot a second thought. Let's not muddy this awesomeness with story.
posted by tracicle at 12:48 PM on October 22, 2015 [23 favorites]


I dunno, part of Frank-N-Furter's mystique (in my opinion, of course) was the blurriness of their sexuality. In spite of being trans, Laverne Cox's sexuality is much more focused.
posted by Mooski at 1:00 PM on October 22, 2015


Fortunately, she's not playing Laverne Cox.
posted by maxsparber at 1:03 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Rocky: Chris Pine / The Rock / Terry Crews

OMGHowouldyouevenchoose???

I want The Rock as Frank N. Furter.

Yes, this works. So we just have to choose between Chris Pine and Terry Crews. I'm not sure that makes it any easier.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:06 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Fortunately, she's not playing Laverne Cox.

Touche'. Trying to explain would probably just dig me a deeper hole.
posted by Mooski at 1:07 PM on October 22, 2015


Without overthinking this, I quiver with anticip... too.
Para me, it can't be good and it can't be bad, but please please let it be.
posted by hexatron at 1:11 PM on October 22, 2015


Channing Tatum for Rocky.


He has "confused" down perfectly.


And he's already comfortable performing in underwear/'50s speedo.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:13 PM on October 22, 2015 [15 favorites]


Seconding that; it's the role Tatum was born to play.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:15 PM on October 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


With Cox on board, the The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which had been gestating for a while, is getting a formal green light for a premiere in fall 2016.

Fall of 2016????
I'd been hearing so much about this (and, I do believe there have actually been promo teasers aired) that I thought it was premiering later this year. Bah.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:19 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


IMHO: The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a quirky thing from the age in which people could only experience quirky media if someone broadcast it at them, or if their friend had a VHS. As in, back in those times, if you were looking for quirkyness, it was slim pickings. Making fun of horror tropes! haha that was very original 40 years ago. Musical Comedy with a rock edge! amazing, for 40 years ago.
posted by memebake at 1:20 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think that they should repurpose current and former Fox news personalities:

Brad: Tucker Carlson
Janet: Megyn Kelly
Dr. Scott: Geraldo Rivera
Columbia: Greta Van Susteren
Eddie: Glenn Beck
Magenta: Maria Bartiromo
Riff Raff: Michael Reagan
Rocky: Ann Coulter
Frank N. Furter: Bill O'Reilly
The Criminologist: Brit Hume
posted by Chitownfats at 1:39 PM on October 22, 2015 [10 favorites]


I was fascinated by the idea of how to translate it into a series.

But it's a two hour special? I've lost interest.
posted by RobotHero at 1:50 PM on October 22, 2015


And the Hollywood Urge To Remake has jumped the shark, and then made it wear fishnets.
posted by eriko at 2:31 PM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I would watch a version of Rocky Horror where Frank is played by a shark in fishnets.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 3:20 PM on October 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


RE everyone worrying about Laverne Cox's singing, is the role of Frankenfurter really that hard? IIRC from the movie, it's mostly just talk-singing? If you can remotely carry a tune, you can do it.
posted by Sara C. at 3:27 PM on October 22, 2015


"RE everyone worrying about Laverne Cox's singing, is the role of Frankenfurter really that hard? IIRC from the movie, it's mostly just talk-singing? If you can remotely carry a tune, you can do it."

So you think Frank sounds flat? Well, how 'bout that!
posted by I-baLL at 3:31 PM on October 22, 2015




Frankly, re-watching "Sweet Transvestite" after so many years, I'm worried that Laverne Cox doesn't have whatever weirdo British accent that causes Tim Curry's "o" to become "i". Brought dine? Arind? Sine-d?
posted by Sara C. at 3:37 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, this will be even better than Shock Treatment!
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:44 PM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


From the day I went away....

KUM-BA-YA-ah-ah!
posted by I-baLL at 3:46 PM on October 22, 2015


I tend to think that remaking Rocky Horror is a bad idea, and I loathed the Glee remake as it cut out all the queerness. I do not need more media that makes queerness safe for straight people.

That said... if it's going to happen, I'd be good with Janelle Monae as Frank and Laverne Cox as Magenta. I also have discomforts conflating transvestites and trans women, though a drag king Frank could be hot as hell.
posted by bile and syntax at 3:52 PM on October 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


I kind of figured they cast Cox more because of the "...from Transexual Transylvania" line.

Frank never came off as a "transvestite" in the traditional sense. That's more like Brad, in the scene where he gets tricked out in Frankenfurter-esque lingerie.

If I were seeing Rocky Horror for the first time now, I'd probably peg Frank as genderqueer or genderfucked or genderfluid. I'm not sure what people in the 70s were supposed to think. As a teen in the 90s I thought "gay man", but I think that's because gay male sexuality and leather, kink, drag, etc. were so conflated at that time.

And, again, Laverne Cox is an actor, and I'm sure there's going to be lots of acting.

If nothing else, casting her rather than a straight male actor at least improves upon the de-queering of Hairspray. And casting Neil Patrick Harris would feel icky, to me, like the networks can only fathom one way to be non-cis/het, and it's an Aryan gay musical theater dude.
posted by Sara C. at 4:00 PM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not really a huge Rocky Horror fan, but the impression I got from the Picture Show screeings I've attended was that the cult following very much revolves around the movie as it stands, warts and all. Like, the movie's "warts and all" specifically is what appeals to people about it. The audiences I saw this with had jokes and routines concerning certain cuts and the framing of certain shots and even one of the actors' cleft chin. Could a remake ever really capture what people still go to the theatre in costume to see 40 years after it was made? It just doesn't strike me as something that should be remade. Too much potential to be *bad* bad, not *fun* bad.
posted by Hoopo at 4:39 PM on October 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


There is something so odd about seeing the synopsis written out. I have never once given the plot a second thought. Let's not muddy this awesomeness with story.

also, don't rewatch with an adult's eye for seriously questionable consent. When I was 15, Frank was so amazing, and awesome, and I wanted to be him - or maybe be seduced by him - but rewatching it last Hallowe'en, I was like, wow, this is more rapey than I remember.

As for the singing: as someone who memorised the soundtrack, Frank N Furter has far more than just his big low number - later on, he has some really sweet headvoice stuff.

But, as much as I love Frank (and Curry's performance), my favourite song has always been "Science Fiction Double Feature" - and I love the voice in that song but could never figure out who it was. The movie doesn't show who is singing, and my hand labeled pirated audio tape (of course) didn't say.

Just found out recently that it was Richard O'Brien, the genderqueer genius behind the show. Just when I thought he couldn't be more awesome, he's a voice from my youthful dreams.
posted by jb at 5:12 PM on October 22, 2015 [11 favorites]


actually, I'm wrong re the singing. I remember sweet high voice, but that was the back up singers - "Don't Dream It, Be It!" Curry is sort-of speak-singing.

But he does have some powerful bits in Sweet Transvestite.
posted by jb at 5:26 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hoopo: "I'm not really a huge Rocky Horror fan, but the impression I got from the Picture Show screeings I've attended was that the cult following very much revolves around the movie as it stands, warts and all. Like, the movie's "warts and all" specifically is what appeals to people about it. The audiences I saw this with had jokes and routines concerning certain cuts and the framing of certain shots and even one of the actors' cleft chin. Could a remake ever really capture what people still go to the theatre in costume to see 40 years after it was made? It just doesn't strike me as something that should be remade. Too much potential to be *bad* bad, not *fun* bad."

Well, I couldn't have been cast had the Narrator a neck.
posted by Samizdata at 8:52 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think that "transvestite" was intended as something more like the 1970s imprecise sense of "has a fetish for crossdressing" (based on the lyrics of "Don't Dream It"). I actually believe that "transsexual" may have actually been intended to mean something closer to "pansexual" rather than transgender. Frank's not dysphoric about his assigned gender, he doesn't give a fuck about gender, his own or anyone else's. So yes, I guess the more modern interpretation would probably be pansexual genderqueer, strictly speaking.
posted by desuetude at 8:53 PM on October 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


Everyone who is worried about Laverne Cox because her sexuality does not line up precisely with Frank's should probably take a moment to reflect on why they're OK with (apparently heterosexual) Tim Curry. I suspect Laverne Cox is more than capable of both honoring Tim Curry's legacy while bringing her own unique perspective to the role. She is basically the only part of the whole production that is a sure thing.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 9:06 PM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Mr.Encyclopedia: "Everyone who is worried about Laverne Cox because her sexuality does not line up precisely with Frank's should probably take a moment to reflect on why they're OK with (apparently heterosexual) Tim Curry. I suspect Laverne Cox is more than capable of both honoring Tim Curry's legacy while bringing her own unique perspective to the role. She is basically the only part of the whole production that is a sure thing."

Except...ermmmmm...She doesn't have Tim's voice and smarmy intonations?

(That's all I have to say about her.)
posted by Samizdata at 11:48 PM on October 22, 2015


My first thought was "a woman as Frank?" and then I had to take some time to tease out why that would seem odd to me.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:46 AM on October 23, 2015


The best thing they could do to make this sort of work would be to cast Cox as a buzz-cut Grace Jones figure in a razor cut suit and full-tilt man drag, but lesbian seduction scenes don't have the unsettling radical edge they once did, but subverting the modern transgender paradigm of absolute fidelity to traditionalist gender performance could be a very interesting take, but I would bet you a million billion dollars that no one anywhere near American television would have the guts to do it. So we'll get watered-down Glee-style bullshit for dumb people. Grar.
posted by sonascope at 6:30 AM on October 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


Just found out recently that it was Richard O'Brien, the genderqueer genius behind the show

And Ferb's father!
posted by eriko at 7:37 AM on October 23, 2015


I'm glad someone said it. Laverne Cox in Rocky Horror Makes This Writer Very Nervous
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:52 AM on October 23, 2015


I think that "transvestite" was intended as something more like the 1970s imprecise sense of "has a fetish for crossdressing" (based on the lyrics of "Don't Dream It"). I actually believe that "transsexual" may have actually been intended to mean something closer to "pansexual" rather than transgender. Frank's not dysphoric about his assigned gender, he doesn't give a fuck about gender, his own or anyone else's. So yes, I guess the more modern interpretation would probably be pansexual genderqueer, strictly speaking.

When Riff Raff takes over, he says, "We are about to beam the entire house to the planet Transsexual, in the galaxy of Transylvania."

OTOH, Frank describes himself as a "transvestite," which is a word you don't hear a lot these days. Most people nowadays prefer the term "cross-dresser, which means someone who enjoys wearing the clothing associated with the gender as which they don't necessarily identify. Some people do still use both terms, and make a distinction between cross-dressing being more for general pleasure and transvestism being more of a fetish.

And that's why it works so well when Frank is played by a big, strapping baritone.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:38 AM on October 23, 2015


I should have used cross-dresser instead of "transvestite."
posted by rhizome at 12:57 PM on October 23, 2015


And that's why it works so well when Frank is played by a big, strapping baritone.

In the context of 1979, sure. Because Frank embodies the worst fears of the sexual and moral panic of that time. It's a valid choice to be as faithful to the source material as possible. But it risks coming off as a second-rate version of Curry's performance. It also risks coming across more as a weird historical thing that freaked out the parents, rather than anything with a true undercurrent of terror. Glee did this, as I recall, kids putting on a masque of characters they didn't understand.

If you want it to work now, to still have that impact, the casting (and the staging) needs to be redone to capture our current neuroses, 35 years later. Frank needs to be scary, really scary to be sexy.
posted by bonehead at 1:21 PM on October 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Glee did this, as I recall, kids putting on a masque of characters they didn't understand.


No, Glee cast a girl as Frank and changed the pronouns.


If you want it to work now, to still have that impact, the casting (and the staging) needs to be redone to capture our current neuroses, 35 years later. Frank needs to be scary, really scary to be sexy.


You don't think people still find it scary for Big Manly Men™ to fuck around with gender performance lines while still retaining their identities as Big Manly Men? Heck, in some ways that's even more trangressive now than it was forty years ago.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:48 PM on October 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Nope. I particularly don't think that's the recipe for scaring teenagers and twenty year-olds. I don't really know what that is, but I'd be very surprised if it were still as simple as a genderfluid guy.
posted by bonehead at 2:15 PM on October 23, 2015


Huh, because the genderfluid guys and visibly trans women I know get harassed all the time, so they are scaring someone.
posted by desjardins at 7:07 PM on October 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


On further thought, I'm going to retract my previous hesitation about Laverne Cox as Frank. Frank is not merely a transvestite, but is from Transexual, Transylvania, and if done properly this could be amazing. I also love Laverne Cox not only because she's smokin' hot but also for her public presence, which I feel has been very positive for trans women of color in particular and the larger trans community in general. I know that Fox could make this into a Glee-style clusterfuck, but I hope that Ms. Cox would not sign on to the project if she weren't fairly confident that it would be a positive portrayal.
posted by bile and syntax at 9:41 AM on October 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


The best thing they could do to make this sort of work would be to cast Cox as a buzz-cut Grace Jones figure in a razor cut suit and full-tilt man drag

I would totally watch that. I do hope that the folks involved in this production think carefully about why they're casting Laverne Cox in this role and how that changes the audience's understanding of Frank. I am nervous (like many others in this thread) that they don't get that casting an iconic trans woman in a role traditionally played by transgressive cis men with a gift for camp could become an offensive disaster if the project isn't led by somebody with Richard O'Brien-levels of nuance and playfulness when it comes to gender.
posted by thetortoise at 9:59 AM on October 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


why they're OK with (apparently heterosexual) Tim Curry

Tim Curry lives with his female partner. That isn't the same thing as being heterosexual; bisexuality exists.

I'm honestly kinda iffy about Cox being cast. Partly because of the reasons in Juro's article at The Advocate, but mostly because sometimes an actor just owns a role, and it's too cemented in everyone's minds for someone else to really be able to do it justice.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:58 PM on October 26, 2015


I mean maybe if it were being helmed by a really incredible director and it weren't on FOX the latter concern wouldn't matter much, y'know?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:03 PM on October 26, 2015


The more I think about it, the more I have to agree with the person that posted this interview with Richard O'Brien in the comments on the article from the post that this is a naked cash-grab by Lou Adler that yet again screws O'Brien.

Speaking of which, I caught the Rocky Horror Show stage play on BBC America featuring O'Brien and it was really good. Worth checking out when it airs again at midnight on Halloween if you're a fan.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:44 PM on October 26, 2015


My local farming community, population 5k, is doing RHPS. I don't know whether to attend. Could be great, could be horrifying.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:08 PM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


My local farming community, population 5k, is doing RHPS. I don't know whether to attend. Could be great, could be horrifying.
posted by five fresh fish at


Farm people get lots of exercise, could look great in fishnets.

I want to play Frank. But I just don't have the gams. Also, the DDs would get in the way, and I have a few more cigars to smoke before my alto is a baritone.
posted by jb at 8:14 PM on October 26, 2015


I've often wanted to take part in a RHPS. I don't know if I would be good or horrific. I love the camp. It's mostly a very fun play and a great musical.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:41 PM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


And casting Neil Patrick Harris would feel icky, to me, like the networks can only fathom one way to be non-cis/het, and it's an Aryan gay musical theater dude.

The list of musical theatre people who perform well on stage and in front of a camera is very, very short, regardless of any other qualifiers that you'd want to add. Add in comedic timing as a requirement , and the list gets even shorter.

I honestly don't think that the people who run the Tony Awards are particularly thrilled that NPH hosts the show again and again and again, but I also don't think that they're going to find somebody who's a better fit for the job.

I think it's great that we're seeing trans actors getting bigger/better roles, but don't think that the casting needs to have strings attached. It's great if the part is meaningful to the actor playing it, but that doesn't necessarily need to be a requirement.
posted by schmod at 10:49 AM on October 27, 2015


Let’s NOT Do the Time Warp again, Rocky Horror Fans. - by Caelyn Sandel for The Mary Sue.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:49 PM on November 3, 2015


When I was in an all-female production of Julius Caesar, we used to have a mini dance party between fight call and opening the house, just to keep out energy up. The last week of the show, we tended to include "The Time Warp." People said I did a mean Magenta in my elderly Roman senator costume. And we had, like, four legit tap dancers in the show, so we had four Columbias doing the tap sequence in perfect unison up the thrust, dressed as Casca, Calpurnia, and tro soldiers in leather armor. It was glorious.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:23 AM on November 4, 2015


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