You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ Cast Promises to Pay Homage to Original, Raves About Laverne Cox

More than four decades after the original movie hit theaters, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is coming back — to TV.

The cast of Fox’s remake — which includes “Rocky Horror” vet Tim Curry as the narrator this time around — joined together on Monday at the Television Critics Association press tour at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., to discuss paying homage to the original.

“Be true to the original, but make it contemporary” is the mantra set by executive producer Lou Adler.

The cast all agreed that their new “Rocky Horror Picture Show” is not a direct remake of the original, but rather a celebration of the iconic flick.

“I don’t believe that we are re-making anything,” said Ben Vereen, who is playing Dr. Scott. “To me, this is not a remake. You cannot remake the ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show.’ But you can pay tribute and honor it. That’s what we wanted to do and we accomplished.”

Cast member Annaleigh Ashford echoed Vereen’s sentiment, explaining that the entire cast watched the original movie often for preparation. “We wanted to make sure that we made little nudges and nods to the original performance,” she said.

Stark differences from the original are that Curry, the original Dr. Frank-N-Furter, is playing a different role (“I actually offered myself as Dr. Scott because I was already in a wheelchair. They thought the narrator was a better fit and I enjoyed it a lot,” he said), plus the new Frank-N-Furter is being played by a transgender actor, Laverne Cox.

Cox was not present at TCA, but the cast and producers raved about the “Orange Is the New Black” star in her new role.

“She’s a force,” executive producer, director and choreographer Kenny Ortega said, speaking of Cox. “Walking in and bringing something into the room that made us realize there was no B plan…We knew it from the beginning that this was the person. It gave us reason to make this movie again. A big part was Laverne Cox.”

Asked about Curry’s original Frank-N-Furter being a transvestite, Ortega said, “As I studied and as I remember, Dr. Frank-N-Furter is an alien so I felt that both Tim and Laverne, that’s what they moved into. There’s really lots of room there. Tim is not a transvestite and neither is Laverne. They’re both incredible, iconic actors.”

“We never put out a call for just transvestites to do this part,” added Adler. “We put out a call for actors that could sing, dance, move. And in a way, Laverne was perfect because we thought we had found someone who will not be compared to Tim Curry — because you lose if you’re compared to Tim Curry.”

Victoria Justice, who is playing Janet, the role made famous by Susan Sarandon, told the room of reporters that she’s excited to bring “Rocky Horror” to her younger fans, coming from the world of Nickelodeon. “I think it’s going to be really cool to introduce the ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ to a brand new generation who probably wouldn’t have been otherwise. Now a new generation is going to be able to sing along to the Time Warp,” Justice said.

Justice shared that her first time seeing the movie was when she was in fifth grade. “Then I saw the midnight showing when I was 15,” she continued. “From the first time I saw it, I had never seen anything like it in my whole life…it really is so unique. When I went to my first midnight showing, I remember wearing fishnets and a red boa and red lipstick.”

Justice was equally as excited to audition for the part, and pleaded to her agent to get her in the room to test for the part. “I auditioned and screen-tested and had to read with some oily men who were auditioning to be Rocky, and it really was a dream come true,” she said with a laugh.

Justice’s co-star Ryan McCartan, who plays her on-screen love interest, also shared when he first saw “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

“I had never seen it in a movie theater. My introduction to it was the play,” McCartan said. “My sister was in it when I was 11 and my parents, who probably wouldn’t want me to admit this, brought me along to see my sister kind of slut around in the ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show.’ Brad immediately became a huge character bucket list of mine.”

With an entirely new cast taking on “Rocky Horror,” Curry was asked if he approves of the TV revival. “I do indeed,” he said with confidence.

Watch a new sneak peek of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” which airs Thursday, Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. on Fox:

More TV

  • Adam Lambert, of Queen, performs at

    Adam Lambert Back to 'Idol' to Mentor Finalists Through Queen's Catalog

    Adam Lambert famously launched his career on “American Idol” a decade ago performing a brilliant audition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He wrapped that amazing eighth season performing with the band on the season finale, and years later earned his current spot as the front man touring as Queen + Adam Lambert. On April 28, Lambert comes full circle as he steps [...]

  • Lily Tomlin SAG Lifetime Acheivement Award

    TV News Roundup: Netflix's 'Laugh-In' 50th Anniversary Tribute Sets Premiere Date

    In today’s TV News roundup, Netflix sets the premiere date for its 50th anniversary special of “Laugh-In.” DATES “Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate,” the 50th anniversary tribute to the original series by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, will premiere on Netflix on May 14. The special, which was taped at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, pays [...]

  • Texas Tech's Norense Odiase (32) shoots

    Live+3 Ratings for Week of April 8: NCAA Championship Game Dunks on Competition

    The final of the 2019 NCAA basketball tournament, in which Virginia triumphed over a spirited Texas Tech team, unsurprisingly finished way out in front in the Live+3 ratings for the week of April 8. Although the sports broadcast’s scripted competition made some gains, its 5.4 ratings still more than doubled that of “Grey’s Anatomy” in [...]

  • Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million

    Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million Total Viewers Across TV News

    Coverage of the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into whether President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice unsurprisingly caused a ratings bump across TV news yesterday. In terms of overall viewership, around 11 million people tuned in to see Attorney General William Barr’s news conference regarding the report’s release, and the news coverage surrounding it. According [...]

  • Neilsons Measurment Problems TV Digital

    WarnerMedia Pulls Out of Audience-Targeting Alliance Open A.P.

    WarnerMedia is going its own way when it comes to helping advertisers find specific groups of TV-watchers. The company, a founding member of the audience-targeting media alliance known as Open A.P., said Friday it would withdraw from the group, citing its desire to pursue its own strategy under owner AT&T. AT&T purchased Time Warner in [...]

  • BLESS THIS MESS - "The Chicken

    Listen: Lake Bell, Dax Shepard on Returning to Broadcast TV With 'Bless This Mess'

    Welcome to “TV Take,” Variety’s television podcast. In this week’s installment, Variety’s executive editor of TV, Daniel Holloway, chats with Lake Bell and Dax Shepard, stars of ABC’s “Bless This Mess,” which debuted on Monday. The show centers around a newly married couple, played by Bell and Shepard, who decide to ditch their shoebox New York City [...]

  • superstore renewed season 3

    'Superstore' Showrunner Justin Spitzer Steps Down as He, Gabe Miller, Jonathan Green Renew Overall Deals at UTV

    “Superstore” executive producers Justin Spitzer, Gabe Miller and Jonathan Green have all renewed their overall deals with Universal Television. In addition, Miller and Green will take over showrunner duties on “Superstore” while Spitzer — who also created the series — will shift to develop new projects for the studio beginning with the 2019-2020 season. “I [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content