Rocky Horror Picture Show is sacred ground. It is the longest running midnight movie in history, and it still plays every weekend all throughout the country. So a remake might not be taken so lightly by its legion of fans. Even if the movie is taking some bold steps in diversifying its cast. Everyone's favorite doctor from Transsexual, Transylvania is back. But ol' Frank-N-Furter sure looks a lot different than way back in 1975. This time out, the character is played by Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox. And we have a first look courtesy of EW, with her standing next to iconic actor Ben Vereen as Dr. Scott. About taking over for Tim Curry, Cox says this.
"I get tweets from people, 'Please don't f- up Rocky Horror Picture Show!' I showed my brother pictures of me in character and he was like, 'You were preparing your whole life for this.'"
Yes, Frank does look a lot different than we remember. But this was by design. Tony-winner William Ivey Long created the all-new costumes. About this make-over for Furter, Cox explains.
"We were on set and a reporter saw me and said I looked like the love child of Grace Jones and David Bowie. I said 'That's exactly right.' I think we mix up the look more than they did in the original. It's inspired by the original but it's really our own take. It's way more elaborate and couture. [Director] Kenny Ortega had this vision that Frank was at this old theater and found these old burlesque costumes and is, like, using them and wearing them now but has altered them a bit."
Joining Cox's Frank-N-Furter is Christina Milian as Magenta. Laverne describes the whole experience, especially working with Millian, as magical. Perhaps even life-changing when it comes to the legendary musical numbers. Cox goes onto say this.
"When I started training again last year, I started working my chest voice. As a trans woman with a low voice, I had been so afraid of those low tones. This is a character where it's absolutely appropriate that I sing in the base baritone register that I have. What's also fun is playing with those higher notes in my register too. This is sort of my professional singing debut. But it's been wonderful claiming my chest voice. It's been really healing."
The Rocky Horror Picture Show Event is coming to Fox this fall. The rest of the cast also includes Reeve Carney (Riff Raff), Annaleigh Ashford (Columbia), Victoria Justice (Janet), Ryan McCartan (Brad), Adam Lambert (Eddie), and a cameo by Tim Curry as The Rocky Horror Narrator. This is the first time Frank has been played by a Trans woman. But not the first time a female has taken on the role. Amber Riley played Frank in the now iconic Glee episode The Rocky Horror Glee Show in Season 2 of that popular Fox series. Without further ado, here's the new Frank-N-Furter in all the Extraterrestrial's wild glory.