I love Laverne Cox. I really do. And previously, I had mentioned that when FOX announced they were “remaking” Rocky Horror, that we shouldn’t panic.
…. Start panicking.
Today we got to see the first image of Laverne Cox as Dr. Frank-N-Furter via Entertainment Weekly. Immediately, we all want to compare to Tim Curry. How can you not? He is the essential, definitive Frank-N-Furter. But let’s put the defensive, protective anger aside for a minute, and look into why he worked that corset so well.
The beauty of Tim Curry playing the transvestite from transsexual Transylvania is simple: It’s not based on visuals. When you look at Curry, you’re supposed to be confused. He’s very clearly a man wearing makeup and fishnets. He’s feminine without hiding his masculinity. It’s intentionally designed to make your brain go WTF?
But the real truth behind that visual decision is that the characters (and probably the viewers) are still sexually attracted to Frank-N-Furter. Because it’s not about his appearance, it’s about his sexual essence. That sexuality comes from an energy, a personality of confidence and playfulness, not a visually-identifiable gender.
Laverne Cox? She’s stunning. But in making her gorgeous, the bizarre, gritty, titillating confusion that is the core of RHPS is lost.
I don’t want to give up all hope just yet. But these images are a big, red flag. So… we’ll see.