Laverne Cox’s Frank-N-Furter is Just Too Hot

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.

In Defense of the Rocky Horror Picture Show TV Event…

Cool your jets there, Columbia. Let’s not freak out.

Rocky Horror is a beloved cult classic, and it’s HUGE amongst my own friends and groups. (Theatre folk, haunted house workers, cult movie afficionados…)

The film has a special place in my heart, for certain. But I’m seeing a lot of my friends from all facets freak the fuck out every time a casting decision is announced. While I, of all people, understand the fiercely defensive position many are taking, I think it’s a little much for these two reasons:

#1. It has a new cast ALL THE TIME. Because it’s a play.

Rocky Horror’s tumultuous life began on stage as The Rocky Horror Show by Richard O’Brien. It was a funny take on genre B-movies. On the London stage, it was a success, but on Broadway, it only lasted for a handful of performances. By some miracle, it was greenlit as a film and thus, the cinematic beauty that is RHPS was born. And thanks to the bizarre success of the film over time, the stage version is just as popular among community and professional theatres. It’s brilliantly interactive, strangely captivating, and allows the individual theatre to play to their strengths. So while you can whine about how no one will ever replace Tim Curry (and let’s face it, they won’t), the truth is, he’s replaced every day. So don’t think of it as an attempt to replace or replicate. Think of it as a pyramid, with Curry sitting on top as Queen, and all the Frank-n-Furters beneath him, just trying to do their best.

#2. It’s a TV Special.

This isn’t a cinematic remake, where a big studio is sinking tens of millions of dollars on A list stars, shiny sets and costumes, and 2 new Oscar-eligible songs shoehorned into the score. It’s a Fox one-night only event. Laverne Cox and Adam Lambert are the biggest names attached right now, with Kenny Ortega directing. They’re all fine and on par with a TV event. Look, the worst case scenario? It’s somehow blandly mediocre and disappears into the bowels of TV history, referenced only in obscure trivia. It’ll be like it never happened.  Best case? It’s actually a blast, and pulls in a new, previously virginal audience who will most likely check out all they can about RHPS and fall upon the film. And if it is good, there will always be fans who insist that it’s better than the original, and you know what? That’s okay. Sometimes these things need to happen in order to bring in fresh blood.

No one will ever replace Tim Curry. And I don’t think anyone wants to try. But he makes the role look so damn fun, any actor with a little flair would want to try their hand at it.

So, chill. It’ll be fine.

Update 1/15: Tim Curry will officially be joining the event as Narrator. So, see? If he’s in, we surely can sit back and see what happens before losing our minds.