When it was announced that transgender actress Laverne Cox would be playing the iconic role of Dr. Frank N. Furter in Fox’s remake of the 1975 hit musical, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Cox was met with some backlash. It’s not a huge surprise, due to the fact that Tim Curry, who embodied the role before her, made the role iconic.
Now, Laverne Cox is addressing those critics who said she doesn’t deserve the role just because she’s a cultural trans figure. On the other side of that criticism is the argument that the role she’s taking on is that of a cross-dressing cisgender man, and since she’s transgender, many have concerns about what that might mean for people confusing the two.
Cox told Entertainment Tonight that she gave the role her all. In her own words, she said she gave the film “250 percent” of herself.
“People can be very… challenging and critical, but I put everything I had into this. I gave 250 percent, and I hope people like what we came up with.”
— Colorlines.com (@Colorlines) May 17, 2016
Even early on in the process, Cox felt the pressure to do right by the show.
“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.”
She noted that the criticism isn’t completely unexpected, given the iconic status of Rocky Horror.
“Rocky Horror is sacred to people. It’s the longest-running movie in theater history, in movie history. For 41 years, people have been going to midnight showings and dressing up, and there’s been shadow casts all over the world. It means so much to so many people.”
The new trailer that premiered during the FOX upfront ruffled a few feathers for a number of reasons. Some noted that Cox looked incredibly different than Tim Curry in the role. From Cox’s explanation, the production decided to take a modern approach in terms of aesthetic.
“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.”
As for what Tim Curry thought of Laverne Cox taking on the role, it sounds like he gave her his blessing. Cox described her meeting with the actor in February.
“He wants me to do my own thing with it… We sort of talked about what he was thinking when he did it, and we talked about his intentions with certain moments.”
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) May 17, 2016
That said, it sounds like she had a blast with the role.
“What’s so exciting about being in this music show, is that the music, the soundtrack for Rocky Horror Picture Show is so incredible and so timeless, and I just have new respect for recording artists.”
Here’s a taste of the fan response she received:
I was into Laverne Cox as Dr. Frank-N-Furter in Rocky Horror until I saw the first look today. WTF is that outfit? Just no.
— Nikki Johnson (@nikki_catharine) May 12, 2016
Me: a rocky horror remake will never be good wtf
*Laverne Cox announced as star*
Me:……sighs, sells organs, buys theater for opening day
— Tom Hammell (@tomhammell) October 22, 2015
LAVERNE COX IS DOING THE NEW ROCKY HORROR OMG OMG OMG IM CRYING
— Vincewiththegoodhair (@2turntorres) May 23, 2016
omg laverne cox is playing frank in the live rocky horror picture show
— baby k (@kiddstene) May 12, 2016
[Photo by FOX]