Laverne Cox has been acting most of her life, getting her first film appearance in The Kings of Brooklyn in 2004, but Cox didn’t really get her big break until she won the role of Sophia Burset in Netflix’s Orange is the New Black. Now, three years later, Laverne is set to take the world by storm in a live presentation of The Rocky Horror Picture Show for Fox network, picking up the torch from the original Dr. Fran-N-Furter, Tim Curry. Moving beyond hateful remarks and armchair critics, Ms. Cox talks about what it has been like to take on The Rocky Horror Picture Show and on how success has changed her life.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show Teaches Laverne Cox That Being A “Sweet Transvestite” Comes With Its Own Hurdles
In speaking with Vanity Fair, Laverne Cox reveals something of her career that her most devout fans already know, and that is that, as a transgender woman, she seeks out roles that make a political statement. At the very least, Cox looks for roles that allow her to bring greater awareness to the struggles of transgender people in modern society.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again does neither.
“I love that as an artist, I get to be involved with projects that have larger political implications. But at the end of the day, Rocky Horror is a tremendous amount of fun,” Cox says.
While it can hardly be said that The Rocky Horror Picture Show is politically charged, or even that it comments on current social issues, Laverne does feel that it has potential to inspire audiences. Cox suggests that the story pushes people to be themselves in spite of social pressures to conform.
“If it inspires people to be more authentically themselves, to be the very best versions of themselves, to be the creatures of [their] imagination, there’s something political about that,” Cox says. “And that’s a really exciting thing.”
Coming to the role as a transgender woman, Laverne was able to do something with The Rocky Horror Picture Show that she was never able to do with any other role. Pursuing acting as a woman, Laverne was expected to sing as a woman and that meant delivering a soprano’s softer tones, while burying the deeper baritone of her masculine side. Now, as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Cox is able to indulge both facets of her singing voice.
“Being trans, it took me a long time to really embrace that part of my voice, but with this character, it was absolutely perfect,” Laverne explains.
Success Makes Life A Blur For Laverne Cox
Since she rose to fame with her breakout role in Orange is the New Black, Laverne tells New York Times that her life has been a big blur. In fact, she can’t say much about her future plans at all. All Ms. Cox really knows is when her next cab ride is coming or where her next shooting location is on her current project.
Still, Laverne is happy to have found herself in a budding film career, and to keep that ball rolling, there are some things Ms. Cox likes to keep to herself. For one thing, she can still do impressive splits, but these days, she needs advance warning, so she can warm up for that big finish.
Also, she never, ever talks about her age or her weight. Not even for this interview. Cox says she faces enough obstacles as a black, transgender woman in show business without throwing age into the mix. For Cox’s more resilient fans, a quick perusal of Laverne’s IMDb page will reveal that May 29, 1972, is her birthday.
“I’m living this life that is the life I’ve dreamed of my whole life and that most people don’t get to live,” Ms. Cox said. “Now this is very recent and, God willing, I’ll be able to keep it going.”
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again is set to air live on Fox on October 20.
[Featured Image by Fox]