Comic-Con fans applaud Fox’s new Rocky Horror
SAN DIEGO — Comic-Con fans responded enthusiastically Thursday to a screening of the first 25 minutes of the new made-for TV version of the 1975 film classic, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
They applauded many elements of the first part of the two-hour Fox production — now set for an Oct. 20 première — playing along with callbacks made popular during decades of midnight screenings. Some even waved cellphone lights during a rendition of “There’s a Light” by the naive, innocent Brad (Ryan McCartan) and Janet (Victoria Justice).
The clip closed with two of the original’s highlights, a Time Warp far more intricately choreographed than in the original and a dazzling Sweet Transvestite entrance by the new and much-awaited Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Laverne Cox), clad in shimmery red dress, gloves and high heels. Both numbers drew hearty applause.
The new film acknowledges longtime fans with scenes incorporating showing theatregoers responding to plot and character cues, a situation that has played out thousands of times in real life.
Cox, who wasn’t present Thursday, is “just truly a force of nature. She’s extraordinary. She has a fiveoctave range, a degree in dance, she’s an Emmy nominee,” director Kenny Ortega said after the panel. “The woman is so deeply gifted and (she) so surrendered herself to every moment in the making of this movie.”
He also pointed out the significance of having Cox, a transgender woman, in the lead role, after an audience member talked about Rocky Horror screenings being a safe place where members of the LGBT community could just be themselves.
The new cast, which also includes Christina Milian as Magenta and Reeve Carney as Riff Raff, showed strong singing and dancing skills, but faces a tough yardstick in the inevitable comparisons to such indelible performances as Richard O’Brien’s menacing, out-of-control Time Warp yell or original FrankN-Furter Tim Curry’s salacious, arch Transvestite performance. They remain the standards. (Curry now plays the stuffy criminologist who narrates.)
Lou Adler, a producer of both the 1975 film and the current version (with Gail Berman), said he was pleased and a little relieved by the audience response.