Comic-Con fans ap­plaud Fox’s new Rocky Hor­ror

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E -

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.

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