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Fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, you may want to hold onto your toast for this one. Fox is planning to remake the 40-year-old cult classic, bringing the Time Warp and that Sweet Transvestite to your TV.
EW reports that the network plans to rework the quintessential midnight movie into a two-hour television event helmed by Kenny Ortega, the man behind the High School Musical trilogy, The Cheetah Girls 2, and Hocus Pocus. That should be interesting. Buffy the Vampire Slayer producer Gail Berman is also involved, as is original Rocky Horror producer Lou Adler. Don’t expect a new writer, however, as they plan to adhere to the script from Jim Sharman and Richard O’Brien’s original 1973 stage production.
While on the surface this seems to fit in with the larger TV trend of musicals, like the recent Sound of Music and Fox’s own upcoming Grease, there is one key difference. Rocky Horror will not be live. Part of the reason for this approach is because of casting concerns. The idea of performing on TV without the safety net of multiple takes and editing, especially when talking about a musical, has apparently made many actors reluctant to sign on. With something as beloved at The Rocky Horror Picture Show, you don’t presume they’ll have too difficult a time filling out the cast.
Content is going to be an interesting part of this drama to watch unfold, as sex it definitely the name of the game here. Regulations have certainly changed over the four decades since Rocky Horror hit movie theaters, and the movie is more sexual innuendo and double entendre than it is explicit—in this day and age it might only get a PG-13 rating. Still, it sounds like this is planned as a big event, as a primetime spectacle, and if they do stick close to the source, it might be a little bit racy for some viewers. Then again, maybe not, what you can get away with on TV is pushing boundaries further and further.
When The Rocky Horror Picture Show was released in 1975 it flopped, but almost immediately found new life on the burgeoning midnight movie circuit. Before long, devoted fans were showing up weekend after weekend. People arrived in costume, groups enacted the onscreen action live, and an intricate series of audience participation cues evolved. This includes everything from dancing along to the Time Warp to throwing toast, hot dogs, and toilet paper, and, in some instances, Eddie/Meat Loaf lookalikes riding motorcycles up theater aisles. That one doesn’t happen as much anymore. A lot of theaters forbid throwing things because it’s a pain in the ass to clean up.
There’s no casting news for The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the moment, and they haven’t even released a date yet, so there’s still time for it to fall apart. Do you hope that happens, or are you all for this?