When fans first heard that Fox was planning on airing a new version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show—“restaged” and “reimagined” as a live television event—many rolled their eyes. How could this cult classic musical, which is as edgy and transgressive today as it was when it premiered forty years ago in movie theaters (maybe even more so), be done justice on network television? Especially when the man behind the camera is Kenny Ortega, someone best known for wholesome teeny-bopper fare like High School Musical?
Well, as announced today by Deadline, the TV version of Rocky Horror might have just done their first smart movie in getting the approval of fans, as it was revealed that Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox is set to play the role of Dr. Frank N. Furter. Cox made history recently as the first transgender person ever to receive an Emmy nomination.
On top of her work on the show, Cox has been an amazing advocate and spokesperson for transgender people all over the world, even gracing the cover of Time Magazine. The part of alien/transvestite/mad scientist Frank N. Furter—first made famous in a now legendary performance by Tim Curry—is arguably the most important character in the show, and getting the right actor for the part is crucial to the success or failure of this production.
The new version of Rocky Horror is being brought to life by producer Gail Berman and original Rocky producer Lou Adler, and has been in development for a while now. Originally hoping to air this year, in time for Rocky’s 40th Anniversary, the new version is now set to air on Fox in the Fall of 2016, probably in October. So while it may be a year before this comes to life, at least now it’s something fans can kind of cautiously anticipate, instead of just dreading.
Just please…no Justin Bieber as Rocky. Don’t get any wild notions Fox.