OpinionTelevision & Film

Recasting Rocky Horror

I’ve decided to take a brief break from my normal Sci-Tech writing for this one.  A few years ago, MTV announced it was going to do a two-hour television remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  That project seems to have fizzled out.  But now there’s a listing on the Internet Movie Database of a remake scheduled for 2015, and only three producers (one producer and two executive producers) are listed.  I’m starting to think that the project has been optioned with no immediate plans for production.

A lot of fans were outraged when MTV announced its intention to remake RHPS.  There was a completely opposite reaction to the performance on GLEE.  But I think it’s only a matter of time before a remake happens.  And if it happens, will it be done right? Can they really improve on what has come before?

For the uninitiated (or “virgins” as they’re called), when it was first made, The Rocky Horror Picture Show was a stage show that spoofed the sci-fi and horror films of the 1940s through the 1970s.  It was a fairly successful show.  So they made it into a movie. It bombed.  Almost.  It was successful in a movie theater in the Los Angeles area where people would flock to the theater to shout things back at the movie and generally make fun of it.  Thus a phenomenon was born.  Even the stage show has audience participation.  Actors are often annoyed when that happens.  (Did they actually think they were auditioning for King Lear, The House of Blue Leaves, or Death of a Salesman???  It’s THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW!!!)  It’s now the longest-running film in cinema history, being in constant release since the late ’70s.

I’m sure that a remake is inevitable.  And with remakes, there is usually change.  Any changes would have to keep in the current spirit of Rocky Horror.  Part of that is getting the right people to play the right parts.  My sister and I have been bouncing around a dream cast for a while.  While Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, and Meat Loaf were unknowns when they did the original movie, let’s see what famous actors could aptly fill the roles.

Tim Burton – Director

Rocky Horror would be a perfect fit for Tim Burton, and he would be a perfect fit for Rocky Horror.  Don’t believe me?  Just watch Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or pretty much any other Tim Burton movie.  He has the artistic style, creepy but fun in a twisted sort of cartoonish way, that fits RHPS perfectly.

Johnny Depp – Dr. Frank-N-Furter

For Frank, it would be tough to find someone to aptly fill Tim Curry’s high-heeled pumps.  Johnny Depp not only works well (and often) with Tim Burton, he also has talent, style, and flair, as well as a look that could portray the role.  Depp also tends to not only play a part right, but also add a bit to a role that makes the character a whole lot better.  He is also used to playing odd characters.  The only other deciding factor would be how well he can rock those fishnet stockings.

Ryan Reynolds and Reese Witherspoon – Brad Majors and Janet Weiss

I have to admit that I was originally thinking about Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar for Brad and Janet.  But instead I’ll say the successors to Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon should be Ryan Reynolds and Weese Witherspoon.  (Yes, I know it’s “Reese”.  But with Barry Bostwick, Susan Sarandon, and Ryan Reynolds, I was on a roll with the whole Superman character naming convention.)

Reese is a fantastic comedic actress who has the look and the expressions to pull off the role of “Slut” (as Janet is affectionately known by fans of RHPS). And with her range and acting background, it’s hard to deny that she would make a fantastic Janet.  Ryan Reynolds is a marvelous actor himself.  He can definitely pull of a convincing “A**hole” (again, in the RHPS fan vernacular).  He has shown quite a range himself, playing everything from college students to merc-with-a-mouth Deadpool, a character whose madness is so extreme that he actually thinks he’s Green Lantern!  Now that’s acting!

Jim Carrey – Riff-Raff

Who better to play everybody’s favorite handyman than the rubber-faced man himself, Jim Carrey!  (Oh, come on.  Tell me you don’t totally see that.)  Sure he’s played Ace Ventura, a lawyer who can’t lie, Fire Marshall Bill, Andy Kaufman, and other great roles.  But nothing can top a career like that better than playing Riff-Raff!  Carrey would be the ideal choice to succeed RHPS creator and writer Richard O’Brien for the balding Transylvanian.

Helena Bonham Carter – Magenta

The ideal Magenta would be none other than Tim Burton’s main squeeze, Helena Bonham Carter.  She works with him and Depp quite often and has the look and qualities to play the Domestic to perfection.  And with the range of roles she’s done, Carter can certainly play two extremes of Magenta, the domestic goddess and the alien sister of Riff-Raff who takes command away from Frank and … What?  Spoilers?  You mean you haven’t seen it yet?  Well, get to the theater and see it then!

Katy Perry – Columbia

I was originally thinking that this would be a great part for a relatively unknown talent straight off of Broadway.  My sister originally thought Amy Pohler would be the right choice.  Then came the answer:  Katy Perry!  She could pull it off!  Perry would be a great successor to Nell “Little Nell” Campbell!  No, really, she would!

Richard Griffiths – Dr. Everett V. Scott

Now we need someone to play the rival scientist, Dr. Scott.  The choice?  Richard Griffiths, who portrayed Uncle Vernon Dursley in the Harry Potter films, is a natural choice.  Just give him a suit and a wheelchair and he could definitely “roll” with it.

Heath Slater – Rocky Horror

The actor that should play Rocky should be able to pull off a brainless beefcake.  Originally, I was thinking of Chris Evans (Captain America), but nobody would buy him being brainless.  So we look toward the world of professional wrestling.  While John Cena has played many a cheesy role, I think Heath Slater would do better in fitting the Rocky Horror bill.

Jack Black – Eddie

In order to fill the role made famous by Meat Loaf, that of ex-delivery boy Eddie, you need someone who is both an excellent actor and a superb rocker.  Well hot patootie, bless my soul, that would be none other than Tenacious D singer and star of School of Rock Jack Black!  Go ahead.  Disagree.  You’d be wrong.

Alan Rickman – The Criminologist

Yes, I know that he has a neck.  But I still think Alan Rickman would be awesome in the role of The Criminologist!  Imagine the Time Warp interruptions with Alan Rickman doing the interrupting.  He should have the hair and beard as when he portrayed Hans Grüber in Die Hard and a tweed jacket.  Perfect!  I also thought about George Takei for this role.  It would have been funny when Rocky is revealed, when Frank seduces Janet, and when he seduces Brad, to cut to Takei saying, “Oh, myyyy.”  But I just can’t shake off the awesome epicness of that Rickman deadpan.

So there you have it, the ultimate ideal cast for a remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show!  Hollywood, are you listening?  Now if you excuse me, I’m going to go do the Time Warp … again!


Daniel C. Handley

Dan Handley was raised a Trekkie, fell in love with "Star Wars" at an early age, and became obsessed with comic book superheroes. He spent his youth dreaming of how to get real superpowers, starships, and so on.

8 thoughts on “Recasting Rocky Horror

  • Though the original stage show was called’ The Rocky Horror Show”. It wasn’t called “Picture Show” until the movie. =oP

    • Oops. The original stage show was before my time. I’ve never seen the live show, but I’m quite familiar with the movie. I probably should have done a little bit of research on the stage show (even though the article was primarily about the film).

  • Colombia should be played by Sutton Foster of Bun Heads, who also starred in many broadway musicals. She has the acting/ singing / dancing chops. Katie Perry might have the look but she doesn’t have two of those three things. Other than that I agree with all of your other RH picks.

    • True, she would make a great Columbia. If Katy Perry doesn’t sign … or maybe Perry would be number two.

      Now I just need to figure out who to replace Richard Griffiths since he recently passed away.


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