Laverne Cox, TV's most prominent transgender actress and star of "Orange Is the New Black," has been cast in Fox's "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" as the most prominent -- also most outrageous, interesting and compulsively memorable -- character: Dr. Frank-N-Furter.
Cox -- best known as Sophia Burset on "Orange Is the New Black" -- suddenly puts Fox's remake of the (very) long-running "Rocky Horror Picture Show" back in the news. Fox announced the remake, or "reimagining," some time ago; fans were skeptical (of course they would be); and then it was forgotten ... That's a bit understandable: It will air in fall 2016; no need to check calendars: That's a year away, or a century in TV terms.
Cox -- as Frank-N-Furter, played by Tim Curry in Jim Sharman's 1975 big-screen version -- has a big challenge. Notably the obvious: Will generations of fans who have seen this hundreds of times even begin to accept someone else in the role besides Curry?
Fox, which announced late Wednesday, cited some reasons why:
"Laverne Cox is an Emmy Award-nominated actress who is best known for portraying the groundbreaking role of transgender inmate "Sophia Burset" on the hit series "Orange Is The New Black." She is the first transwoman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted television show. Cox recently added another drama to her resume as the lead of the CBS pilot "Doubt.""
The network also offered this capsule description of the remake, which doesn't even begin to explain the titanic oddities and eccentricities of the original film that has run longer (nearly 40 years) than many of its fans have been alive:
"The Rocky Horror Picture Show follows sweethearts Janet Weiss and Brad Majors, who stumble upon Dr. Frank-N-Furter's bizarre abode. Frank-N-Furter, a sexually ambiguous flirtatious alien mad-scientist, is holding an annual, Transylvanian science convention to showcase the birth of "Rocky Horror" -- a fit, attractive man created solely to fulfill Frank's desires."
So a few key casting decisions remain to be made: Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon back in the '75 film); Brad Majors (who was Barry Bostwick), and also ... Riff Raff, Magenta, Rocky Horror ... The list goes on and on.