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- Kenny Ortega
Your favorite doctor from Transsexual, Transylvania, is back: EW has the exclusive reveal of Laverne Cox as Dr. Frank-N-Furter. The Orange Is the New Black star (seen here with Ben Vereen as Dr. Scott) takes on the role that Tim Curry originated both on stage and in the classic 1975 film.
“I get tweets from people, ‘Please don’t f— up Rocky Horror Picture Show!’ ” says Cox, laughing. “I showed my brother pictures of me in character and he was like, ‘You were preparing your whole life for this.’ ”
You may notice that this Frank has a somewhat different look, and that’s by design (the costumes for this Show are by Tony-winner William Ivey Long). “We were on set and a reporter saw me and said I looked like the love child of Grace Jones and David Bowie. I said ‘That’s exactly right.’ I think we mix up the look more than they did in the original,” Cox explains. “It’s inspired by the original but it’s really our own take. It’s way more elaborate and couture. [Director] Kenny Ortega had this vision that Frank was at this old theater and found these old burlesque costumes and is, like, using them and wearing them now but has altered them a bit.”
Cox calls the experience “magical” and even a little bit life-changing when it comes to the musical numbers. “When I started training again last year, I started working my chest voice,” she says on the Toronto set. “As a trans woman with a low voice, I had been so afraid of those low tones. This is a character where it’s absolutely appropriate that I sing in the base baritone register that I have. What’s also fun is playing with those higher notes in my register too. This is sort of my professional singing debut. But it’s been wonderful claiming my chest voice. It’s been really healing.”
Fox’s Rocky Horror Picture Show airs this fall and also features Reeve Carney (Riff Raff), Christina Milian (Magenta), Annaleigh Ashford (Columbia), Victoria Justice (Janet), Ryan McCartan (Brad), Adam Lambert (Eddie), and a cameo by Curry himself as the Narrator.
See more photos from the revamped Rocky Horror here, and for more exclusive first looks, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands Friday, or buy it here – and subscribe now for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.