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- October 09, 2000
- Vol. 54
- No. 15
Let's Do the Time Warp Again
In 1975, a Movie Musical About a Hopelessly Square Couple Who Washed Up on the Doorstep of a Cross-Dressing Transylvanian Scientist Left Cringing Audiences Crying for Less. Then a Funny Thing Happened: a Growing Legion of Passionate Fans, Turning Up in Costume at Midnight Screenings Around the Country, Helped Turn The Rocky Horror Picture Show into the Campiest Sing-Along Ever. Now, 25 Years and Some $150 Million Later, the Cast of Rocky Horror Looks Back at Their Schlock-and-Roll Smash
"People come up and say, 'This show changed my life,' " notes O'Brien, 58, who wrote the original 1973 show (being revived on Broadway this fall) and played hunchbacked Riff Raff in the film. It changed his: While out of work, the actor wrote Horror because "I wanted to write a show that was as exciting as a rock concert." Still, the U.K. native has never been able to repeat its success: Shock Treatment, his '81 follow-up, electrified few. O'Brien, who has three children from two marriages and lives in London, has few illusions about his masterpiece. "It's trash," he says proudly. "Lovingly handcrafted trash."
Ill with pneumonia from working in the rain, the musical novice had a rocky time during the two-month shoot in England. The actress, 53, who lives in Manhattan with Tim Robbins, 41, their sons Jack, 11, and Miles, 8, and daughter Eva, 15 (by ex-beau Franco Amurri), hopes future generations enjoy her efforts. "It thrills me," she once said, "that my grandchildren may see their grandmother in her half-slip and bra, seducing a monster."
Performing in his skivvies didn't embarrass Bostwick, a Broadway vet (in 1972 he'd been the original Danny Zuko in Grease) who played dorky Brad Majors. But he was concerned about his health. "We shot in an old abandoned manor house" in Windsor, England, he recalls. "The rain came onto the set. Susan [Sarandon] and I would be freezing. Then we'd stand in front of these jet-like heaters. So we were either too cold—or singeing our patooties." The discomfort paid off: TV veteran Bostwick, 55, who has two children, Brian, 5, and Chelsea, 4, with second wife Sherri Ellen, thinks Horror helped him land his current role as the mayor on ABC's Spin City. "The image in the industry," he says with a laugh, "is that I'm a hip actor."
The fishnet-flashing Curry won cult stardom as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, going on to numerous TV and film roles and cutting a few pop albums. But the English actor—a villain in this fall's Charlie's Angels movie—isn't eager to look back: He skipped a 20th-anniversary gala in '95, explaining that showing up would be "a grim anticlimax." Costar Nell Campbell says Curry, 54, who is single and lives in L.A., "is shy. After he took off the costume, he was back to regular Tim. He didn't carry the part around with him."
When filming was finished, Hinwood, the model who played Rocky, Dr. Frank-N-Furter's hard-bodied creation, dropped from sight. Now 54 and an art-and-antiques dealer in London, he gives three reasons why he chose not to milk his Horror moment. "One, I can't act. Two, I cringe with embarrassment every time I see myself on film. Three, I relish a quiet, peaceful life." Still, the film had its benefits: Six years ago he rediscovered the gold hot pants he wore in the film and sold them through an auction house—for nearly $1,000.
To fans, Quinn is known both as Magenta and the lips in the opening credits. To hide her face for that task, "they put a cloth over the camera with a hole in it," she says, "and put my head in clamps." The Londoner, 56 (who has a son from the first of two marriages), became Lady Stephens (and pals with Prince Charles) when her late husband, actor Robert Stephens, was knighted in '95. But that doesn't keep her from Horror conventions. "I never tire of it," she says. "I'm in it."
The native Aussie was waitressing in London in the early '70s when, "to make the day go faster," she began tap dancing while serving. Horror creator O'Brien saw her and cast her as tin-voiced Columbia. After stints as a singer and Manhattan club owner, Campbell, 47, is now a journalist and mom to Matilda, 2, whose dad is beau Eamon Roche, 36. The film, she says, "wasn't Shakespeare. We pretty much just had a blast."
The singer, 53, who lives in L.A. with wife Leslie, 49, mother of his two daughters, signed on for roles in the L.A. stage show without reading a script—and nearly quit when he saw Curry's cross-dressing act ("I turned to a friend and said, 'I'm gone, man' "). By the time he finished filming his role as Eddie, "I didn't want to leave. I was having so much fun."
Written by: Dan Jewel
Reported by: Pete Norman in London, Michael Fleeman and Elizabeth Leonard in Los Angeles and Bob Meadows in New York City
- Pete Norman,
- Michael Fleeman,
- Elizabeth Leonard,
- Bob Meadows.
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