When we got news of The Rocky Horror Picture Show remake, we had two reactions. The first, most obvious one, was WHY THE HELL ARE THEY DOING THIS? But the second was a gleeful recasting of the film, ’cause if we’re getting a new Rocky, we want it to be an EPIC new Rocky. So here are our picks for Rocky 2016 or whatever. Let us know what you think!
Okay, let’s get the straight-laced, humorless Brad out of the way first. If we’re playing up the character’s youthful inexperience, look no further than Grant Gustin of Glee and The Flash—he excels at the sort of over-eager youthfulness that is summarily destroyed by Frank’s revels. Plus he’s got the height, hair, and dopey grin of a young Barry Bostwick, but enough charisma to make the role all his own. Of course, if we want a slightly more mature take on Brad, there’s always Dulé Hill, who could perfectly capture the character’s restrained anger at being surrounded by all these weirdos. And how fun would it be for Hill’s Brad to tap dance along with Columbia? But more importantly, either actor could nail the deadpan humor required of the role.
You have to make a choice with Janet. Is she going to be the innocent young fiancé, slowly corrupted by the attentions of Frank N. Furter? Or is she in on the joke from the start—more experienced than she looks, and just waiting for the opportunity to learn the Time Warp? The unironically wide-eyed version is perfect for Anna Kendrick, fresh off her turn as Cinderella in Into the Woods. It would be fun to watch her give in to the decadence of her new Transsexual Transylvanian friends, and she could give a fuller singing voice to the character than Sarandon’s breathier take. But if you want a little more snark in your Janet, the obvious choice is Alison Brie. She killed it in her ridiculous Betty Boop-like performance of “Silly Christmas Baby” on Community, and she could easily lay waste to the libidos of both Frank and Rocky.
He’s kind of aged out of Brad, but how about Stephen Colbert for Dr. Scott? Please? We’re used to seeing him a bit more clean-cut behind a fake news desk, but let him grow a beard and he’s already halfway to being Brad’s absent-minded professor. He’s already proven his musical chops in Company, plus he’ll nail the physicality that the wheelchair-bound role requires. And his take on “Eddie’s Teddy” would be something to behold.
Having tackled the insanity of Burlesque, Kristen Bell is more than ready for RHPS. We think she’d bring a certain sweetness to the role, but she’s also got enough sass to nail the manic fangirl aspect. And now that she’s a bonafide Disney princess, we think she’d look swell in Mickey Mouse ears. We also really like the idea of what Nicki Minaj would do with her tap-dancing “Time Warp” solo, taking it far beyond sanity and then some. She’s also great at character voices and would have no trouble redesigning the look and feel of the part—the traditional Columbia garb could do with an update, and Minaj is a damned queen when it comes to style. She looks great in shiny hats. She was born for this.
How do you top the iconic performance of Meat Loaf? (We ask this question to ourselves every day.) Well, if you want to cast a boy, there would be no better boy than Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He can sing, looks really good as a greaser, and would put his own, non-Meat-Loafian stamp on the role. But it might be even more fun to gender-swap Eddie, because then you can cast Rebel Wilson. Incredible swagger, great voice, delightfully in-your-face every second—she’d drive in on a motorcycle and steal our hearts. Forget Rocky. All we see is Eddie.
If we want to continue down this gender-swapping path, Alan Cumming would look utterly fetching in the French maid outfit, and he could breathe a little more life into Magenta’s typically flat affect. Than again, the gorgeous, crazy-eyed, hilarious, soon-to-be-buster-of-ghosts Kate McKinnon, would make an excellent neo-Magenta! Her penchant for spot-on celebrity impersonations and making even the most minor characters shine in Saturday Night Live means we would love to see her opposite her brother and fellow alien…
Honestly, we want Janelle Monae for every single part. If she wanted to do it as a one-android-show, where the whole thing took place in her mind? We’d be on board. If she wanted to do an insane Metropolis/RHPS mash-up? We are already in the theater right now. Barring those, we think that she’d make an astounding Riff Raff. But if we’re going the more traditional route, how about Neil Patrick Harris? After his turn in the Broadway revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, we know he could hit all the right notes in “Science Fiction Double Feature.” NPH’s version may be a little too smirking for some people, so we also considered Tom Hiddleston… but only if he keeps his lanky mane from Only Lovers Left Alive, and his creepy toothy smile from the Marvel movies.
Rocky has to start off vacant, and slowly become a compelling victim, and he has to do it in gold booty shorts. Chris Pine proved he was a natural tongue-in-cheek musical star with Into the Woods’ “Agony”; and if you look at the evidence above, he could clearly rock an ironic cheesecake weightlifting scene. He also spends all of his time as Captain Kirk making puppy faces and getting into trouble. Our other thought was The Rock, because, come on, this would be hilarious, and he can play a sweetie-pie like nobody else (except maybe Terry Crews). The idea of him towering over Janet with a big, dopey grin, or the silent takes he would have to give every time Frank called “Rocky!” would be worth admission alone.
Frank N. Furter
Can anyone fill Tim Curry’s platform boots? Honestly, probably not, but of everyone we threw around, we came up with two excellent candidates. Lee Pace can wear the hell out of some makeup, can vanish effortlessly into his roles, and has already played one smoky dame in Soldier’s Girl. He’d bring out Frank’s darker side with a curl of his sanguine lips. The Rock would have to be his Rocky because Pace is one of the few people with the presence (and height) to handle that much man. But how could we pass up the chance to give John Barrowman a go at the mad doctor? He could belt the hell out of “Sweet Transvestite,” and would treat his new friends Brad and Janet like a personal buffet. Put that man in heels and a corset, stat. We figure he’d be paired best with Chris Pine’s Rocky, as his Frank would prefer someone he could yank around a little. It would be Torchwood all over again, except this time, he’d be the alien. It would do Jack Harkness proud.
BONUS: The Criminologist
The Criminologist doesn’t get too much of a role, so you want someone like RuPaul, who can make an impression in only a few seconds. Either persona (or both!) should work great.
So how did we do? Be sure to add your own picks in the comments!