Ryan McCartan is no stranger to taking on roles from movies that were made before he was born. In the stage musical of HEATHER: THE MUSICAL he played “J.D.” a rebel with a death wish based on a movie from 1988. Now he can be found playing Brad in the remake of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, based on the movie from 1975. So it’s safe to say he doesn’t shy away from potentially controversial characters. THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW on Fox October 20th, 2016.
When did you first become aware of this movie and story?
“My relationship to Rocky Horror probably started when I was younger than my parents would like me to admit. My sister as doing a production of the theatre musical on stage in St. Paul, Minnesota and we went and saw her. I was 12 or 13. Immediately feel in love. Then someone told me there was a movie and I thought “what?!” and I watched the movie. I’ve been in love with this story, the music, and these characters, especially Brad from a very young age. This was a huge character bucket list thing for me and an absolute dream come true. It’s so iconic and its messages and all the things it unlocked and explored ere certainly y not lost on me as a kid and are not lost on me now. So to pay homage to such an amazing work and jump in and recreate it for generations of people who may be haven’t heard of it before was something that I was so excited to do.”
Since this is made with the same script as the movie itself, and not the stage play, are there any differences that were made to the story?
“I think the biggest dissimilarity between the two productions is sort of the awareness of what we had. When they made ROCKY HORROR in the 70’s they had no idea it would become this 41 year phenomenon that’s it has become. It was made with two hundred thousand dollars, it was made for fun, and to mock B horror movies and I think it was going to be a fun little thing on the shelf that no one was going to see. It has become what it has become and we have that awareness. But we also have from that awareness a very deep respect and veneration for what the project is, and all of us are such fans and I think that really comes through. Like Reeve said, it’s the same script and it’s the same story. We did a really, really good job of preserving the story and making sure that the story remained intact. It is a different cast of characters as far as the actors are concerned and it’s a different time, so I think that this is 2016 and not the 1970’s makes it so different on it’s one on that fact.”
What do you think this new reimagining brings to the table in 2016?
“There’s almost a historical and sociocultural commentary on looking on what we had in the 70’s and what we have now, I think it really showcases how far we have come as a culture. I don’t think the 70’s the original picture was missing anything, but I don’t think they had the permissions that we have now to do what we did. So to bring Laverne on and have her be such an incredible influencer and be in the spotlight for who she is, and what she’s done, and what she speaks for and what she represents, that’s something that we get to do now in 2016. I think that’s so amazing. Just the fact that that the movie happened in of itself says so much about what people are willing to watch and what they’re willing to take in. I think that goes to show how much good things came from the original picture; how many doors were unlocked, how much permission was granted to the world to accept the kind of people that we now accept.”
Is there any worry about how a fandom that is 40 plus years old will react to this remake?
“As far as the fans are concerned, I think that when you remake anything there are always going to be some naysayers and that’s ok I can respect that. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think it’s really important to remake things. If you never remake the classics no one would know Shakespeare. I think that’s a really important thing and for the people that aren’t into it, and I really respect that, that’s fine, I haven’t been into remakes before and that’s fine. However, I really do think that for the fans who give it a chance they’ll be really, really pleased. We’re not trying to beat the original. We are really trying to pay homage to it and bring it back into this amazing celebratory fold that it’s lived in. ROCKY HORROR is not a movie it’s a movement. It is a made by the fans, and it is what it is because of what the fans have done. So we just want a resurgence of the vocalization from the fans to make ROCKY HORROR as big as it always has been.”
What was it like working with Tim Curry on this project?
“Tim is one of the nicest men; he was very generous with his time. In Toronto we didn’t see him a lot, but in Los Angeles where we were doing the pre-records he would show up to the studio, even when he wasn’t working just to sit there to just to hang out and to tell us stories. Not even talk about ROCKY HORROR but to just kind of talk about his life and out life. He became a friend to us. Having him and Lou Adler, the original producer who produced this as well, they felt like godfathers to us. It made us feel like we had permission to do what we did.”
Are you ready to do see the light over Frankenstein place? Check out Ryan and the rest of the cast of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW on October 20th, on Fox at 8pm. Check your local listing for more information. See you at the Castle Transylvania!
Photo Credit: Fox Productions