It’s taken me a day to get around to writing this because I simply cannot contain just how mad this makes me. But its happening, and none of us can really stop it. So… here goes… the infamous FOX network have decided to remake the cherished and loved Rocky Horror Picture Show as a tv movie.
Recently my friends came round and we watched the original version, with the volume up high and reciting all of the words to all of the songs as they happened. It’s a movie that although has corny and cheap special effects that are simply comical, still stacks up today and its a great watch. I honestly recommend it, and I can’t believe it’s been 40 years. The trailer for the new release on the other hand… looks well… awful.
Firstly, all we’ve seen from the trailer so far is a brief selection of the casting, and the fact that it appears to be a shot for shot remake of the original. Both of which annoy me greatly. Why both if you’re just going to do a shot for shot remake? You may as well just run the original in the time slot and leave it at that. Maybe I’ll be wrong and they’ll take a different direction with it, or do something new with the source material and universe, which could be kind of interesting. It would at least be a good reason for a reboot.
The other problem I’m really having with this is Laverne Cox as Frank N Furter. Yes. That’s right. The Orange is The New Black star is taking up the mantle of Tim Curry and whereas I have literally no issue with trans people being in films and tv shows, I take one big issue with this. That issue is the definition of a sweet transvestite.
Cox being trans is not the same thing as a transvestite. This kind of oversight and ignorance towards gender and expression is exactly the kind of thing FOX would pull though. With their long history of just not getting it. I just don’t see how execs and directors and producers and all the many people involved with making this show didn’t stop for a second to think “hey wait, is there a difference between transgender people and transvestites?” Because the answer is a huge resounding yes.
Casting Cox isn’t just inappropriate for the role, its also somewhat offensive to trans people. Transvestite is often used as a slur towards trans people, trans women especially. Trans people are also often not taken seriously when searching for help and this often means they fail to get any help for the things they’re struggling with for years. Often due to the belief that their expression of their gender is simply fetishism, ie transvestitism. Putting them through years of stress and pain for no good reason. Likening trans people to transvestites is fairly offensive and can cause a lot of problems.
Neither of those things are bad or wrong or anything like that, but facilitating the confusion between them and allowing the comparison is kind of silly in our trans accepting modern world.
I’m not really one of those “You shouldn’t offend people ever!!!” or “Trans people should play trans roles, and black people should play black roles!!!!” type people. I think that actors can take on the roles of anyone, that’s what they do, they’re actors. And I think that being offended is entirely on you as an individual to manage. That’s really not what this is about. I guess I’m just upset to take a beloved film and make a remake when literally nobody wanted it. I’ll find holes to pick in it either way, because I’m supremely biased – but unfortunately for FOX, people like me are the majority.
So FOX, if you’re reading this… please… don’t do this. It doesn’t need to be done, nobody wants it, and its only going to get a terrible reception from nearly everyone ever. Rose tinted our world on screen once, lets leave it that way.