Rare Interview: Tim Curry Discusses The Rocky Horror Picture Show, During the Week of Its Release (1975)

A defining role can be both blessing and curse. In August of 1975, the week the The Rocky Horror Picture Show opened, its 29-year-old star, Tim Curry gave an interview to STOIC, the Student Television Of Imperial College.

In between clips of Curry’s Frank-n-Furter sashaying through such destined-to-become cult favorites as “Sweet Transvestite” and “The Time Warp,” in fishnets, merry widow, and maquillage designed by David Bowie’s personal makeup artist, the actor entertained questions…in luscious black and white!

Kudos to the young interviewer, Mark Caldwell, for never interrupting or trying to elbow his way into the spotlight with jokey asides or double entendres. The reward is a serious consideration of the filmmaking process and the actor’s craft.

(Bear in mind that it would be at least a year until midnight audiences at New York’s Waverly Theater started throwing toast, rice, and toilet paper at the screen, thus initiating an entire script’s worth of audience participation.)

Having originated the role on the London stage (he auditioned with Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti”) and reprised it in L.A., Curry was clearly ready to put some space between himself and his iconic creation, announcing—correctly, as it turns out—that any sequels would have to proceed without him.

Then he clammed up for three decades, refusing to discuss his most iconic role until 2005, when he broke the silence during an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air .

It’s clear that Curry saw the making of the film as a serious business, but Rocky Horror fans will find plenty of juicy morsels to feed their obsession. Even virgins will enjoy the story of Frank’s evolving accent —from middle European to “Belgravia Hostess with the Mostest.”

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday

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Comments (7)
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  • Colin Grimshaw says:

    Thanks so much for this article about our video with Tim Curry that we shot 40 years ago now! Mark Caldwell, the interviewer, also appreciated your comments about the way he conducted the interview. In fact, this was an approach we took with all the interviews we recorded, that was, to allow the guest to talk and not be interrupted.

    Colin Grimshaw

  • Ayun says:

    Thank you so much for your kind words, Colin, and also for sharing the post with Mark. STOIC’s approach can’t be beat!

  • Tom Payton says:

    What an incredibly awesome video, article and links! I saw the RHPS at the midnight matinee probably close to 50 times in Glendale, CA in 1978 or 1979 as a teenager. Great times for sure! Then, on New Years Eve, 2013 I was lucky enough to see a live stage version in Fresno, CA that was simply fantastic! I can’t imagine how spectacular it would have been to see Tim Curry perform at the Roxy Theater back in the early ’70’s! Great memories!

  • delete skout says:

    Love Tim Curry – Clue was my favourite movie as a kid. I had no idea he suffered a stroke. Hoping he continues to feel better & stronger.

  • Emma says:

    In no way was that an interview.

  • Carl Russo says:

    Well, no, Curry didn’t clam up about RHPS. Here he is in a San Francisco interview after it had became a cult phenom:


  • Vicki J Renoux says:

    Absolutely the best of Tim Curry! Sealed me as a fan forever!!

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