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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