How Victoria Justice Lost Her 'Rocky Horror' Virginity
The 23-year-old actress and singer was no "virgin" to the cult classic movie that inspired the new musical production -- her mom initiated her when she was a teenager -- and was eager to capture a few of the nuances established by the original Janet Weiss, actress Susan Sarandon. But Justice also knew that this was her shot to put her own stamp on the role as well.
"I wanted to push myself," Justice revealed to Moviefone and a small group of press at Fox's press tour for the Television Critics Association, "because I wanted to find ad‑libs and find things that were different and kind of make it my own."
What do you love most about Janet?
Victoria Justice: I think what I love most about Janet would have to be -- I mean, I love her character arc, as an actor, that was so much fun to play. Starting off as this very demure girl who just wants to love Brad, and her world revolves around Brad and she just wants to get married and have the white picket fence life so badly.
And then, when she enters the castle to meet Dr. Frank N. Furter, for her whole world to be flipped upside down, and for her to kind of come to terms with her own sexuality and have this sexual awakening was so super liberating to play and was so much fun for me.
How did you like her wardrobe?
Oh, I loved the wardrobe. Even though 80 percent of my wardrobe is a bra and a slip! But the wardrobe of the entire movie is absolutely incredible. William Ivey Long, who is a Tony Award-winning Broadway designer, custom made everything, so it's beautiful -- so colorful!
What was challenging and new to you as an actor?
I think what was challenging and new for me was having this character that's already been created and played so well by Susan Sarandon. Wanting to pay homage to certain parts of the movie and certain choices she made and little nuances, but also not wanting to copy her.
And I wanted to keep the classic Janet voice, where she kind of talks in this higher register, and it's just a lot more sweet and saccharin in a lot of ways -- but not copying her. So I think that was probably the biggest challenge was watching the movie and remembering certain things that I wanted to keep, but then also forgetting the rest of it, so I could be inspired on my own.
With the song "Touch Me," how did you make it your own?
Well, I don't know! I'm excited for everyone to hear it so they can experience it that for themselves and make their own decisions about it. But I think the production is a little bit different. It's still staying very true to the original song -- all the lyrics are the same; the Melodies are the same. We didn't want to mess with those, obviously. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
But it's more of like a modernized production. It's kind of almost like a Quentin Tarantino, sexy kind of twang to it in the beginning, which is really fun. And I think I was able to kind of throw in some new ad‑libs. That was really cool for me. I do all kinds of fun stuff.
You first saw the original "Rocky Horror" when you were 15. What do you think is age appropriate for this version?
I think that's up to the parents to make that choice. It is airing on Fox, so even though the story is the same, the script is the same, it's not anything so scandalous that it wouldn't be able to air on network TV. So, really, I think it's just up to the parents' discretion if they are comfortable showing their kids.
But I think if I was a parent, I'd totally be down to show my 5th grader! I'd be like, 'This is a classic. You need to know these songs. You need to get familiar with these characters. You need to know who Tim Curry is." And then we would watch the original after.
What are the things that you responded to when you first saw it, and then when you re-explored it later?
So many things! I mean, I remember seeing "Time Warp" for the first time and just freaking out. All the characters -- like how they were so weird and out there. I literally had never seen anything like it in my life. It was shocking and opened a whole new world in a way, seeing "Time Warp" being performed and just how quirky it was.
And also -- oh my God! -- seeing Tim Curry singing "Sweet Transvestite" is one of the greatest performances in film history. He is absolutely incredible. And so, all of that, I think, really stuck with me. And the costumes and just how outrageous it was. I was like, "This is so cool! I didn't know a world like this existed."
And then I think, when I started rehearsals for this movie, we all really got in touch with the kind of sexuality of it. Our first day of rehearsal, Kenny [Ortega, the director] had us all do an exercise together where we basically walk around the room with all the dancers and all the actors and make eye contact with different people. And then he would say, "Okay ... melt." And then we would have to go to that person we were next to and just like melt and drape all over them. It was a lot of fun.
Was it strange for you to go and see a midnight showing as a teen?
No -- actually, my mom has always introduced me to all different types of art, and ever since I was little, she's been a super cool mom who's on the cutting edge of things. So it was so much fun.
But it was so funny because I was a "virgin" to seeing "Rocky Horror Picture Show," and [the audience members] were, like, aware of it. And people that were the shadow cast took red lip stick and put like a big "V" on my head and they drew a penis on my friend Josh's face, so it was pretty funny. Our moms were up for the ride, though.
What else has she introduced you to?
So much. I just remember watching all types of films growing up. "Funny Girl" was one of my favorite movies when I was 8 years old. And Audrey Hepburn films and tons of musical theater: seeing "Rent" when I was young; seeing "Jesus Christ Superstar" when I was younger. Just all types of different things!
What other musicals would you love to do?
I'd love to do "Rent." "Take Me or Leave Me" is one of my all time favorite songs, so I would love to play one of those characters. I'd love to do "A Chorus Line." That would be amazing.
You started in show business at a very young age. Do you ever have any regrets about working as a kid?
I don't have any regrets. I'm so glad! I've known what I wanted to do ever since I was little, and the fact that I am lucky enough to have a family that actually didn't just poo-poo my ideas -- like, "Oh, she's just a kid." They support me and help me realize my dreams. I feel so incredibly lucky, and I wouldn't take any of it back.
"The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again" airs Thursday, October 20 on Fox.
Sweethearts Brad and Janet, stuck with a flat tire during a storm, discover the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a transvestite scientist. As their innocence is lost, Brad and Janet meet a houseful... Read More