The Rocky Horror Picture Show, released in 1975, endures today as a uniquely formatted comedy-horror movie experience. But the scares weren’t limited to those in the final product: along the way, cast and crew faced some frightening battles, from fires to freezing and lung infections, as detailed by Susan Sarandon.
Sarandon played the interactive film’s heroine, Janet Weiss, fiancé to the heroic Brad. Disaster seemed to initially follow the film even upon its release, as it was not met with a warm reception. But as a midnight movie fueled by audience participation, it gained a cult following that makes it especially perfect for the spookiest time of the year. So, delve into the terrors Sarandon has to share about filming Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Susan Sarandon shares the terrifying challenges of filming ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’
Rocky Horror Picture Show represented a collision of contradictory extremes, revealed Sarandon. First, there was frost. “It was freezing, and then there was no heat in the studio,” she explained, “and we were obviously half-dressed and wet a lot of the time, so I got pneumonia.” The crew brought in heaters to combat the chill, but then a screen near one of those heaters caught ablaze, countering the cold with flames.
“My trailer also caught fire, [so] I didn’t have anywhere to live,” Sarandon continued. “They kept moving me every few weeks. But anyway, it looked like we had fun, right?” That is the general feeling behind filming such a unique project like this, but in fact Sarandon calls it “a very, very tough shoot,” and it’s easy to see why.
Sarandon almost never ended up in this house of horrors
No one could anticipate the success Rocky Horror Picture Show would enjoy, both from its inception to its release, but work is work. However, this was one job Sarandon almost didn’t take. “Oh my God, I can’t sing and I’m really phobic about it,” were her words at the idea of auditioning for Janet. But she had encouragement in high places: none other than Tim Curry in the lead role of the original stage version of The Rocky Horror Show.
During what was supposed to be a quick word of greeting with Curry, Sarandon was asked, “Oh my God, would you read for Janet?” The casting directors backed up Curry’s verdict and when Sarandon relented, she did so assuming, “When I get there, they’ll give me alcohol or drugs or something and that’ll help me get through.” In the end, though, “Of course, they didn’t.” But pushing the envelope ended up good for her and fans of this wild experience.