Tag Archives: cult

‘Twin Peaks’ sequel debuts in May

David Lynch knows how to keep viewers guessing about what to expect from the “Twin Peaks” sequel.

In a Q&A with TV critics Monday, the genial Lynch either declined to provide details about the Showtime series or gave answers that were as mysterious as the plot of the 1990s cult series.

Cast members who took part in a separate panel discussion also were mum about the plot in advance of the show’s May 21 debut.

Lynch did say that what occurred during character Laura Palmer’s final week before her murder — the central question of the 1990-91 ABC series — is “very much important for this.”

He didn’t elaborate.

The filmmaker (“Mulholland Drive”) directed all 18 hours of the new series that he produced and wrote with Mark Frost, his collaborator on the original.

Asked what fans should expect of the series’ tone, Lynch replied: “I see it as a film, and a film in parts is what people will experience. It was a joyful, fantastic trip with this great crew and great cast.”

How many of the stories were ones he couldn’t tell in the original series, and how many are new?

“I’m not at liberty to talk about that,” Lynch said. He also declined to address why he separated from the sequel and then rejoined it.

Earlier, Showtime Networks chief executive David Nevins said that the new series “is the pure heroin version of David Lynch, and I’m very excited to be putting that out.”

Asked if he felt the ABC series was unadulterated, Lynch said that he loved the pilot. But he added that pressure to solve Laura’s death undermined the show’s second and final season.

Nevins said he considered the sequel a close-ended work, but Lynch expressed uncertainty.

“Before I said I wasn’t going to revisit it — and I did,” he said. There are no plans for more at this point but, Lynch added, never say never.

Returning cast members include Kyle MacLachlan, Madchen Amick and Sheryl Lee.

Despite some long days of filming, MacLachlan said, “It was just a huge sense of gratitude to be there, to be creating something we all love, to be working with a master like David Lynch.”

On the Web

Twin Peaks fan site.

Tim Curry, Laverne Cox commit to ‘Rocky Horror’ remake

Tim Curry’s participation in Fox TV’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show helped erode fan resistance to a remake of the 1975 cult film, producer Lou Adler said.

“As you can imagine, when we announced we were doing this there was a tremendous backlash from fans who have been with us for 40 years,” said Adler, who was behind both the big-screen original and the Fox version airing in October.

“That all loosened up,” he said, when Curry signed on to the role of Narrator. The actor played scientist and transvestite Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the film.

“You really made the difference,” director-choreographer Kenny Ortega told Curry during a Q&A with TV critics about the project.

“It was a blessing. I loved being there,” Curry replied. Asked how he felt about Frank-N-Furter being his most enduring role, his reply was droll.

“That’s not much I can do about it, really,” he said.

The lovefest resumed when producers discussed the performance of Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black) as the new Frank-N-Furter. Cox didn’t participate in the panel.

“She had so much to give to it,” Ortega, also a producer on the project, said of Cox, citing her depth of talent, life experience and “incredible respect” for the movie. He recalled the first day of rehearsal for the cast album, when Cox performed “Sweet, Sweet Transvestite” with Curry, who uses a wheelchair, sitting alongside the pianist.

When she finished, Ortega said, Curry was the first to respond, shouting “bravo!”

There was a note of cynicism introduced, this from reporters who asked why a remake of a beloved film was needed.

Ortega replied that the remake gives an “incredible cast” the opportunity to bring new life to the characters with “vivacity and creativity.”

The stars include Ben Vereen as Dr. Everett Scott, Staz Nair as Rocky, Ryan McCartan as Brad Majors and Victoria Justice as Janet Weiss.

The TV movie, airing Oct. 20, also incorporates the audience-participation element — including costumes and commentary — that ultimately became a staple of the film’s late-night screenings in theaters.

Justice, playing the role filled by Susan Sarandon in the movie, said she’s a longtime “Rocky Horror” fan herself: She saw the film first as a fifth-grader and attended one of those midnight showings, at age 15 and in fishnet stockings and feather boa, with her mom.

“I’d never seen anything like it before in my life,” including the music and the campiness, Justice said, calling the part “a dream come true.”

‘Rocky Horror’ ends an Alchemist Theatre tradition

For years, Aaron Kopec has been terrifying audiences with haunting Halloween shows at the Alchemist theater — tales of paranormal horror, devilish dealings and general terror. That all ends this year. Kopec’s declared this fall’s Halloween show will be the theater’s last, and they’re going out with a bang.

“We wanted to do one more,” he says. “We wanted it to be big and splashy and fun.”

So, of course, he picked The Rocky Horror Show.

The comedy-horror classic about unsuspecting newlyweds who stumble onto the home of a mad transvestite scientist will wrap up the Halloween series and the season, running through October.

It’s a big shift for the company in more than just its tone. Prior Halloween shows have been written by Kopec and usually took audiences throughout the nooks and crannies of the Alchemist space, while Rocky is a cult classic being brought in fully formed. But, Kopek says, this is a show he and his cast have wanted to do for years, and director Erin Hartman (who also plays Janet) has managed to make it more than just a step-by-step recreation of the film version.

“We all love the movie and you can’t help but do homages to the movie … but don’t expect the movie version if you come to see this,” Kopec says. He and Hartman looked at the text and songs with fresh eyes and found different but valid ways to present the material. “If you love the movie and want to see the movie, there’s a place in Milwaukee where you can do that. … This is something new.”

Among the changes is a new way of looking at Dr. Frank N. Furter, portrayed by Nathan Wesselowski, who says it’s been important to divorce himself from Tim Curry’s iconic performance in the film. “There’s no way on Earth I was going to be Tim Curry, so I had to come to who Frank N. Furter is through me,” he says. Part of his interpretation includes a literally towering performance — he’s a tall man made even taller with platform shoes. He doesn’t have Curry’s visual “glam,” but Wesselowski tries to project that quality through his vocals. A trained operatic tenor, he sails off into the stratosphere with some of Frank’s songs.

The other big shift is Hartman’s insistence on bringing out the moral messages of the show — something she thinks is often lost beneath the thick layers of schlock and camp that usually paint the musical. “Instead of just saying ‘we’re crazy,’ to actually figure out why you’re crazy is important,” Hartman says. “Even the shittiest production (of Rocky) ever made is probably one of the most fun things you can possibly sit through. But it’s important to give it the credit it deserves.”

Kopec says part of the trick to their success in rehearsal thus far is that everyone in the company is equally passionate about the material. The actors are not purposely “superfans,” but sort of accidentally so. “You might not be obsessed-obsessed, you might not own a costume of one of the characters, but it is one of those weird shows where, once you get it, you get it,” he says. “It gets under your skin.”

Between it just being Rockyand it being the last Halloween show, Kopec says audience expectations are high. He’ll dress the theater and lounge in a fashion similar to prior immersive productions, although on a much smaller scale. He says Rocky’s a big enough show without all that.

Je wants the show to be a fitting send-off to the Halloween series. “It’s a good one to go out on,” he says.

After Rocky closes, Kopec says the theater will just host rentals for a few months, while he figures out what’s next for the Alchemist. Until then, we’ll just have to wait with antici…pation.


Rocky Horror usually doesn’t provoke a lukewarm reaction, whether you take a positive or negative stand on it. So it’s no surprise that the brains behind the Alchemist’s production have strong feelings about the show — and some good stories. WiG asked director Erin Hartman (playing Janet), actor Nathan Wesselowski (playing Frank) and technical director Aaron Kopec (a former Eddie, in Off the Wall’s 2004 production) to tell their Rocky Horror stories and explain why this musical has such a hold on them.

Erin When I was a kid, we weren’t allowed to watch R-rated movies. My parents were very conservative about that. But every Halloween my dad would rent us scary movies. All of a sudden, one day, he came home and goes, “I think it’s time. I rented Rocky Horror.” … I was just starting to get into musical theater anyway and it blew my mind. As weird as it is, Rocky Horror was like, “All right, you guys are almost adults now.” It was a concession to us. It made you feel responsible and all these other things. It’s one point in my life I can pinpoint where I was like “that changed me.” My parents had a shift. I had a shift. … I went to Madison — because it’s the best state school and I got in — I went to Madison without touring the campus, because they had one of the longest runs of Rocky Horror and I thought any place that does that, I’m going to be OK. 

Nathan I grew up in a small town — it’s a refinery and manufacturing town and also a farming community in central Kansas. And the very first time I saw this was on Halloween, the fall of ’87, when I was 17. I had not seen anything like that. I remember I was so into the movie — because it was so different and interesting from anything that I had seen — but then I got irritated by all the people yelling stuff because I wanted to see the movie, you know? And I didn’t understand this tradition at all. So that was my introduction. But then I think what solidified it for me was after my parents’ divorce and (my mom and I) moved to Washington, D.C. I was in an acting class at the Arena Stage and a bunch of us went to one of the local spots. And then I understood. I think I can pinpoint from that movie, somewhere in there, is when I really started expressing myself in a different way. “Don’t dream it, be it.” That’s sort of what it was. Dreaming of being an artist and freeing myself up from all these constraints. 

Aaron I knew very little. I was aware of Rocky Horror. My sister was a fan. But I had never even seen the movie. I was at Off the Wall and Dale was casting the show and he knew that I could sort of sing — enough to possibly play Eddie. He offered me the role and I went to a rental store — we do recall what those are — and rented a DVD and watched it. It was the opening song, “Science Fiction/Double Feature.” It just sings about everything that I love. And I knew. I didn’t even care about the “Don’t dream it, be it.” Because the movie does give you permission to be whoever you want. It has this great message that’s hidden in all its weirdness. But just the opening song alone. I thought, “This is my thing. This is clearly written by someone who loves everything that is Aaron Kopec.” It was great.


The Rocky Horror Show runs Oct. 1-31 at the Alchemist Theatre, 2569 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Milwaukee. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at thealchemisttheatre.com.

Iconic filmmaker John Waters to receive honorary degree

When the Rhode Island School of Design offered iconic filmmaker John Waters an honorary degree, he was surprised. After all, he got thrown out of every school he ever went to.

Known for quirky films that push the boundaries of good taste, including 1972’s outrageous cult classic “Pink Flamingos,” Waters is the keynote speaker at the prestigious art school’s commencement this next weekend.

Waters will also receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree; recipients are chosen by the RISD community, and nominations are reviewed by a committee of students, faculty and staff.

“I don’t even know if I got a high school diploma. It’s very peculiar. I feel very flattered,” said Waters, who attended New York University briefly in the 1960s before getting kicked out for smoking marijuana on campus. “I feel like the scarecrow in the ‘Wizard of Oz’ when they give him a brain.”

RISD’s 2015 Honorary Degree Committee cited Waters’ body of films as an “enduring inspiration for RISD students seeking to break boundaries, challenge conventions, and define an expressive style,” said RISD President Rosanne Somerson.

“In the words of one nominator, he ‘embodies the RISD ‘tude galore’,” Somerson said.

Waters will share a stage with three members of the band Talking Heads — two are RISD alumni — and New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik.

Waters has written and directed more than a dozen films over his decades-long career, many of them low-budget movies featuring a cadre of unconventional characters, including drag queen Divine, Waters’ longtime friend and muse. Waters saw mainstream success with 1988’s “Hairspray,” another cult classic that was adapted into a Broadway musical in 2002. He is also a published author and photographer.

“I shouldn’t have been in school. You go to school to figure out what you wanted to do. I knew what I wanted to do,” Waters said. “I wish I had gone to RISD. They would have encouraged my ideas. I could have made ‘Pink Flamingos.””

Waters does more writing these days than filmmaking: The paperback of his 2014 memoir “Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America” debuts this month. Waters said he was inspired to hitchhike from his native Baltimore to San Francisco because his life is so scheduled and controlled.

“My inspiration has always been the same, which is human behavior I can’t understand, which is always my interest, always has been,” Waters said.

The filmmaker is looking forward to accepting his honorary degree, “Without irony, for one of the few times in my life.”