This is the last a 3-part interview with Wicked contract director, Brad Armstrong, the luckiest man alive!
W! So I’ve heard that you’ve made the decision to jump into the fray and start doing parodies.
BA I was fighting it for a while, but it’s just one of those things where you’ve gotta just do it. It’s a necessary evil.
W! You think it’s evil?
BA Well, I mean, I think there are people who have done a great job with it, and think that there’s people who have just seen it as an opportunity for making a bad porn and selling it. But it’s like anything, you know, there’s good and bad in everything. I’ve tried to stay out of it because coming up with ideas for movies isn’t really a problem for me. It’s not that tough a gig if you really put your mind to it…. Some movies I think up clearly out of the blue and others I have inspiration from another TV show or movie, or when I did Fallen, it was from a photograph. So it’s one of those things where you can get it form all kinds of places.
And now it’s such a piranha pit as far as the fight for ideas. I decided to announce four movies, and one of them already got stolen! I was like, “Hey, I’ve been doing this for years, and now I jump in and you’ve got to steal on of my four lonely ideas?” Man, oh, man. There’s only so many TV shows and shit out there, they all want the same TV shows. You know, a company’s doing ten a year, there’s five companies, there fifty gone.
[…talking to someone in the background…]
Sorry about that. We’re here shopping for vintage… One of the movies we’re doing is the Rocky Horror Picture Show…
W! I was just going to ask you about that!
BA And um, we have the 35th anniversary convention that’s going up in a week, so we’re gonna have a presence at the convention. Right now we’re looking for some Brad and Janet wear.
W! I was really interested to hear you were going to do Rocky Horror.
BA Kind of where I was going with that last thing is that the ideas are so raped and pillaged that I was looking for ones that were really kind of on the fringe and still had… You know, I mean, someone did Golden Girls. I mean, what the fuck? I was looking for stuff that already had a sexual nature to it… A lot of people just knock them off scene for scene. I was going to do something that you could actually parody. Where Rocky is kind of a parody of horror movies in general, you’ll have a lot of room without offending anybody. And it’s the same kind of cult following that different TV shows have, you know there are shows that have been off the air for twenty years and there’s still web sites and fan clubs and all that crap. And one of the notions I got flak for was, I was going to do The Bionic Woman. And there’s still websites and fanclubs and all that shit solely based on The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman.
W! Well, Rocky Horror… I’m partially afraid and partially really excited, because I know that you are very careful with your writing; you’re very careful with putting together and altogether good movie. And I trust you. But at the same time, I am one of those totally ridiculous, rabid Rocky Horror fans… I think it’ll be interesting to see what the cult says. What these people want.
BA You could certainly butcher it, you could. And so we went to the Rocky community and to the guys who are putting on the convention and to one of those guys who’s been doing the Rocky thing for probably twenty years now and I talked to, thankfully, I talked to him myself already. He went to some of his people and tried to give them a feel for it, and find out are they into it, or are they bitter, or what. And he said overwhelmingly, that if it’s done right, they’d definitely embrace it. I think that’s why I’m not rushing to get it out. We tried to get the publisher and everything for the original music, and Richard O’Brien and all that, and of the three people who had a say, Richard O’Brien was the only one who said no.
W! Oh, well, he’s tough. I’ve heard this before.
BA Well he’s such a wild and crazy fucker, I mean he’ll show up in a restaurant in full-out drag gear and, you know, he’s a sexual deviant to start with, and he was like, “The movie’s not about that, it’s the performance, it’s the energy… I don’t want to sully it.” I’m going, “Dude, really? Come on!”
W! He didn’t want to sully it? That’s interesting.
BA Well no, that was what… I did not talk directly to Richard, I talked to his publisher — through him. So, there’s the publisher of the music, he was all into it and he’s great to work with… So we’re actually having someone do the music, someone who we’re talking to who might jump on board. So we’re just trying to tie it in as much as we can, because it’s really a tight-knit community. And and actually one of the girls in the office who just started is a huge Rocky fan and she’s played pretty much all the parts in theaters, so she’s helping me a lot with it. So I think we should be in fine shape.
BA It’s tricky. We went back and forth with things like that… For lack of a better word, it always works best, for me at least, if you pornify something. So one of the ideas we’ve been working with, and we’re still working on the script and all that kind of stuff, is with some of the music lyrics that we’re changing, when they walk into the castle, they come across basically a porn shoot going on.
And you know, it’s kind of an homage to Ed Wood, too, so Frank N Furter’s obviously the director and he’s this kind of over-the-top, Ed Wood kind of character. And then Riff Raff’s the camera man, and that’s why he’s all hunched over, cause of carrying the camera around all those years. And basically what’s happening is he’s trying to talk Janet into doing her first scene, which is like a pretty regular happening in adult. And so we’re changing the lyrics around to represent that kind of situation.
And one of the other things because we’re trying to make it as sexy as possible, we’re thinking of making Rocky actually a girl, so it’s Rocki with an “i.” Cause you know all chicks in porno spell their names with i’s a z’s and this and that, so we’re doing Rocki with an “i” and when he’s doing the song about “In Just Seven Days I Can Make You a Man,” it revolves around more of making the perfect porn star. So we’re going back and forth, like is that too much of a change? Cause I think it could maybe work, but then again it makes it more of a parody as opposed to knocking it off scene by scene by scene. And, some of the songs like “Time Warp,” some of the lyrics are very sexually related, and it’s one of those thigns where I think it works, but now it’s just a matter of, is it too much of a change for your really faithful Rocky fan?
W! I can definitely see changing the Rocky character to a girl being,, from a regular porn standpoint, being a better idea because there’s a lot of really homosexual overtones [in Rocky Horror], which don’t really apply to the mass porn audience.
BA You know what’s funny, that was one of the things that they wanted to make sure we left in, because a lot of Rocky fans are gay. Or that vibe, or that kind of androgynous kind of vibe. So I’m gonna do the scene where you have Frank N. Furter coming up on Brad behind the curtain in silhouette. I’m not gonna carry the scene through, but initially leave that part in there enough to get that across. But again, it’s the same thing with everything, you always fight that battle of too many guys and not enough girls in porn.
That was one of my easy outs where basically a lot of the girls in the business, you shoot them when they start, you shoot them when they’re finished… and they’ve kind of morphed into that perfect porn star look. So I thought that kind of carried over in a way, to parody our perception of the perfect porn star. But you don’t want to change it too much, but you want to change it so that you’re not just knocking it off.
W! Well it’ll be really interesting. I’m really excited to see how this turns out.
BA You’ll have to maybe come down to the set one day.
W! That would be awesome! But I’m in New York. I would love to. I do have a correspondent out there I could probably send out, she’s really a sweet girl…. Ok, so my last question, for a little advance advertising, what are the other parodies that you are working on right now?
BA Um, we’re working on 24, which is more along the lines of, you know cause the serious porns versus the comedic bad porns, and one of the ones that one last year was The Sex Files one. And basically we’re gonna do 24 more on like my normal drama/suspense kind of feature. And the other one is… Risky Business.
W! Oh my god that would be fun!
BA Yeah you know, you’d have your classic [hums theme from Risky Business] “Duh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh,” and a couple of things you could have fun with. I mean that scene’s been parodied so many times as it is, but here again, the show is about sex…. It’s still a sexy nature, it’s about the hooker business basically, and I think it lends itself… It’s a classic and you know exactly what it is, and you’ve got the classic scene in the subway where they bang in the subway.
So many are taken! I have a few other ones that I’m not sure whether they’re gonna work yet, but if they do, one of them in particular, it’s kind of like Rocky Horror. Where it’s gonna make people happy, but either they aren’t fans and they don’t’ know what to expect, or more importantly, “Oh my god that’s a great idea!” They’re fans, they’ve seen it when they’re in their teens, where they’re either hardcore Rocky fans or they’re just, they know the show well enough that they go, “Oh, that’s a good idea.” It’s not the norm that everybody’s doing TV show, TV show, TV show.
W! Well I’m really excited to see your first forays into Parody Land! Keep me updated! I’d love to send someone to the Rocky set. That’s about all I had for you. Thank you so much, I know you’re very busy!
BA It’s been great talking to you!
—Sinteview conducted by Miss Lagsalot