Let's Do The Time Warp Again: An Interview with Barry Bostwick

by - September 14, 2023

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It has been nearly 50 years since the release of independent musical comedy horror film Rocky Horror Picture Show, and despite initial negative reviews, the film has since become a cult classic.

One of the stars of the film, Barry Bostwick, brings his experience on the film to comic and entertainment conventions year-round, including an appearance at this year’s FAN EXPO Chicago. Displayed at his table is one of his character’s more memorable outfits from the film, a pair of white men’s briefs. The pair is signed by Bostwick and available for purchase.

“I’m a bit like a traveling salesman,” he said.

He has also been making Rocky Horror-themed clocks. Bostwick said that one of his hobbies is pottery, and has expanded into jewelry making and warping records for some of his clocks. These items are not only available at conventions, but can be purchased on his official website.

Interacting with fans is a major aspect of conventions, and he loves discussing this film with them.

“Whenever I talk about it to some people who know more about it than me, they always remind me of something that I had forgotten,” he said. “What I carried away from the experience mostly are the people that I worked with and the pride of the message of the movie. We never thought of that when we were making it, that it was going to have some social impact. We just thought we were making a fairy tale.”

One of his most memorable fan interactions involved a mother and small daughter who was dressed as Nell Campbell’s character, Columbia. The mother encouraged the daughter to show Bostwick how she danced for “The Time Warp”, and he decided to join her in front of the table to dance with her. When it got to the part of the song that says, “But it's the pelvic thrust” that was when Bostwick realized he did not think that through. He immediately went back behind his table and has had a good laugh about it ever since.

On the last day of FAN EXPO Chicago, Bostwick joined Rocky Horror Picture Show co-star Susan Sarandon on stage for a panel that marked her first convention experience. They spoke about meeting 50 years ago and how that small film they made sent a message about authenticity.

“48 years later, this little film we did still not [only] preaches that but brings that to the fore I think for the audiences,” Bostwick said during the panel.

“I think that’s why it has been around that long and says that it’s ok to be who you are, whatever that is,” Sarandon added. “I think that also gave people a community where you can go… and dress up however you want and be with people who say it's ok to have fun and to throw popcorn and to be whoever you want. I like it better than church.”

“And I think it is church and I think we’ve been preachers for this church for 48 years,” Bostwick said.

They shared stories about the wet, cold filming days that eventually gave Sarandon pneumonia and how the original film was meant to be in black and white until the introduction of Dr. Frank-N-Furter and the signature red lipstick would have been revealed. Sarandon also told the audience that Bostwick maneuvered walking in high heels better than she did.

“Those high heels were so high and you could manage them,” she said.

“Did you step on my toe?” he asked.

“Probably,” she replied.

“Somebody said during that part of the movie you stepped on my toe,” he said.

“I guess believe them, I’m not going to argue,” she said.

Bostwick also discussed how his favorite part of meeting fans is learning more about them.

“I always find out so many interesting things about the fans,” he said. “The first day here I had an ER doctor and a brain surgeon in front of me, and they were huge collectors of all of this fan art stuff. I thought that’s really fascinating to me so now I’ve taken it to I always ask people ‘what do you do for a living’ and I’ll question them about [that] because I know what I do for a living, and I don’t even know how I do it for a living, but I’m fortunate enough to still do it.”

Playing Brad Majors turned out to be a defining moment for Bostwick’s career, and he is more than willing to share his experience with anyone who asks. Rocky Horror Picture Show has charmed audiences for decades and given people a place to be whoever they want.

Please note: This article is being published at the time of the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes. Rocky Horror Picture Show was independently filmed and is not covered by the strike, which was confirmed by our SAG-AFTRA contact. Black is the New AP Style strongly supports the SAG-AFTRA and WGA unions.

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