Laverne Cox Says Tim Curry’s ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ Role Helped Her Explore Her Gender

Tim Curry helped Laverne Cox embrace who she is in more ways than one. In addition to giving the Orange Is the New Black star his blessing to take over the iconic role of Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the upcoming remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Cox says that Curry encouraged her to explore her gender identity.

“When I saw Tim Curry for the first time in that film, I was sort of in a gender-nonconforming space. I had a shaved head and was starting to wear makeup, and I was exploring my gender more — and here was this character who was just so unapologetically themselves, and it gave me permission to not just dream it but to be it,” she tells People.

“He made this movie iconic,” she adds, “and to be a part of that legacy … I have to pinch myself.”

Cox admits that singing in front of Curry, who assumed the role of the Criminologist Narrator in the reboot after having suffered a major stroke in 2013, was “so intimidating,” but insists that the 70-year-old has been “so unbelievably supportive and encouraging” during the filming.

“[We] sang all the songs from the show, and Tim was there. I sang every single song from the show in front of Tim Curry, who originated these songs — these songs were written for him,” she gushes.

As for Curry, he can’t wait to see the new cast’s take on the 1975 cult classic.

“It’s very exciting,” he shares, explaining that Rocky Horror is still a project that he holds “very dear” in his heart. “It will be very interesting because it’s very close to me.”

The Rocky Horror Picture Show will air Thursday at 8 PM ET on FOX.