Susan Sarandon Talks About ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ Role And How Her Agents Didn’t Want Her To Do It


Susan Sarandon has been in lots of iconic movies, but one of her most beloved projects is The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Sarandon plays the female lead, Janet, but did you know her agents were against her taking the part?

Agents Called Her ‘Insane’ To Want To Do ‘Rocky Horror’

In a Vanity Fair video breaking down her most famous roles, Sarandon explained how she ended up in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. “My agents definitely felt I was insane to want to do The Rocky Horror [Picture] Show,” the actress explained. “I had another film, which I left to do [it].”

So, what made Sarandon want to join the cast? Tim Curry. The actress saw Curry in the stage version, The Rocky Horror Show, and when it came time to cast the movie, Sarandon went over to say hello to the actor. 

“[Curry] said, ‘Oh, my God, would you read for Janet?’” Sarandon recalled. “And I said, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t sing and I’m really phobic about it.’ And they said, ‘Well, come on, you can sing. Come on. Try hitting this note. Can you sing ‘Happy Birthday?’”

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Sarandon was still apprehensive about the part but managed to talk herself into it. “I thought, ‘You know what?’” the actress laughed. “‘When I get there, they’ll give me alcohol or drugs or something, and that’ll help me get through.’ Of course, they didn’t.”

A Tight Budget And On-Set Woes

While Sarandon wasn’t the strongest of singers, she explained that part of the reason she was cast were her comedic skills. Despite her fear of singing, Sarandon said she “loved hanging out” with the cast and crew of the movie. 

“But it wasn’t a situation where we had a lot of downtime,” she remembered. “Because the budget, I think, was a million dollars. A very, very tough shoot. It was freezing and then there was no heat in the studio, and we were obviously half-dressed and wet a lot of the times, so I got pneumonia.”

Sarandon also revealed both the set and her trailer caught on fire during the filming, which led to her getting moved around every week. “When you’re in these situations, you have to call your agent and have them do something, but my agents didn’t really respond at that time,” Sarandon laughed. “But anyway, it looked like we had fun, right?”

Sarandon and her agents might have had to be talked into her role in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but her performance as Janet is loved by movie musical fans all over the world.



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