The Richard O'Brien Crusade

Richard

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The 60-Second Interview- Richard O'Brien

Richard O'Brien, 58, made his name as the writer of the cultrock opera The Rocky Horror Picture Show: He was known to a younger audience as the presenter of channel 4's game show The Crystal Maze, has a starring role as a photographer in the Spice Girl's movie Spice World and is currently working on a Rocky sequel with the working title The Second Coming.


-You're 58 but how come you don't seem ancient?

RO'B:I'm one of those people who never really joined the grown-ups. On one level, I was completely incapable of doing so. On another, every time I looked at the grown-ups and thought it was about time I matured, I'd think: "I don't bloody well like you." They are all a bit pompous and boring. I never wanted to be aligned to a mature group because they go off and become politicians and stuff.

-Are you surprised by the run the Rocky Horror show has had?

RO'B: I was surprised it did more than its original five-week run. It's one of the shows that seems to strike a chord somehow. To an extent, it's almost a thumb print of my psychological pathology and I think that kind of arrested development and pubescent adolescence is part of its appeal-apart from the fact that it is a nice, simple Rock'n'Roll evening.

-How's the sequel doing?

RO'B: I'm having a lot of fun at the moment. I'm writing the songs bit by bit and when I have finished the songs, some will probably change and I'll go back and start writing the scenes. As long as I keep the narrative drive acceptable and strong, and get as many jokes in as I possibly can, I think it'll be all right. The nice thing is, if it starts down the tubes, I can always stick it in the bin.

-What are the roles you have most enjoyed?

RO'B: I like being in fantasy-driven films but what I really enjoy is being employed and working with nice people. Life's too short to be working with divas. That was a good thing about the Crystal Maze-there wasn't one arsehole on the set. You spent the day with everybody doing their job to the best of their ability and you didn't have to stroke an ego.

-Which actors' egos needed a good stroke?

RO'B: I'm not giving any names but there are one or two who have an ego problem. They make life difficult for you and don't want you to be very good in their scene.

-Why did you say after appearing in Spice World that the Spice Girls had had their 15 minutes of fame?

RO'B: I didn't say that. Everybody has their 15 minutes and they were probably the luckiest girls on the planet at that moment. They all appreciated that because they are five girls who, with the exception of Mel C, are not the greatest singers in the world but it all came together for them.

-What were you doing in your late teens?

RO'B: I was till cutting hair in those days. Now I look back and think: "What a waste of five years." However, I met some nice people so I suppose it's all part of life's rich tapestry, as they say.

-Any connection between that and your baldness?

RO'B: Well, no. I was getting into trouble messing around with it for roles. So one night I went home, cut it down with a pair of scissors and then got in the bath and shaved it all off. I've never looked back.

-Did you ever want to be gray-haired?

RO'B: I think it is good as it is. I am 58 and it's difficult for people to gauge my age.

-When did you come from New Zealand to Britain?

RO'B: I didn't hit these shores until I was 22. I paid my dues at drama school and worked backstage in every Theatre in London. I have done every job in the Theatre apart from wardrobe. I was out of work more times than I was in it.

-Is your own wardrobe important to you?

RO'B: Yes, but I think the big thing for everyone is to wear what they want and what suits them.

-So what do you think you will wear when you get the MBE that every British actor seems to get when they turn 60?

RO'B: I don't think that's going to happen and I don't think I would want to go down that path. It means alot to some people but I'm not that sort of person.

-How do you deal with critics?

RO'B: It is difficult to go on the next night after you receive a sandbagging. There is always an audience for different individuals, but critics sometimes stop the audience finding the show and the show finding the audience. For example, a lot of critics who don't like musicals have come to review the show. But, I suppose, they have got to make a living too and hopefully, they are giving their judgment for what it is.



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The Richard O'Brien Crusade est. 1996