Richard's On-line Chat at Virgin.net
Here is it, in it's entirety. I took the liberty of putting
Richard's thoughts into full lines (he had a habit of typing
about five words at a time) Richard proved himself once again
to be quick and full of wit - see particularly his response
to where babies come from.
Richard Hello, good
evening and welcome.
a celebrity on the internet, especially as the creator of the
movie with the largest number of web sites on the internet,
do you ever look yourself up? Are you surprised at what you
Richard If I looked
myself up, I probably would be surprised, but I'm a technophobe,
bordering on a Luddite. And so this is my first journey to the
Web. And so far, so good!
the many jobs that you did before you started your career in
show-business, which was your least favourite?
hair. I spent five years at it and it was a complete waste of
Vanessa: (aka "Q"):
Could you possibly share a story from your days in theatre,
Richard No. Not
really. Simply that the question is too broad, and as a consequence
I wouldn't know where to begin!
now after nearly 25 years is rocky horror still so good to watch?
it's a root fairy tale; most simple myths and legends have been
told for at least 8-10000 years, one wy (sic) or another and
Rocky is one of the oldest it's a re-telling of the Garden of
Eden and also a re-working of Babes in the Wood and Hansel and
Vanessa:: Why was
Rocky made mute for the film?
we made the movie, there were very few actors who were working
out and pumping a little iron. Peter Hinwood was decidedly good-looking,
which meant we could shoot him in 360-degrees and the camera
loved him from each and every angle. He was not an actor, and
was indeed an exceptionally shy human being, and so, taking
away the dialogue made it easier all round.
Riff: What did your family think of the songs you were writing for
The Rocky Horror Show?
Richard Well, it
was a fait accompli, and at the end of it they were quite impressed,
with the exception of my mother who detested toucha toucha touch
Larry: A lot
of actors keep things from their movies and productions. What
do you have left from Rocky Horror?
Richard Can you
be more specfic?
Vanessa:: You once
commented that it was nice to see Vincent Price in the audience
at the premeiere of RHS. Did he happen to comment on the show,
or was his attendance the end of that story?
Richard No, he loved
the show. I was about to see him in Los Angeles just before
he shuffled off the mortal coil but unfortunately it didn't
happen. But I've raised a glass to him on the odd occasion.
message of Rocky was 'Don't Dream It, Be It'. How do you feel
about that message now?
Richard It's an
uplifiting and encouraging philosophy, because ideas are cheap
it's the follow-through and commitment that counts.
you please make an official comment about the filming of Revenge
of the Old Queen? The Rocky Horror Picture Show newsgroup is
being filled up with people saying that ROTOQ will be released
Richard This is
rubbish. The ROTOQ went to three draft screenplays and then
Joe Roth, who was then the head of Fox moved on to Disney. And
the incoming Big Cheese decided that he didn't want to pick
up his predecessors' options and since then the years have rolled
like to know how his new musical "Alive on Arrival"
is going, and where will it premiere when it is finished?
slowly. Mind-numbingly slow. It's not exactly on the back-burner,
but it has been put to one side in the last couple of weeks
as I'm working on another project which has a deadline to adhere
to. As soon as the second project is out of the way, I shall
return to AoA, as I'm really enjoying the journey with it.
is that other project?
Richard Would you
like to f***ing know!
Vanessa:: Do you feel
there is pressure to insert Rocky-like elements into AOA?
Richard No, not
at all. In fact, I'm not quite sure what you mean by Rocky elements.
But it will be its own story in its own time and its own space,
and the only connection with Rocky is that it's the same left-hand
grasping the pen.
PlanNine: Will you be working again with Patricia Quinn and Nell Campbell
any time soon? You 3 make a great trio in RHPS and Shock Treatment!
Richard I'm attending
a Rocky Horro (sic) party at Oxford University this weekend
with Patricia Quinn, and we're spending the night together in
a hotel down there. If Little Nell cares to join us, who knows
what entertainments we might devise.
is the next time you are going to be in the United States?
Richard Not until
the end of the year. I have to go back to New Zealand some time
later in the year, and I would make a point of stopping off,
but that's about it for the moment.
James Norman: Are there any plans to release recordings of any of your other
works? (i.e. Thunderrock, Kimi and Ritz, The Stripper) Who owns
the rights to these?
groups of people own varioius (sic) rights for various works.
I'm always a member of the groups. But as to re-issuing any
of the titles you've mentioned, there are no plans as yet -
but who knows?
PlanNine: Dark City
was such a fantastic movie, and you had such a fab role. How
did it feel having a director write a role that was tailored
especially for you?
was a wonderful experience. And the generousity of spirit had
abounded on the set and the production in general was phenomenal.
I was exceptionally lucky to meet Alex and am very grateful
that he wrote the part for me.
Larry: How did you hurt your head while filming Flash Gordon?
Richard When Flash
was locked into a cage and submerged into the swamp I came down
with a key to let him in and as I went under the water and then
ejected myself from that body of water, I hit my head on the
cage-which appeared to be made of wood and vines and organic
matter but was, in fact, made out of fibreglass and it slashed
through my skin like a razor.
the many films you have appeared in, do you regret any?
Richard Yes. Shock
Treatment.We should have gone with the first draft, which was
monsters rising from the grave. As it was, we finished up with
a muddy story and, apart from the sound-track, i was, and still
am, disappointed with the result.
RiffKitten: How did you get the nickname 'Ritz'?
Richard I can't
for the life of me remember. It started 1969. I don't remember
who it was that started calling me it.
you ever fall off the set on Crystal Maze?
Richard No, I'm
far too agile.
obviously loved your time doing 'maze, so why did you leave,
and do you regret your decision?
no regrets. I felt that I'd gone as far as I could down that
particular road. And I didn't want to become a parody of myself
or limit my other choices.
PlanNine: Any insights into working with the Spice Girls? ;)
Richard Stay mono-syllabic.
PlanNine: You've said that you really enjoy religious art and say thay
you're a religious man, have you ever felt the need to express
that in any of your plays?
Richard I suppose,
to some extent, I did, in an elliptical fashion, introduce spirituality
into Disgracefully Yours.- a show in which I played the demon
you ever consider acting on television more? personally I think
you would make a great Dr Who.
Richard I would
have loved to have played Dr Who and I would like to act on
television, as I think it's just as acceptible a medium as the
theatre, or films. However, I do have an affinity for the world
of make-believe and fantasy, and wouldn't really want to play
a bank manager or a chartered accountant. I mean, there are
age did you start your acting career
Richard 26. I started
in 1965, riding horses in movies. And then took myself to evening
classes, and from there, to doing every job in the theatre except
Vanessa:: The Ink
Thief was a perfect mixture of being frightening and a bit silly
for young children. What did you take on board for that role
to perform it so well?
Richard The producers
and the director. And I came out of my corner swinging.
Michelle Cummings: Do you believe in angels, or "friends on the other side"?
I have felt the arm and love and comfort around me on many occasions.
What advice would you give someone who wanted to write their
own musical (something like Rocky Horror)?
Richard I have no
advice. The best advice I can give is for you to reach inside
yourself and find those things which you have a personal relationship
with and strike forward from that point. Good luck.
Vanessa:: Many songwriters
have certain rituals they adhere to while writing. Do you have
a set way of writing? Do you prefer collaborating, or working
Richard I prefer
working alone. I generally start with the lyrics, but with a
phantom tune in my head. If Richard Hartley is to be involved,
I then sing the songs to him, and he goes away and either (a)
arranges them or (b) re-writes the tune completely. I leave
it up to him. And, as yet, after 20 years or more of working
together, we've never had any disagreement.
Screamager: Did you ever get annoyed with stupid contestants on The Crystal
Richard No. But
I did become bemused by some of their eccentric behaviour when
confronted with a problem which was hardly rocket science.
TheWalrus: Where do babies come from?
PlanNine: Can you tell us a little more about "Absolute O'Brien",
you're (sic) new album. We know that it's "apartment Jazz",
but I would like to know, why did you choose to release an album
now, and why "Apartment Jazz"?
Richard Six of the
songs are from Disgracefully Yours. Five were written while
I was in Australia filming Dark City. I didn't want to make
an album of songs which differed wildly in style and so consequently,
even though a couple of them have a slight country feel, the
jazz element remains to tie the album together.
Vanessa:: Do you feel
your songwriting has changed since you began?
Richard Yes. I find
that i'm becoming slightly more mellow, but I hope I never mellow
to yellow ribbon round the old oak tree. shoot me if i do.
your hangover cure??
Richard No, I love
your favourite way to get a hangover?
Richard There are
so many wonderful ways to achieve the perfect hangover. Mixing
your drinks is a fairly safe bet. I suggest you start with a
couple of beers, then hit the red wine, then you swap to something
with a couple of shots in it - Vodka's cool - and then onto
the brandy, with a dash of port in it. Enjoy.
TheWalrus: What was with the whole "Your father doesn't like Mexicans"
scene in Shock Treatment? Was there some sort of underlying
message there or was it just to be silly?
Richard The joke
was Danny was behind Wilson's Hardware with several men naked.
Janet's dad didn't like the implication of this. The joke was
that he didn't like gays. But Janet's mum got the wrong end
of the stick - pun intended.
did you last have hair and did you lose it naturally?
Richard I shaved
my head in 76. And yes, it was waving goodbye.
you have any particular goals for the future, or do you think
you've done all you want to do already?
would like to direct ballet. I would like to direct a movie.
And I'd like to have sex with several people I've caught sight
of. * (see note at bottom- Q)
you heard of the recent resurgence of interest in Shock Treatment.
Starting with floorshows in Paramus NJ, Albany NY, and now at
every Rocky horror convention accross the country, did you really
expect it to take off like this? (See
the other note too- Q)
Richard I'm not
aware of Shock Treatment picking up a following. I'm sure that
everybody looks delightful running around in white coats, and
maybe one day I might get the opportunity to take in one of
these performances. However, I'm not sure that I look forward
MisterRenfield: What, if anything, would you consider your biggest fashion disaster?
Richard Every time
I've bought anything that I've thought would allow me to fit
in with the human race, I've always f***ed up.
you sleep with me?
Richard Not if you
plans for Mephistopholes Smith? The play was only in America
for one week and then it seemed to dissapear. It had wonderful
music. Are there plans for a revival?
Richard No. I'm
afraid that the cloven hooves I wore for two hours on stage
crippled my feet and, due to pressure on the balls of my feet
(check your reflexology books) I created chest infections which
is 'Interfishnet'? I've seen it mentioned in various locations
as a technology company you are building. Is it taking off?
Are you hiring :)
is a company formed to oversee the production of the Rocky Horror
interactive game. No jobs going.
National Year of Reading would like to ask a few questions:
book had the greatest impact on you?
Richard HG Wells'
short stories, which I read when I was 12.
fictional character do you identify with / would you like to
Richard Let's talk
comic time here. I wouldn't say no to being the Silver Surfer
or even Doctor Strange.
NYOR: Do you
have any bad or unusual reading habits?
Richard I suppose
I do tend to skim, but when you read as much as I do, I suppose
that's an in-built problem. Memory is also another problem.
I'm not sure that I've got altzheimer's, because I can't remember.
you from the National Year of Reading.
there any chance that the performing rights of Rocky will ever
be available to amateur groups?
Richard Some time
during the coming century, it's possible.
would your dream job be?
Richard I'm pretty
lucky I am allowed to spend my day doing those things which
I love doing. If I chose to change direction, I would. It's
as simple as that.
RiffRaff: Will you be attending any of the year 2000 conventions?
whether I'm still alive or not.
collect all sorts of memorabilia from Rocky horror (especially
photos) Does it ever weird you out that people are collecting
things that at the time [you] wouldn't have thought twice about?
Richard Not at all.
I collect a lot of junk. And I intend to keep on collecting
lots of ephemera. It's the squirrel mentality. You can't help
it. You just get therapy.
Vanessa:: Of all the
characters you have written and subsequently performed, do you
have a favorite?
Richard The character
of Martha Fortune in my play Disaster brings back happy memories
for me. She was superbly played by Patricia Quinn.
PlanNine: I noticed a definte (sic) "80's New Wave" influence
on the music from Shock Treatment, how did the New Wave movement
affect your songwriting?
Richard New wave
is a term which has been around for a lot longer than one would
think. There was an 80s feel to Shock Treatment. But that was
what Richard Hartley brought to the party. Personally, I try
not to follow trends.
you have any recurring dreams?
Richard No, but
lately I have discovered lucid dreaming, and I love it.
do you do in an average day?
Richard Live it.
about comics, did you hear that Warners is making a Batman musical?
The only way that yould (sic) be good is if you wrote the music
for it! What do you think of all these pop musicals that are
very much a result of Rocky Horror being a sucess?
you like chatting?
1- I couldn't begin to write symphonic scores for epic movies
such as Batman. Question 2- Yes.
is your favourite writer and why do you like him?
Richard James Lee
Burke, an American writer of detective tales and more. He is
the greatest living American writer and an equal to Hemmingway
MisterRenfield: If you were a vampire, who would you bite?
Richard Every sucker
I could. Especially politicians.
you still in contact with Nell and Patricia?
Richard Yes. In
fact, Nell has recently had a baby. Raise a glass to her.
you a John Waters fan?
Richard Yes, I enjoy
than Nell and Patricia, do you keep in touch with anyone else
involved with the production?
Richard When Meatloaf
hits town, we generally say hello to each other.
heard the spikes on the maxe (sic) are rubber is this true?
Richard Dear Bob,
it's highly unlikely that the producers of a game show which
involves members of the general public are going to sharpen
Toledo steel and allow these contestants to fall upon them.
So what do you think?
you get annoyed with all your fans sending you mail and asking
for autographs etc.?
Richard No, not
at all. I can't say that it cheers my day, but it certainly
doesn't depress me. Besides, I've got some very sexy photos,
and I love sending those out. - and wondering what happens when
they fall in the hands of those whose hormones are racing.
likes you very much. But she is only 17. Please don't encourage
the worst question anyone's ever asked you?
Richard That one.
think that's it. Thank you very much from all your fans.
May all your dreams come true.
Many thanks to Virgin.net
for hosting the chat, and letting us use the transcript.
*- in the original
transcript, Richard's answer was interrupted by a the question
that followed, in what appeared to be an attempt to stop his
train of thought from repeatedly going in and out and in and
out of a tunnel, if you get my drift. It can also be noted that
they scolded him for encouraging young Magenta. Perhaps it was
the first time that the moderators spent more energy keeping
an eye on their guest than the participants!
belonged to Larry Viezel, but was not credited to him during