Reeve Carney is a modern-day Renaissance man. Starting on Broadway as Peter Parker in Spiderman: Turn of the Dark, Carney has since gone on to star on Showtime’s Penny Dreadful as Dorian Gray, all the while enjoying moderate success with his indie band, Carney. Now, Carney is starring in FOX’s Rocky Horror Picture Show remake as the evil butler, Riff Raff, alongside Laverne Cox’s highly anticipated Dr. Frank-N-Furter. He's also kicking off his solo career with an album, “Youth is Wasted,” set to be released in the coming weeks.
Reeve told Out about his role in Rocky Horror, also starring former Nickelodeon and Disney actors Victoria Justice and Ryan McCartan, Christina Milian, and returning cast member Tim Curry.
On playing the villain:
“One thing that’s exciting for me was the chance to play a character [Riff Raff] that was I felt as far away from Dorian as you could get…I liked the idea that they were quite different. Truly for me it’s just a matter of having the opportunity to play as varied—as widely varied roles as possible. There’s a clown aspect to the character of Riff Raff that I haven’t yet had the opportunity to explore, so for me it was a total blast to be able to investigate that side of myself and try to bring those things out in a character."
On the Rocky Horror fanbase:
"There’s so much love within the cast and the creative team for the original and I hope that that’s apparent on screen. So I would say for the fans of the original, I hope that that love comes across, because in no way are we trying to replace the original. We’re trying to bring more people into the Rocky Horror family."
On appealing to a younger demographic:
"I think this is a good opportunity to bring a greater awareness to the beautiful story that is the Rocky Horror Picture Show, even though it’s guised in this sort-of ‘camp grotesque two hours of sort-of like an acid trip slash fun extravaganza.’ I think that our version is something that will appeal to a younger demographic… thankfully, we live in a time in which people are largely more able to more freely be who they want to be and who they were born to be, and so I’m really grateful to be living in a time of such freedom, but I think that it doesn’t make the 'don’t dream it, [be it]' message any less potent."
On working with such a diverse cast:
"Having people from Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel—at least their origins being such—I think is the perfect thing because they have such a huge fan base of a younger audience that may have not been exposed to something like this before, and they’re sort of acting like the vessel for the 'Brads and Janets of the World' that are out there. And so I think, for instance, Victoria [Justice] and Ryan [McCartan]…it’s such a parallel to what a modern day Brad and Janet would be going through and they did such a beautiful job…I think Rocky Horror is all about diversity so I think the more diverse of a cast you can create, the better."
On his Broadway career and preparing for the role:
"It certainly taught me how to take risks on a deeper level. I think that there’s nothing like theater grind. Those people are the hardest working people in show business as far as I’m concerned, Broadway performers. It taught me so much about responsibility. I think doing eight shows on Broadway a week, it helps you in terms of your endurance and stamina—it helped me to be able to dance in those heels, that’s for sure, in Rocky Horror."
On going solo:
"I just felt that it was time to do something of my own as well, and made this album in my apartment. I’ve always struggled to strike a balance between pleasing myself and pleasing other people, and I think while it’s a lot more work…it was a nice thing for me to explore. Because I was able to explore, as deeply as possible, the purest form of my vision as an artist musically speaking. I play all the instruments on this album…I like to collaborate, I like to do things this way, but this way I’m not offending anyone if a certain guitar part or bass part or drum part isn’t supporting the vocal for whatever reason…This way I didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings, I only hurt my own feelings."
The Rocky Horror Picture Show premieres Oct. 20 at 8/7c on FOX. Watch the trailer below: