Adam Lambert uses the words “nasty,” “dirty” and “gross” to describe Eddie, the ex-delivery boy he plays in director Kenny Ortega’s television remake of the 1975 campy cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which airs Thursday night (Oct. 20) on Fox. (The original role was played by Meat Loaf.)
Lambert’s role isn’t big in the film, but it is fun and gory, if ever those two adjectives could be used together. In The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again — whose cast also includes Laverne Cox, Christina Milian, Reeve Carney, Ryan McCartan, Victoria Justice, Staz Nair, Annaleigh Ashford and the legendary Tim Curry, who appeared in the original — Lambert sings “Hot Patootie — Bless My Soul” and has a fateful encounter with the not-so-sweet transvestite Dr. Frank-N-Furter.
Lambert spoke with Billboard on the set of the film in Toronto in the middle of the night, where they were shooting his biker scene. He had shaved some mutton chops (then painted black) and wore a leather vest.
When was the first time you saw Rocky Horror?
I can’t remember. I think it was sometime in middle school, maybe. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s like I discovered the story line and the plot…
No, I already made that discovery. It really resonated with me. I really liked the style of humor and the shock value of it. I just got a kick out of it. I thought it was very ballsy.
Did you ever go to one of those sing-along with Rocky Horror screenings?
I’ve gone to a sing-along, a showing of it in Hollywood, when I was in my 20s. It was a lot of fun.
What has this shoot been like?
I’m in such a little bit cameo. This is only my third day on the set and I’m done tomorrow, unfortunately. It is bittersweet, because I’m bonding with the cast and everyone is really cool.
Have you ridden a motorcycle before?
I didn’t ride it. They have a stunt double. I would’ve liked to try actually, but I think it’s an insurance issue. [Laughs]
Your song “Hot Patootie” — did you know that like the back of your hand already from seeing the film?
The thing that I like about it is it’s such a classic rock song. It has the bones of a classic. So it didn’t feel unfamiliar. Meat Loaf did such an amazing job in the film, and actually Meat Loaf has been a really big supporter of mine publicly since I came out on Idol and I met him after Idol, so it’s kind of a cool connection.
But you haven’t talked to him about this: “Hey, I’m you!”?
No. Hopefully we’ll run into each other.
Let’s see what you are wearing and your mutton chops.
First of all, Eddie is just nasty. He’s just nasty. He’s like a greaser Teddy Boy. He’s gross and he’s dirty and he doesn’t really take care of himself and I think he’s got a substance abuse problem. And he’s kind of a sex addict and he’s kind of disgusting. So he’s really fun to play.
Sounds like every rock ‘n’ roll musician.
No, just kidding.
[Laughs] He’s fun to play because he’s ridiculous.
So what part of him is you?
[Pauses to think] Maybe the horn-dog part. [Laughs]
No, you should say the love for rock ‘n’ roll.
And the love for rock ‘n’ roll, of course.
If you were driving in a storm and got a flat tire, had no cell phone, no Uber, and here’s this castle, and you knocked and saw what was inside, would you run or would you go, “Yes, party time!”?
If I walked in and saw a bunch of fabulous kids in glam costumes, I would feel right at home.
When I saw the cast walking up the stairs, I thought, it’s just like an EDM concert.
It’s pretty much like one of my birthday parties. [Laughs]
Halloween, if people start going out as you, as Eddie, what would the costume be for sale at Walmart?
Junkyard dog, quote-unquote. It’s basically a greaser punk rocker. It’s one part Billy Idol. Dirty rocker punk guy. Bikes and leather and a pompadour and sideburns.