Interview with Patricia Quinn

Patricia Quinn is probably best known for her role as Magenta in both the screen and stage production of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”. Movie Mikes’ Adam Lawton got a chance to talk with Patricia at this years Chiller Theatre convention and got a chance to ask her about her career.

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Adam Lawton: Tell us about working on the film adaptation of  “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and how it differs from the stage?
Patricia Quinn: The stage and screen were completely different. The stage version didn’t have the castle setting or the Transylvanians. The movie had a lot of surprises and I didn’t know what was going on from day to day. We were at the dinner scene and Tim pulls the cloth off and there is Meatloaf underneath and everyone screamed because they had no clue he was under there. The movie was made so fast and the crew had no time to talk to the cast.

AL: Your lips are featured in the beginning how did that come about?
PQ: In the stage version, there are usherettes who sang the ‘Science Fiction Double Feature’ song and I played one of those as well as Magenta. So the only reason I agreed to do the movie was to sing the song, not for actual part of Magenta. So when I asked “Am I signing the song?” they told me “No”, so I said “I’m not doing your film”. So then Richard says to me “You always say no after lunch Pat, not during it” I said “Well I wanna finish it”. So on the last day of shooting Jim Sharman had to find a way to sing the song, so they had O’Brian’s voice who was not as pretty as me.  He asked if I had seen the painter/photographer Man Rays’ “Lips” and I said “No”, but have since seen it many times since.  He used that picture for his inspiration.  This movie was shot on a shoe string budget so they draped some material on the camera.  In order keep my head from moving the screwed it into an art lamp that had been sitting on the stage, this made me look like Frankenstein.

AL: How long did that scene take to shoot that scene?
PQ: It took a good long morning to shoot and was not much fun but was worth it.

AL: Did you get to keep any props or costumes from the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”?
PQ: No I didn’t want them…what would I want those for? (laughs) But I tell you people have built houses buying those things on eBay.  I should have taken them but I don’t do that.

AL: Can you tell about your experience from being in “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life”.
PQ: They are a very clever crew and Jon Cleese is a most brilliant actor.  I adore him. I was doing a “Hammer House of Horror” film “Witching Time” and he says “I think I have a role for you but you’re going to have to undress a bit” and I said “Oh that’s fine I’m doing “Hammer House of Horror” and our joke is ‘Knickers off, ready for work'”.  It really was a joke, I had a cloak on and all but not really a lot of clothes.

AL: So he kind of took you up on the offer?
PQ: Slightly and then Terry Jones directed the film and it got worse and worse. It was quite memorable I think.

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