Rocky Horror’s Reeve Carney Is Surprisingly Chill

At just 33, Reeve Carney already has a long history of playing iconic characters.

He’s been Spiderman on Broadway, the famous literary character Dorian Gray on Penny Dreadful, and now, most recently, he has played Riff Raff in the television revival of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

He doesn’t consider himself a dark person (although he has a thing for working at night) and after interviewing him, we have to agree. Maybe it’s the childlike excitement he portrays after accidentally emulating his favorite rock star, or his love of Young Frankenstein.

Or maybe it’s the fact that when asked what his last words in the interview would be, he found himself describing the rainbow he was looking at out his window. You really can’t get more optimistic than that.

What has your experience with the original Rocky Horror show been? I know you grew up in the city yourself!

Yeah, I grew up right around the corner from the Waverly Theatre where the original was always shown. I used to go to the Little Red School House as a kid. I always loved the imagery of that show and I think what’s cool about our show now is that it’s being presented in people’s homes and the whole point of The Rocky Horror Show was always that it was a personal experience so that’s cool. We are also going through an era where there is this movement of freedom of expression like there was when the original came out so it’s really a perfect time to bring it back.

What did you try to bring to a modern day Riff Raff?

When a character has a long history like Riff Raff does, you can’t make it a carbon copy. But at the same time Richard O’Brien (who played the original Riff Raff) was a genius and I really wanted to honor that and draw inspiration from him. I also tried to bring a sort of B movie horror theme to the character. I drew a lot of Igor in Young Frankenstein.

What was your experience like with Rocky Horror vs another stage type production like Spiderman?

Spiderman was similar in that both Rocky Horror and Spiderman blend music with acting which is something I love since I play music myself. I am actually on tour right now!

You recently went solo, leaving your band Carney. What has that been like?

It wasn’t a conscious decision, more out of necessity than anything. The band’s schedules started to conflict after we all signed on for Spiderman. The band was in the orchestra pit while I was on stage so when our schedules stopped lining up I just had to find a way to make music so I built a studio in my apartment and now I’m out touring. I actually lost my guitar on the first night of the tour and ended up using a coke bottle and it actually worked! It reminded me of Jack White who is my favorite performer. I think when obstacles like that happen it can be positive, that’s where the magic happens.

You were in Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” video, how did that come about?

Basically her manager called my manager and I took a day off from Spiderman to film it. Turned out she was a fan of my band and she mentioned loving our video “Love Me/Chase Me.” I was so surprised that she had heard of us!

So doing Rocky Horror, did you end up palling around with the cast at all? It sounds like you had the opportunity to do that with your band during Spiderman too!

Yeah, you have so much time to get to know each other on set. Rocky Horror was crazy because there was this element of delirium during the entire thing that magnified the fun. We shot at night which I love because I always work at night, I think the night time element definitely adds to the fun on a film like that. During Spiderman I ended up hanging out a lot in the orchestra pit for sure.

So you’ve played Dorian Grey in Penny Dreadful before and now Riff Raff for Rocky Horror. Do you have a thing for dark characters?

I mostly think I look for the differences in the characters I play. I’ve played a few different things in the past and I think that I jump back and forth between different types of characters. I do like dark things I mean I love Halloween. I’m going to miss Halloween this year because I’ll be touring. I don’t know, maybe I’ll dress up as David Bowie and go on stage as him.

So what’s next once you’re done touring?

Another tour! I’m opening in December for Johnny Lang which I’m really excited for.

Any last words?

Oh man I can’t think of anything… Hm. Well right now I’m sort of staring at this partial rainbow and all of the color frequencies look really cool. That could be a good thing to end the interview on!

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