An Oral History of Tim Curry’s Escape to the One Place Uncorrupted by Capitalism
Is it the sweet transvestite from Transvestite, Transylvania in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, is it Wadsworth the butler who butles in Clue, is it Stephen King’s sewer clown in It? Or is this—seriously, this short, ridiculous cutscene from Red Alert 3—the defining performance of Tim Curry’s long career?
Curry, at 62, addresses the camera from a desk, costumed in Russian military uniform and what’s supposed to be a Russian accent. “I’m escaping,” he says, “to the one place that hasn’t been corrupted by capitalism.” There’s a pause, then, maybe a longer pause than you’d want for a clean take. Then the smile creeps out. Now he’s huffing, he’s puffing—a big bad wolf who finds blowing down houses to be unbearably funny. He’s coming undone. Is that what’s happening?
“SPACE!” he snarls: throat thrown back, eyes rolling up to face God. Then he looks down the camera—he looks at you—with delirious, high-wire glee. It’s almost gloating, that look: he did it, he finished the line, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Maybe it’s not Curry’s “best” performance, or the campiest, or the funniest, but it is surely the most enigmatic. Did he basically blow that take, or make an interesting, interesting choice? Either way, why did they use that take—and who are “they?” This clip was already from an obscure enough entry in Curry’s filmography. By now, it is absolutely best known out of context, a meme fully detached from its source material, locked in elliptical orbit around the internet. It is Curry’s very weird comet.
Here, for the first time, is the story of that scene, and its legacy.
CHRIS PERSON (creator, Highlight Reel): I remember seeing that clip forever ago on YouTube, it usually came up in the same rotation as Anything Can Happen On Halloween from The Worst Witch.
ALEX NAVARRO (writer, Nextlander, Giant Bomb): The little flutter toward the end where Curry pauses and looks like he’s recomposing himself before belching up “SPAAAAAACE” in his half-a-Russian accent is just magical. It’s like he didn’t know the line was coming and as soon as he realized what he was about to say he couldn’t handle it.
ANTHONY OLIVEIRA (author and critic): I think the pleasure of it is that Tim Curry is the master of camp and the master of menace and in the clip we finally witness something that is finally too ridiculous, finally too outre, finally too much even for him. Tim Curry has played the devil with 18 inch horns, but this at last is the bridge even he almost cannot cross. But then he brings it home! The accent, the costume, the arc of the “character” himself finally exhausted by whatever indignities he has suffered at the player’s hands. It is perfect storytelling.
ALEX NAVARRO: It doesn’t really matter if it was on purpose or not. If it was a deliberate acting choice, then it’s a brilliant one. If it came purely out of him trying to steer into the skid, then it’s still brilliant.
KATIE MACK (theoretical astrophysicist): What is it from, exactly? It’s a video game thing?
HARIS ORKIN (cinematics writer, Red Alert 3): I wrote the line.
JASEN TORRES (lead designer, Red Alert 3): I hadn’t heard about that clip being popular. At the time, it wasn’t in the top 10 of what we thought were over-the-top lines in the script, so that’s interesting.
GREG KASAVIN (producer, Red Alert 3): I remember thinking it was a fun, funny moment, though of course I couldn’t have expected it would end up still making the rounds all these years later.
MICAL PEDRIANA (story and cinematics producer, Red Alert 3): I didn’t even know it was a thing.
HARIS ORKIN: I just didn’t even know about it.
JOSHUA BASCHE (assistant cinematics editor, Red Alert 3): I didn’t know until recently myself. I saw somebody post it on Twitter and I saw a bunch of people reacting, too. I was like, holy shit. I messaged them, like, “Oh, I did that.”
MIKE VERDU (general manager, EA LA; 2007-9): I was amazed to see how popular it had gotten.
HARIS ORKIN: I got to figure out how I can exploit that. That’s 12 million views on YouTube, you know?
STUART ALLISON (cinematic editor, Red Alert 3): I am the worst at social media, so no, [I didn’t know.] But my wife, that’s her job, and I just turned to her and said, “Did you know?” And she said yes, and pulled up a hell of a lot of [the posts]. I was like, “Why didn’t you ever tell me?” And she shrugged.
MICAL PEDRIANA: The way the internet is, nothing surprises me anymore. For all I know, I’m a meme out there.
STUART ALLISON: Me not being aware of something online in the meme world is no strange thing. I don’t have TikTok. You know, these algorithms nowadays, they just throw the same stuff at you, and I guess they didn’t think I would want to see my stuff.
Red Alert 3 is, so far, the final entry in a series of spin-offs from the seminal real-time strategy franchise Command & Conquer. Both series were created by the Las Vegas-based Westwood Studios, which was acquired by Electronic Arts in 1998 and closed five years later; its remains swept into satellite studio Electronic Arts Los Angeles (EA LA)—right around the time that studio would become notorious for excessive overtime and crunch. Development began on Red Alert 3 a few years later—in, apparently, a more reasonable working environment—with a team almost entirely new to making Red Alert games. Mical Pedriana, a level and sound designer, was the one person in a production or design role to return from Red Alert 2 for its sequel.
MICAL PEDRIANA: My credit on the game is story producer. It was kind of a unique role. They don’t have that normally at EA, or maybe they do now. Back then they didn’t. Essentially, I was like the vision holder for how the movies were expressed. I co-wrote the script [and had a role in] the direction of, like, how these people should be dressed and what the environments should look like. I would have a lot of input on the general vibe of everything.
CHRIS CORRY (executive producer, Red Alert 3): We sat down thinking about where RA3’s spirit and soul was gonna be.
MICAL PEDRIANA: Everyone looked at Red Alert 2, and we all loved it.
HARIS ORKIN: Gameplay-wise, I liked the first one, but I loved the tone of the second one.
The first Red Alert game invites the player to command a military conflict in an alternate history created by Einstein traveling back in time to kill a young Adolf Hitler.
ED DEL CASTILLO (producer, Command & Conquer; Red Alert): What if all of those crazy projects that we hear about from World War 2 were real? What if the Montauk Project and Nikola Tesla’s technology actually got to see the light of day and got production? There’s all these conspiracy theories that we were playing with teleportation, we were playing with invisibility. We were looking through all of this conspiracy theory stuff and we said, what if all of this was true?
I came up with the idea that Einstein actually invented a time machine, and he decided the most important service he could perform for humanity would be to kill Hitler. We had this whole thing slated where Einstein with a sniper rifle—this take-apart, break-down sniper rifle—we’re going to watch him assemble it, then right when Hitler is released from prison from his first jail term, just explodes his head. That was going to be the beginning of the game. Unfortunately, that never happened because Brett [Sperry, Westwood co-founder] didn’t want to kill Hitler. To this day, I don’t understand why. Maybe he wanted to keep him around for some other reason. So that movie of Einstein being a sniper and killing Hitler from afar became a movie about him walking up to him, shaking his hand and then doing this weird… like, he has the ability to make him teleport away or disappear by his touch. It didn’t make any sense at all. Nonetheless, the idea was we were going to take some of these kinds of wild technologies and portray the near-science fiction future of our military technology. The product was originally serious, almost like retro science fiction. It was meant to be serious. It wasn’t meant to be a joke.
By the time Red Alert 2 came around, I was no longer there. When the people who created the original either no longer care or are no longer there, you start getting the opportunity for massive evolution of the story and I’ll say that in a positive way, because you could also say devolution. It’s been this kind of low migration away from the original intent.
Red Alert 2 is bombastic, loud, cheesy: a military misadventure that pits presidents against brains in jars and broadens players’ arsenals from VTOL jets and heavy tanks to dolphins, giant squid and psychic soldiers.
CHRIS CORRY: We wanted this to just be fun. A lighthearted action movie sort of aesthetic, that sort of popcorn movie sensibility. We looked at some of the goofiness on the RA2 side and said, What works there is that these are ridiculous and ludicrous situations that people are taking very seriously.
JASEN TORRES: I believe my design pillar was, “The Red Alert universe is a fun place to be.”
MICAL PEDRIANA: Because I’d been with these games for so long and had been on the RA2 team, I think that’s why they let me play the role that I did on Red Alert 3. Just because I was super intimate with it.
HARIS ORKIN: They were going for that same tone that was in the second one.
MICAL PEDRIANA: It was meant to match it.
JASEN TORRES: RA3 was not intended to be the most silly.
MICAL PEDRIANA: It’s really a serious story with silly people in it. Threading that balance between it being completely ridiculous and still interesting for a player to be part of was the challenge. A lot of different voices on the team were pulling it into crazyhood and other people were saying, “No, it’s gotta be more normal.” I was probably one of the people who was pulling it more normal. A little bit goes a long way when it comes to campiness. You don’t really need to go too far.
MICAL PEDRIANA: It got way more silly than we intended it to be.
STUART ALLISON: I was pushing for sillier.
Cinematics—live-action videos that progress the plot and brief players on their missions—have been part of Command & Conquer from the beginning. In the first game, Westwood cast its own developers, and local talent, in key roles. EA LA pushed hard to cast celebrities.
HARIS ORKIN: I tend not to want to cast celebrities, because sometimes they feel like they’re slumming, and you get that sense in the performances.
MICAL PEDRIANA: That’s not something that I would have pushed for, personally. I’ve worked in voiceover casting and directing for a long time, and the bigger the celebrity, usually the more of a headache you’re gonna have.
CHRIS CORRY: For both C&C3 and RA3, we put a lot of effort into pulling in recognizable talent from the entertainment industry, from movie and film, that we thought would be recognizable, that would have some geek cred, and that we thought of as our own people.
MICAL PEDRIANA: I wrote this character [of an American president] pretty much with J.K. Simmons in mind. Like a Dick Cheney on crack. Down with the Commies, nothing’s gonna stop him until all the Commies are dead. But then they’re saying, Oh, we need to have David Hasselhoff play that character. David Hasselhoff was very popular in Germany, and Germany was a huge market for Command & Conquer games.
CHRIS CORRY: In C&C3, you have Michael Ironside and Billy Dee Williams. The same sort of thing on the RA3 side. If you’re an actor taking this gig, your agent has probably pitched this as, “Electronic Arts, one of the largest video game companies, they want you to come in and do cinematics.” You probably don’t even know what cinematics are. But they’re like, look, it’s a relatively small number of filming days. My impression is a lot of the actors really didn’t know what to expect when they showed up.
STUART ALLISON: Jamie Chung, poor girl wasn’t given a shirt under her leather jacket. Felt bad for her. Ask Mical if she was happy wearing that jacket.
MICAL PEDRIANA: I don’t remember. I remember Jamie being really upset because we were just giving poor direction. It’s funny, looking at those pictures, nowadays it’d be such a problem to have something like that.
STUART ALLISON: [Ivana Miličevic as Dasha], Mical never wanted her to do sexy takes. Like, overplay the double entendres. She was always, always pushing for them.
IVANA MILIČEVIĆ (“Dasha,” Red Alert 3): I mean, look at how I was dressed.
STUART ALLISON: I could tell it just gave her joy to tease Mical. But he wouldn’t let me use those. Which is a shame because she was funny.
IVANA MILIČEVIĆ: I felt like I could be pretty ridiculous. I kept wanting to make it seem like if the player does well, we can have a drink together.
MICAL PEDRIANA: I do remember drawing the line. It just feels lowbrow at a certain point. When you watch those movies, I think people would be surprised at how seriously we took it in terms of actually trying to not make it that goofy.
STUART ALLISON: Poor Gina Carano. If you remember, she was in it. She had lines and they cut them out. She was really nervous because she was trying to make the transition to acting. She hadn’t done Haywire with Soderbergh. I was told that I should cut around her dialogue.
MICAL PEDRIANA: Right before shooting, David Hasselhoff got sick. I forget what happened. It was actually in the news. And his agent happened to be the same agent as J.K. Simmons. So they pulled us a favor, not kidding, the day before, or maybe two days before. Then we got J.K. Simmons to play the guy.
STUART ALLISON: And then they had the lunatic we called Peter Stormare, who I’m not sure was actually in character or just being Peter Stormare.
CHRIS CORRY: I think Tim really got it.
MIKE VERDU (general manager, EA LA; 2007-9): I couldn’t believe we were lucky enough to land him.
Tim Curry, in the role of Premier Chedenko, served as one face of the game’s Soviet Union faction.
MICAL PEDRIANA: He got it. He understood what the job was.
STUART ALLISON: Curry knew the tone of the thing. He knew he was supposed to be blustering with glee at his lines.
JASEN TORRES: I’d guess Tim Curry loves a chance to ham it up when it is appropriate, and RA3 certainly provided ample, low-risk opportunity to do so.
MICAL PEDRIANA: The actors just had to be there for pretty much one day. Yeah, it was an easy gig.
HARIS ORKIN: Curry was probably mugging more than the rest of them were, but even so he just delivered it with conviction. He seemed to believe what he was saying, as stupid as it was.
CHRIS PERSON (creator, Highlight Reel): Nothing is funnier than a well-respected actor giving his all on the dumbest project possible. FMV cutscene for a video game? Hell yeah, what are my lines and where do I look?
“I’m escaping to the one place that hasn’t been corrupted by capitalism: space!” Until recently, most of Red Alert 3’s cinematics team didn’t even know that 10-second clip had become so popular—but all of them remembered the take.
CHRIS CORRY: We shot the mainline cinematics first. That was on the more elaborate sets. Everything was single camera. Those were the bigger pieces that required multiple setups, and where actors were interacting with other people. This particular clip comes from an inset cinematic that pops up in a little window while you’re in gameplay. Those were, if I’m not mistaken, were filmed after we had done all the main cinematic shoots.
JOSHUA BASCHE: Those came at the very, very end of the day. You’re talking about a 10- to 12-hour shoot day.
HARIS ORKIN: They shot those in a row pretty fast.
IVANA MILIČEVIĆ: To work 10 hours, 11 hours straight is not normally how an actor would work. When you’re filming it, you’re there by yourself–with a wonderful crew of people, but you’re just there for hours, sitting at a desk. You, after a while, are just trying to have fun with it.
JOSHUA BASCHE: It’d be these long takes of them just sitting there reading a teleprompter as lines came up. It was towards the end of the day, and you could kind of tell Curry was tired, he wanted to get out of there. But then that line comes up. And you saw the smile pop onto his face when he read it through first. The first take was that take.
IVANA MILIČEVIĆ: When I saw that, I was like, "I know you’ve been sitting there for hours.”
MICAL PEDRIANA: Everyone was busting up.
JOSHUA BASCHE: It’s so bombastic. It’s so fantastic.
STUART ALLISON: This is fucking brilliant. I love this. This is Frank N. Furter, for me.
IVANA MILIČEVIĆ: Was he making fun of it? Or was he having fun?
CHRIS CORRY: He was ready to bring the ham. I don’t think he was breaking at all.
JOSHUA BASCHE: I think he did exactly what he wanted to do.
HARIS ORKIN: You could see he knew how ridiculous this was. But he kind of played it that way, almost. A little different than everybody else.
STUART ALLISON: I think he was aware he was about to break but he finished the take because he knew it could be used. He knew he was doing it brilliantly.
MICAL PEDRIANA: He’s a professional. I don’t think he did a lot of stuff by accident.
JONATHAN LYNN (director, Clue): I’ve never seen the video game and know nothing about it. [But] Tim is a consummate professional. He knows exactly what he’s doing and he is in total control of it. He doesn’t make mistakes. He is a wonderful actor.
CHRIS CORRY: I think Tim was awfully present and realized that he was going full-on Rocky Horror Picture Show with that one.
ALEX NAVARRO (writer, Nextlander, Giant Bomb): The line itself is completely stupid.
JOSHUA BASCHE: It’s a funny line. “I’m going to escape your capitalism by going into space.” And he probably has no context for what the full game is.
HARIS ORKIN: Of course now, that’s not true [that space is uncorrupted by capitalism,] with Elon Musk and Bezos building their rocket companies and going off into space.
MICHAEL PACHTER (video game market analyst, Wedbush Securities): I don’t accept the premise that capitalism is corrupt, but if you mean is outer space unburdened by capitalism, of course that is correct.
SCOTT KELLY (former NASA astronaut): People have been launching satellites into space for money since the beginning of space exploration. Capitalism has always been there.
TOM JONES (former NASA astronaut): Government-paid contractors, but nonetheless private companies, designed and built the spacecraft that launched our first satellites and took us into orbit and on to the Moon.
KATIE MACK (theoretical astrophysicist): Is space untouched by capitalism? No, but there was a time when it was pretty much just a place for scientific scientific research, and what I would call national posturing. The whole space race was a combination of science, exploration and different countries trying to prove that they’re better than other countries.
SCOTT KELLY: Capitalism has been pretty good in my opinion.
TOM JONES: Without capitalism in space, the knowledge and resources there will—as in the viral clip—indeed be dominated by totalitarian or communist regimes like China and Russia. That’s not an acceptable prospect.
KATIE MACK: There are big efforts to materially exploit space one way or another.
YANIS VAROUFAKIS (Economist, former Minister of Finance, Greece): For several years now, a busy market has been functioning in Luxembourg trading in property and drilling rights over… asteroids. Capitalism seems to have already gone where no human had gone before.
KATIE MACK: At the moment, you can put up as many tiny satellites as you want. They can be as shiny as you want. And they can massively interfere with astronomical observations, they can change the appearance of the night sky for everyone in the world, and no one can really do anything about it.
MICHAEL PACHTER: It is likely that space will be colonized by capitalists.
RON GARAN (former NASA astronaut): The idea that we can escape anything by going to space is a fallacy. We will bring with us to launchpad all the problems, challenges, inequities, and injustices that define the human condition.
KATIE MACK: There’s nothing special about space. Space is a hard place to be, and that’s going to put some constraints on what we can do there, but it’s not going to change who we are.
RON GARAN: This is why we need to work together to solve our challenges so that when we extend human presence further out into the universe we do so not as passengers escaping a sinking ship but as ambassadors of a thriving planet.
MICHAEL PACHTER: I know you’re having fun, but it’s a pretty silly question.
Tim Curry giving a wild line read is one thing. As Stuart Allison says, “If you’ve got Tim Curry, you should expect that kind of stuff.” What’s really incredible about that scene is that it’s in the game, not a blooper reel.
STUART ALLISON: Everyone loved that take, because it’s goddamn brilliant.
JOSHUA BASCHE: I don’t think anyone ever expected that to actually make it in the game. They were kind of like, “Okay, let’s do it a little more toned down and more regular and your character.”
IVANA MILIČEVIĆ: The fact that they chose it is more the question.
STUART ALLISON. I think Mical was the one that wanted a backup.
MICAL PEDRIANA: It was so over-the-top. I thought, I don’t know what it’s gonna look like later. It might just seem too goofy.
STUART ALLISON: But that’s the joy of it. I mean, he loved his own delivery.
MICAL PEDRIANA: Jasen and I were looking at everything from the perspective of the people who are actually playing these games. What are they going to feel like? The player’s opting into a fantasy, of playing a role in which they’re the commander of an army. If it gets too silly, then you don’t feel like the task at hand is really all that relevant.
STUART ALLISON: It sounds very selfish, but that is what I’d want to see if I was playing the game.
JOSHUA BASCHE: The original reaction from the producers and other people was, well, let’s find another take. But then we ended up having to do a reshoot. I think things got distracted. So it kept staying in the build and staying in the build and staying in the build. And then people liked it and then eventually came around.
CHRIS CORRY: You know, is it too much? With the benefit of hindsight, maybe, yeah. But, I mean, come on.
MICAL PEDRIANA: It was just in a little screen in the corner.
STUART ALLISON: When you’re editing things you stumble across something that is funny to you, and you’re just cracking up and you’re not aware if it’s gonna translate to other people, but it’s too good to not include. That was definitely that take.
MICAL PEDRIANA: If something like that was in one of the main storylines, where you’re actually trying to pay attention to figure out what’s happening, I think that would have been distracting. But like, just a guy up in the corner?
CHRIS CORRY: I’ve been making video games for 25 years. You can’t take this stuff too seriously.
MICAL PEDRIANA: In terms of the game, the player’s won, this is the last mission, the rest of the Soviets are on the run, and he’s now run out of all options and he’s just kind of lost it. Maybe it’s fine. Like, maybe it’s not, but how bad could it be, really?
Red Alert 3 was released in October 2008 to generally positive reviews.
CHRIS CORRY: It certainly didn’t set the world on fire.
MICAL PEDRIANA: If we were able to do it again, I would have pulled back on a lot of things.
CHRIS CORRY: If you look at the hardcore community, a common criticism of the game is that we really over-indexed on the goofiness.
JASEN TORRES: I think there could have been a better effort to reign in parts of the game that weren’t on the same tonal heartbeat. Of which I had a responsibility, for sure. I think things got a touch carried away. Too much silliness in (sometimes) the wrong parts, too much pushing on the pin-up girl aspect in other parts, too many aspirations to make things so unique. I remember jokes getting taken too far to the point where it would be hard to actualize in gameplay.
CHRIS CORRY: It sort of takes away from the fact that there’s actually a pretty serious RTS gameplay experience there.
MICAL PEDRIANA: I would have done some things a little bit differently, but I think all the cool stuff that we did kind of eclipses those. My takeaway feeling isn’t like the whole thing was a big regret.
STUART ALLISON: My favorite memories are from working on Red Alert 3. I love Mical Pedriana. We’d sit and argue back and forth. We were good checks and balances against each other.
JASEN TORRES: It is the largest team of truly collaborative, talented, and dedicated people with which I’ve ever worked.
IVANA MILIČEVIĆ: I loved it.
MICAL PEDRIANA: My biggest disappointment was not being able to do another one. Everything would have been a lot stronger and dialed in. Right after Red Alert 3, another team within the building started working on Command & Conquer 4. I helped them out but it wasn’t exactly the same role. It was a completely different creative team. I remember their direction was, “We’re not going to make this thing campy, we’re gonna make this thing serious. We’re gonna make cinema.” And I was like, oh, no, don’t do it.
Right during that time was the big financial crisis, and traditional games started going by the wayside. It wasn’t about boxed product anymore. Free-to-play was starting to find its way and EA was just trying to figure out how to make these games profitable. Basically before C&C4 even shipped, they told us that they were gonna lay us all off. We had a choice of either sticking around or not. I give them credit for giving us that option. Usually, like, the day the game ships: “Okay, you guys can leave.” They said, “If you want to stick around, please do but you’ll get a nice severance if you don’t.” Ultimately, they basically sent everybody home. That’s why we didn’t make any more.
Pedriana, Torres and Corry might agree with disappointed fans that the game went too broad, too campy–but, ironically, it is Red Alert 3‘s single silliest moment that has proven its most beloved and one lasting contribution to culture.
CHRIS CORRY: I like that there are still people playing clips from RA3 15 years later. Otherwise, I figure it would be completely forgotten. I mean, it’s a game that a lot of people poured their heart and soul into, and I think had a lot to offer. But all video games have a fixed lifespan, and slowly recede into the background of time. If there’s anything that persists through that, I’m happy to celebrate that.
ED DEL CASTILLO (producer, Command & Conquer; Red Alert): The fact that people are meme-ing Red Alert 3, I think is great. I think that’s awesome. I think that’s what leisure is about. Leisure is the basis of culture. If people’s leisure isn’t influencing their culture, it’s not very good leisure. When we create a piece of leisure like Red Alert, I think it’s the ultimate success story to say that somebody’s meme-ing a video from there.
STUART ALLISON: I typed “Tim Curry” and I see, oh, yeah, the top GIFs for him, Tim Curry space. Now I’m using them.
ED DEL CASTILLO: There are two kinds of people in this world, I think. There are artists and there are craftsmen. Artists want their intent to be maintained when they produce something and release it to the world. They get very upset when it isn’t. And a craftsman tries to build something that will be used and reused by the people of the world. He understands that there is a collaborative effort there.
Red Alert 3 gave the world ten seconds of enduring brilliance. You can attribute its appeal, and its staying power, to the quality of the line itself, or the bold editorial choice to include it in the finished product, but really–I mean, we all know what the X factor was here.
MICHAEL PACHTER: I’m not sure why the clip is so popular, but maybe it’s because Tim Curry is a global treasure.
STUART ALLISON: Tim Curry is awesome.
JOSHUA BASCHE: When I found out Tim Curry was on this I was kind of a fanboy about it.
ANDREW DIVOFF (“General Krukov,” Red Alert 3): The Russian uniform I was to wear in the video arrived just a bit before I was due on set. I noticed immediately that the army boots intended for me were quite a bit larger than my size 11 foot required, practically to a clownish extent, but the only pair left in the wardrobe trailer. As Mr. Curry stepped off the set we were introduced by the director, and after acknowledging me, Tim said, “with boots like that your dance card must be full.” I laughed and explained the situation to which he replied “keep the boots.”
JOSHUA BASCHE: On set, we had our editorial system up and we’re doing some color correction, we’re doing some takes. For the most part, he would do his lines, and then he’d go off set. He definitely was on that serious side. I was sitting there and putting together some of his clips, and all of a sudden I just hear behind me, “I look very washed out.” That voice. I just hear it, and a shiver went up my spine and I knew who it was. I turned around, “Don’t worry, don’t worry, we haven’t color corrected yet. It’s all gonna look great.” He’s like, “Very good, then,” and then walked away. That was my one interaction with him on set.
ANDREW DIVOFF: Mr. Curry was, unsurprisingly, the consummate pro. He was also a very pensive person, often sitting off to himself while on set between scenes, yet always approachable.
STUART ALLISON: I’m a huge Rocky Horror Picture Show fan. I don’t know if people think it’s a good movie or a bad movie. You can’t remake it, because it’s unique. The people are just enjoying it so much that it elevates it to this place you can’t replicate. And I felt that’s what he gave that take.
HARIS ORKIN: You can’t ask Tim Curry, I guess, unfortunately.
STUART ALLISON: The poor guy’s not in good health.
MICAL PEDRIANA: Didn’t he have a stroke?
Curry experienced a stroke in 2012, and now requires the use of a wheelchair. In the last decade, he has primarily worked as a voice actor. He periodically—and as recently as this year—does video calls with fans, but hasn’t done an interview with the press in years.
MARCIA HURWITZ (manager, Tim Curry): Tim is not doing interviews at this time.
DUNCAN FYFE (writer, this article): Thanks, I understand. Can I ask you a question? I know you’ve worked with Tim for a long time; did you know that clip of him had become so popular? What do you think of it?
MARCIA HURWITZ: I have worked with him a long time and it is astonishing that everything he has done is iconic and internet-worthy. Thanks for understanding.