Susan Sarandon didn't plan on auditioning for The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and once she got there she certainly didn't want to sing — but she ultimately won over casting producers with a rendition of a very famous and very simple song.
In a new interview, the Oscar winner revealed that she landed the role of Janet Weiss by performing the forever classic "Happy Birthday."
"A friend of mine was in the stage show in L.A., so I knew Tim Curry," Sarandon told The Hollywood Reporter. "And one day, I went by, just to say hi, when they happened to be casting. And they asked me to read, because nobody had made Janet very funny, but they were all much better singers. And so, I said, 'No, I can't really sing. Actually, I'm kind of phobic about singing.' And they said, 'Well, can you sing 'Happy Birthday?'"
Noam Galai/Getty Images; Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images Susan Sarandon in 2019, and in 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' with Barry Bostwick
Sarandon only had a few film and TV credits when she made the decision to just go for it and test out her pipes on the ubiquitous song.
"So I actually went against my better judgment, thinking that maybe I would finally get over this phobia that I had about singing out loud, because I realized that it was just all ego," the actress said. "And eventually, I did the recording session and I kind of got somewhat over it. But it was just a fluke that I did get cast."
Sarandon has four cuts on the Rocky Horror soundtrack, including Janet's trademark song, "Touch-a-Touch-a-Touch-a-Touch Me." She also performed on "Dammit Janet," "Over at the Frankenstein Place," and "Super Heroes."
Incidentally, Curry sang a bit of "Happy Birthday" in the film.