Billy Porter has been acting and singing for decades, earning a Tony Award in 2013 for his role as Lola in the Broadway production of ‘Kinky Boots’, but he really exploded into pop culture awareness in 2018, with his role on the acclaimed Ryan Murphy-produced FX series ‘Pose’. That role earned him an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, and he has been on a roll ever since.
Among his upcoming projects is a splashy new film adaptation of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ to be directed by Greg Berlanti. Porter will supply the voice for the man-eating plant, Audrey II.
And the multi-hyphenate is very excited about the challenge. As he told Collider:
“This was one of the musicals that is from my generation, from the 80s, so I’ve known it, the songs have been my audition songs for years. And I was also in the out-of-town revival tryout before it went to Broadway back in 2002, and I got let go from that so I’ve already played the voice of the plant. And I just approached it from the standpoint of what it truly is; it’s kind of like the Faustian story. It’s kind of like the devil story. Like, ‘Sell your soul to me and I’ll give you everything you want.’ He’s a villain! And I don’t get to play villains very often, so get ready because he’s gonna be everything. All of the things! I’m gonna use all of the different ranges of the voice!”
Porter is the only performer who has been officially confirmed for ‘Little Shop of Horrors’, although it is believed that Taron Egerton is close to signing on for the lead role of Seymour Krelborn, a timid florist who has an unrequited crush on his coworker, Audrey. Scarlett Johansson is reportedly close to signing on for that role. Chris Evans is expected to take on the role of Orin Scrivello, Audrey’s abusive boyfriend, who happens to be a sadistic dentist.
‘Little Shop of Horrors’ was previously made into a big-screen musical in 1986. In that version, Audrey II was voiced by Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops. Rick Moranis played Seymour and Steve Martin was Orin. Ellen Greene, who had played Audrey on stage, also portrayed the character in the film.
Expect the new ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ to begin production once Hollywood (and the rest of the world) is back up and running.