As anyone who saw The Runaways or the Germs movie What We Do Is Secret can tell you, punk-rock biopics can be a dicey proposition indeed. But then again, there was Sid & Nancy, and the early punk period was so squalidly fertile that it seems like a decent director should be able to wring some good drama from it. And soon, we’ll get another attempt in the form of CBGB, a forthcoming film about the titular Lower East Side venue and Hilly Kristal, its famous owner.
As the Huffington Post reports, Alan Rickman (Hans Gruber!) will play Kristal, and Estelle Harris, George’s mom from Seinfeld, will play his mother Bertha. After all, God knows the world needed to see Estelle Costanza on the big screen. More interesting, though, is the list of actors they’ve assembled to play the various musicians associated with the venue.
The icy blonde Malin Ackerman, who I mostly know for playing the Silk Spectre in Watchmen, will play Blondie’s Debbie Harry, and Alan Rickman’s redheaded Harry Potter costar Rupert Grint will play the Dead Boys’ Cheetah Chrome. The movie’s Joey Ramone will be Joel David Moore, a fittingly gawky actor from Bones and Avatar. Meanwhile, one Julian Acosta will portray Johnny Ramone.
The movie will begin production next month in Savannah, which can’t be a good sign. (Filming in New York is expensive, sure, but if you’re going to make a movie about one of the city’s most famous venues, you kind of have to do it right.) Thus far, that’s all the cast that we know of. This, of course, leaves out some of the most famous people associated with CBGB. So: In a perfect world, who should play David Byrne? Tom Verlaine? Richard Hell? Lydia Lunch? Handsome Dick Manitoba? James Chance? The various associated Gorilla Biscuits and NYHC goons? Leave your ideas in the comments section?