“CBGB” is shaping up to be quite a star-studded affair. The film, which chronicles the famous New York City music venue, has cast “The Big Bang Theory’s” Johnny Galecki as Terry Ork, “The Borgias’s” Mickey Sumner as Patti Smith, and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins as punk legend Iggy Pop.
Alan Rickman has already been cast as CBGB founder, Hilly Kristal, while Malin Akerman is set to portray rock icon Debbie Harry.
Rickman’s “Harry Potter” co-star Rupert Grint has also signed up for the “CBGB” project, as guitarist Cheetah Chrome of punk band the Dead Boys. “Avatar” actor Joel David Moore and Julian Acosta will play Joey and Johnny Ramone, respectively, while “Seinfeld” veteran Estelle Harris will star as Kristal’s mother, Bertha.
Brad Rosenberger, Randall Miller, Jody Savin and Kristal’s daughter, Lisa Kristal Burgman, are producing the film, titled “CBGB,”which aims to capture the Bowery nightclub when it was home to New York’s burgeoning punk rock scene and performers like Smith, Blondie, The Ramones, The Talking Heads and Television.
Kristal, who the New York Times dubbed “a rock midwife”, died of lung cancer in 2007. CBGB closed its doors in 2006.
“There was no real venue in 1973 for people like us,” Smith told the Times after Kristal’s death. “We didn’t fit into the cabarets or the folk clubs. Hilly wanted the people that nobody else wanted. He wanted us.”
Savin, who is also directing the film, told Bilboard in 2011 that “It was an old-fashioned salon in an awful part of New York where people could fail while they worked to find their voice.” He added that Kristal “provided a voice to the disenfranchised. It’s a heroic and flawed story.”