Fox Searchlight is in negotiations to help bring the legendary fathers of punk to the big-screen in a Ramones biopic featuring the band's on stage antics, backstage drama, and of course, their heavily influential music.
Based on the soon to be published book I Slept With Joey Ramone written by Joey Ramone’s brother Mickey Leigh and longtime punk writer and Ramones chronicler Legs McNeil, the film would center on the life of Joey Ramone(real name Jeffrey Hyman), the lead singer of the seminal punk act.
RiskyBusiness also reports he film will also utilize the band's rich and well documented history. Formed in Queens, NY in 1974, The Ramones originally consisted of John Cummings, Jeffrey Hyman, Thomas Erdelyi and Douglas Colvin--going by the names Johnny, Joey, Tommy and Dee Dee Ramone. Though the band were the fathers of the punk movement, and influenced other punk icons like The Sex Pistols and The Clash, they attained little commercial airplay and constantly struggled to make money.
While the bands music was more freewheeling than political, the now cult symbols heavily influenced modern music with their songs like "I Wanna Be Sedated," "Blitzkrieg Bop," “Rockaway Beach” and "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend"
In their personal lives, many of the band members struggled with addiction and assorted health problems (three of the four principal members -- all of them besides Tommy Ramone -- died in the last decade). The Ramones were also famously torn apart by infighting, particularly between lead singer Joey and guitarist Johnny, who went years without speaking to each other thanks to a host of political and personal differences (Johnny the conservative, Joey the liberal, to say the least). Joey Ramone also overcame obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The Ramones officially disbanded in 1996, but would appear together several times in public.
The film project, which had initially been conceived and come together independently under manager-producer Rory Rosegarten-- the former Everybody Loves Raymond exec producer who negotiated several years ago to buy the rights to the book as it was being written and, most critically, the rights to the music-- would get a significant boost with the boarding of Fox Searchlight. The specialty division released a musical biopic earlier this year with Notorious, the tale of slain rapper Biggie Smalls.
This film is a long time coming, and several close to the project caution that the presence of so many rights has made the negotiating process a complicated one, and the deal with Searchlight is not closed.
The Ramones have been featured on the big screen before, with the 1979 teen-rebel comedy Rock 'n Rool High School, in which the band starred as musical mavericks who help teens face off against a disciplinarian principal, as well as the 2004 Ramones documentary, End of the Century. But this would mark their first real feature, that wouldn't have them portraying themselves.
I hope Fox Searchlight can be the studio behind this project. They've been making some of the best films of the last few years, and have several promising ones coming out as well. They most recently released the GeekTyrant favorite 500 Days of Summer. Are dearing up for Drew Barrymore's Whip It, and Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr Fox. And their Oscar track record is pretty damn good, with Juno and Slumdog Millionaire.
So what do you think of Fox Searchlight wanting to bring the Ramones story to the big-screen?