Aside from being the originators of punk and influencer of virtually every rock band that succeeded them, the band was fraught with personal rivalries, infighting, drugs and disease, making them perfect fodder for a quasi-accurate biopic. No word yet on who's going to play the central characters, but we humbly present our own suggestions for the four (plus one) outsized personalities. The 2003 Ramones documentary 'End of the Century' is still required viewing for any fan of the band, but Fox Searchlight hopes to add to the group's canon with a feature film based on 'I Slept With Joey Ramone,' the upcoming memoir written by Ramone's brother Mickey Leigh and consummate punk chronicler Legs McNeil.
Aside from being the originators of punk and influencer of virtually every rock band that succeeded them, the band was fraught with personal rivalries, infighting, drugs and disease, making them perfect fodder for a quasi-accurate biopic. No word yet on who's going to play the central characters, but we humbly present our own suggestions for the four (plus one) outsized personalities.
Before tragically succumbing to cancer in 2004, guitarist Johnny Ramone influenced a generation of guitarists with his simple, direct style of playing. A controlling and emotional figure in the band, the role requires someone from the Wes Anderson/David O. Russell school of melodramatic involvement. Enter Jason Schwartzman. The 'Rushmore' and 'I Heart Huckabees' star already has the hair and indie appeal down. Whether he can pull off the leather jacket, though, is another story.
Dee Dee Ramone
The group's bassist and primary songwriter, Dee Dee Ramone's wild life and tragic death of a heroin overdose in 2002 is the stuff of biopic legend. Arguably the most serious role, we recommend Joseph Gordon-Levitt for his thoughtful, mature performances in such films as 'Mysterious Skin' and 'Brick,' as the talented actor would give the film the extra layer of gravitas it deserves.
At 6'6", finding someone who can pull off the legendary frontman's physical appearance and subdued, sensitive nature is a daunting task. While a few inches short, our dark horse favorite Jon Heder fits the bill. Putting aside the exaggerated mannerisms and voice in 'Napoleon Dynamite,' Heder's quieter side (and skinny frame) would lend the film equal doses of humor and subtlety.
The last surviving original member, drummer Tommy Ramone was originally brought on solely as the band's manager before getting behind the kit when Joey switched from drums to vocals. For this role, we nominate Mark Wahlberg, who, in addition to bearing a striking physical resemblance to the drummer, already has quasi-biopic experience as "Izzy" Cole in 2001's not-so-legendary 'Rock Star,' (not to mention real world musical experience, but let's forget about that).
We'd love to see the loquacious author play himself, but barring that, we're going with Kevin Bacon as the present-day McNeil (we picture McNeil, in true biopic form, opening the movie by looking back, dreamlike, on his life.) As a founding member of blues duo Bacon Brothers, the actor is no stranger to music and could easily showcase the dichotomy between McNeil's genial, likable nature and hard-lived life.