Earlier this year, Tommy Ramone (born Thomas Erdelyi), the last surviving member of the original Ramones lineup, passed away at the age of 65. While vocalist Joey, guitarist Johnny, bassist Dee Dee, and drummer Tommy are all gone, they leave behind a legacy that will never be forgotten.
Though the group saw limited commercial success during a career that spanned over two decades, the Ramones had a profound impact on rock ‘n’ roll, inspiring countless music fans to pick up a guitar and play. Their sound can be heard in many of today’s biggest rock acts, such as the Strokes and Green Day (the latter of whom performed a tribute during the Ramones’ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremony in 2002).
The story of how four rag-tag musicians from Queens, N.Y. went from rocking CBGB’s to becoming arguably one of the greatest bands of all-time is a very interesting one; something that might even be worthy of a feature film. According to a report by The Wrap, that’s exactly what’s happening as legendary director Martin Scorsese is attached to helm a biopic of the punk icons.
While the prospect of Scorsese handling another story of New York culture is a tantalizing one, followers of the auteur are well aware that the 71-year-old is keeping himself quite busy. He is currently working on Silence, which is being prepped for a 2015 release. In addition to that passion project, he’s also slated to direct the pilot for the Shutter Island TV series Ashecliffe and has two long-gestating films on deck in the form of Sinatra and The Irishman (which will reunite him with former muse Robert De Niro). Simply put, the Oscar-winner has a lot on his plate already.
A separate report by Deadline made note of this, saying that while Scorsese is attached, there is no script at this point in time. The project is something that the owners of the Ramones estate are interested in for 2016 (the 40th anniversary of the Ramones’ first album), so it’s possible that a writer comes on board soon. That said, the aforementioned Sinatra and The Irishman are further along so far, meaning Scorsese may turn his attention to one of those next.
Still, with a director now attached and 2016 fast approaching (in film terms), the Ramones biopic could end up getting fast-tracked if the pieces fall into place. There’s no word yet on what time period the film would cover, but anyone who’s seen the documentary End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones knows that there’s plenty of dramatic material to supplement the energetic musical sets that will no doubt take place. Though the band remained active for 20+ years, in-fighting, lifestyle choices, and tumultuous recording sessions (notoriously, the ones with Phil Spector) threatened to break them up.
Considering Scorsese is truly on board, the conversation will now shift to the thespians that will bring the Ramones to life; a daunting task for anyone. While the physical resemblance will be a must, it’s also likely that the filmmakers will search for actors who can imitate the band’s musical style – namely, Joey’s trademark bubblegum vocals – so the movie versions of “Blitzkreig Bop” and “I Wanna Be Sedated” can hold a candle to the originals.
We’ll keep you updated on the Untitled Ramones Biopic as more information becomes available.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.