Original article found here:The Sunday Times | NOVEMBER, 03rd 2013
The mythology of punk music’s evolution can be traced back, more or less, to one singular staple: CBGB. Opened in 1973 in downtown Manhattan’s East Village, the nightclub that originally intended to house country, bluegrass and blues music (hint its acronym) quickly became a breeding ground for bands like The Ramones, Talking Heads and The Police, among countless others.
The legacy of the club, which closed in 2006 over a rent dispute, is on display in a new movie that stars Alan Rickman as bemused owner Hilly Kristal. It’s a bit of a departure for anyone more accustomed to seeing Rickman, 67, play sinister Severus Snape in “Harry Potter” or Judge Turpin in “Sweeney Todd.” The movie also afforded him the opportunity to reunite with fellow Hogwarts alum Rupert Grint, who portrays one-third of derriere-bearing punk band The Dead Boys, alongside Justin Bartha and Bronson Adams. They’re joined by a revolving door of notable faces, including Malin Akerman as Debbie Harry, Taylor Hawkins as Iggy Pop, Johnny Galecki as Terry Ork and Ashley Greene as Hilly’s daughter Lisa.
HuffPost Entertainment snagged some phone time with Rickman and Grint, who were candid about their unfamiliarity with CBGB’s legacy but effusive about the excitement that came with reconvening for the project. Plus, Grint talks about his own punk phase and Rickman explains what Halloween used to mean for him.
What are you up to today?
Rickman: I’m in New York. I’m just here for three or four days for “CBGB” in New York and then back to work in England.
Grint: I’m rehearsing a play that will start [in London] in a couple of weeks. Yeah, so that’s it.
Are you enjoying the theater work? Are you more of a theater guy or a film guy?
Grint: I don’t know, really. This is my first theater experience, and it’s very different. I wanted to just try it; it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Just the thought of it scares me. I’ve kind of put it off for a long time, and I just thought it was a good time to do it. And it’s a great play and a really great cast with a great director, and it was just, yeah, I’m enjoying it.
Were you familiar with the legacy of CBGB as a breeding ground for the punk-rock scene prior to taking your roles in the movie?
Rickman: I wasn’t familiar with CBGB at all. I didn’t know about it and didn’t know its history. I hadn’t even really heard those four letters put together because at that time I was very much in England as a drama student and an art student, so it’s all been a new discovery to me. Obviously I was aware of some of the bands, but not that they’d all started in a club on the Bowery.
Grint: I didn’t actually know a lot about it. I’d obviously heard of the name and the logo and seen it on T-shirts and stuff like that, but I didn’t really know how prolific it was in discovering some of my favorite bands. I love Talking Heads, and the whole punk thing was something I really loved. So, yeah, it was quite an education learning about it. And also Dead Boys, I wasn’t really familiar with them, and kind of listening and watching them on YouTube was amazing. They just had so much energy, and they were just disgusting. It was incredible.
Did you grow up listening to the music depicted in the movie?
Rickman: Obviously I was aware of the huge rise of The Police in England, and as an art student I was very much a fan of Talking Heads. And then Blondie, but I wasn’t a hard punk-rock fan at the time. But of course I was also very much around the height of The Beatles and The Stones, so it was like that was the lone star and everything spun off from there. And [Bob] Dylan, very much so. … England in the ‘60s and the ‘70s was everything that history has said; it was phenomenally exciting, musically. One was very shaped by that.
Grint: It was that whole era that I liked. I like, obviously, The Sex Pistols and The Clash, Blondie as well, and The Ramones. Some amazing people performed on that stage. … I went through a real punk phase not that long ago, and yeah, it was probably the reason why I decided to do it, because I have such a love for that.
Did you dress similarly to the character that you play at any point?
Grint: [Laughs] No, not at all. The dog collar was a new experience for me.
Not knowing much of the mythology of CBGB, how did you come to learn about your characters?
Rickman: What I really enjoyed and what made it interesting to play was the fact that he happened in direct contrast to the world of the club and what its history became. Because there was this big quiet, contained man who made a club for country music and it never ever played there. Along came punk, and he became like that deus ex machina, I suppose. I watched old interviews and DVDs. I listened to him talking to his mother and his daughter and journalists, so there was a lot of material for me.
Grint: Yeah, there wasn’t really a whole lot to go on. There are a few videos of him playing live at CBGB and a few interviews I watched. Yeah, and having [Dead Boys guitarist Cheetah Chrome] on set was quite a different thing. I had kind of a little bit of pressure because he was kind of watching every scene, and you’re trying to portray him and do him justice, and it’s quite a challenge.
So he was on set the whole time?
Grint: Yeah, he has a cameo. He plays the cab driver. He was lovely. He was such a nice guy. I was kind of surprised he was still alive.
Did he give you any notes while filming?
Grint: Not so much notes. It was just kind of watching him and being around him and listening to his stories and just listening, really, kind of absorbing a lot of that. And he was such a nice guy and we had a good time.
Was this movie your first instance of nudity on camera?
Grint: Yeah, I guess it was, yeah.
Were you comfortable with that? How did that go down?
Grint: Weirdly, yeah. It didn’t really feel that big a deal. It just kind of happened. I didn’t really think about it when I was getting ready for it, and yeah, it just kind of happened. I had some sort of sock, modesty thing, contraption. I don’t want to go into too much detail. And yeah, it was just sort of one of those things. There was quite a lot of that in the film. Especially from Justin [Bartha] as well. … There’s quite a lot of ass in the film.
You had to try out an American accent in this role. Is there an accent out there that you’d be intimidated to have to use on camera?
Rickman: I think every English actor is nervous of a Newcastle accent. That’s really difficult.
Grint: It’s quite fun just trying to work on it and get it right. I like that kind of challenge. A couple years ago, I did a film that required me to do a Liverpool accent. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that sound, but that was quite a hard one. It’s quite a harsh sound. But I enjoy that side of things.
Once you started exploring the role and got into The Dead Boys and their history, did you find yourself enjoying their music? What did you think of the band you were portraying?
Grint: I really love them. I listened to all their songs completely. Their songs are quite hard to play, not easy to listen to. But no, I really love then. I’ve always really wanted to be in a band, so this was kind of an opportunity to experience that. To go on stage and have the whole crowd there and the music.
Is music something you’d ever pursue?
Grint: I don’t know, probably not. I’ve tried to leverage it, but I just know it’s never going to happen.
Alan, you often play very dominant roles, very powerful people. What were your thoughts going into a character who was much more loose-goosey? Is it fun to shift gears and play that sort of character?
Rickman: I suppose, in my perspective, I’ve played as many of those as I have the other sort. It’s just some get more publicity or make more money at the box office or something. I’m perfectly happy to be Colonel Brandon in “Sense & Sensibility” as I am any of those powerful characters. It’s just part of an actor’s job, and you just alter the colors that you get out of the cupboard.
How was it to reunite? Had you seen each other since doing press for the eighth “Harry Potter” movie?
Rickman: No, because I think we’d both been so busy doing other things. But it was great to see him on the set, and it was great to watch all three of them. I saw Emma [Watson] the other night in London in a restaurant, and I saw Daniel [Radcliffe] recently in London because he was doing a play. It’s great to watch the three of them moving forward into the rest of their lives and being working actors and not trapped by one image.
Grint: Not really, no, actually. … I love Alan. He’s always been one of my favorites. But yeah, it was quite weird seeing him in a whole new kind of environment because — I’m trying to think back — I don’t think I ever really saw him outside of that wig and cloak.
Which “Potter” co-star would you most like to reunite with?
Grint: There are so many. All of them. I’ve already loved working with them. I like Michael Gambon. He’s so cool; just a remarkable guy. I’ve worked with Julie Walters before as well. I love her, she’s great.
Now for something more fun. It’s October. What’s your favorite Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?
Rickman: [Laughs] The thing about Halloween is, to me, it just means — because it’s so different in England –- we used to have something called Bonfire Night, and we’d have fireworks. That’s disappeared and I know Halloween’s taken over. Halloween to me as a child was, the family would fill a bowl of water and you’d have apple bobbing in it, and you’d get apples out of a bowl of water. To me it just means a soaking wet shirt.
Grint: I liked Halloween. It never used to be a big thing when I was kid. We never really did it. But I actually had a good costume not that long ago. The last one, I dressed as a Play-Doh can that I made. You know Play-Doh?
Grint: Well, literally, I actually made it. It was a yellow bin. I cut the bottom out and I just wore a yellow bin with a Play-Doh logo. With a yellow hat. It’s not very practical.
Do you have a favorite Halloween candy?
Rickman: I don’t even know what that means. The word “chocolate” would loom large.
Grint: A favorite Halloween candy? I don’t really know. I never trick-or-treated when I was younger because we lived on a block of houses that were all just kind of elderly people who were just scared to answer the door. But yeah, candy corn, that’s a big thing. I’ve tried that. That’s pretty great.
Original article found here:huffingtonpost.com | OCTOBER, 12th 2013
How do you move on after an iconic role like Ron Weasley? ‘Harry Potter’ alum Rupert Grint chats with Kevin Fallon about playing a wild punk rocker in ‘CBGB,’ leaving Ron behind, and, um, showing his backside.
On a given night in the late ’70s, you might have been able to find punk-rock icons The Dead Boys playing at New York City’s hallowed venue, CBGB. You might have seen lead singer Stiv Bators slash his stomach on stage. Or you may have seen Bators nearly knock himself out with a microphone stand in the throes of particularly passionate, anarchic performance. Or, if you were there on one legendary day, you may even have seen Bators receive a blow job from a CBGB waitress while performing.
Sharing the stage with Bators was Dead Boys guitarist Cheetah Chrome. In this weekend’s indie release CBGB, which chronicles the famed club’s rise to prominence, the flame-haired punk legend is portrayed by perhaps one of the last people you’d expect to stand on stage while a costar receives faux fellatio: Harry Potter star Rupert Grint.
He Who Played Ron Weasley is now a 25-year-old actor admirably leaving his Potter past behind him, and as Chrome he does his own fair share of embracing punk. Take the widely circulated scene that leaked earlier this month, for example, of a leather-clad, dog collar-wearing Grint as Chrome dropping trou to prove “the carpet matches the drapes.”
We chatted with Grint about embracing his inner punk, leaving his Potter image behind, and, yes, his butt.
I can only imagine how much fun this was to film. Everyone dreams of being a rock star when they’re a kid. Now you get to play one.
Yeah! There’s just something about that idea. I always wanted to be in a band, especially in a punk thing. It’s such a performance—all these crazy, ridiculous things they did on stage. It just seemed like such a good time.
And you got to act out all those ridiculous punk things in this movie.
It was really fun. It’s quite an intoxicating thing. Even though on stage we weren’t really playing the instruments—we were just kind of moving about on stage—we really felt the crowd and the music. We transported into that world, into that time. We all did really feel like rock stars, too.
How into punk rock were you before you signed on for this movie?
I loved the music. Mainly the English point of view of punk. The Ramones I was a big fan of, the Talking Heads, the Clash, Sex Pistols…all those bands. It was one of the reasons I wanted to do the film, so I could access all that music. I actually learned a lot about the club, too. I only really knew of it before. It was a fascinating time, learning about how brilliant this place was and how many amazing fans performed there. It was such a great experience.
Did you ever visit the club?
To be honest, I really didn’t know what it was, what it meant. I obviously knew the name. I think I even had a T-shirt with it on.
Those T-shirts became more popular than the club itself, I think.
It’s funny. People probably didn’t know it was a venue.
I remember back during peak Harry Potter days, journalists liked to compare you guys to rock stars, for the fan hysteria that surrounded your movies. But I think it’s safe to say you didn’t behave like ones, at least not the ones depicted in this film.
No, no, no. [Laughs] Oh, it was just ridiculous things that they did. I didn’t really know about the Dead Boys. I had to look them up as well and listen to the music. There were a few videos up on YouTube that I studied. It blew my mind the kind of things they did. It was amazing.
What’s the most punk rock thing you’ve ever done?
Hm…I don’t know. I never really had that feeling where you’re rebelling against something. I never had an interest.
When you put on the dog collar and you were wearing all the leather, did you feel any “punk” spirit take over you?
Yeah! The clothes are such a big part of everything. When you put them on, you do feel like—I didn’t smash anything up or anything like that, but you do get this attitude a little bit. I loved the clothing. It was really helpful in getting deep into that world.
Now I’m sure you’re aware, but of all things, the clip of you dropping your trousers to prove that “the carpet matches the drapes,” that was one of the first clips released here to drum up publicity for the movie.
Wow. I’m sorry. No, you’d think, because I’m quite—I’ve always been a bit weird about nudity. It’s not something I’d had an interest in kind of exploring. But this just happened and it felt right, somehow. Punk and everything. It was just quite a simple thing. On set, it’s easier than you think. Yeah. It’s good.
Between the clip from this movie and then the obsession over Daniel Radcliffe’s nudity and sex scenes in Kill Your Darlings, there’s a strange obsession with the idea of you Harry Potter stars taking off your clothes.
It’s so weird. This is not really on the same scale as that. It’s just a flash of ass. [Laughs] It’s something that’s quite shocking for people who have grown up with us since they were 10-year-olds to suddenly see…a lot more of us. It must be weird for them.
“It’s something that’s quite shocking for people who have grown up with us since they were 10-year-olds to suddenly see…a lot more of us. It must be weird for them.”
Does it frustrate you that these are things that get focused on when you’re releasing these films?
I don’t really think about it too much, really. It’s just one of those things. Part of the challenge there is to kind of separate from that, those roles. I think it’s going to take a long time to completely detach ourselves from that, because it was such a huge, massive thing. It’s just part of what we’ve got, I guess. It doesn’t bother me.
Are you choosing roles and signing on to films like this with the hope that they’ll distance you from the Potter memories?
I’ve never kind of consciously gone out and tried to detach myself. Some of it is just that I pick things that I like the script for and the people around it. I think that sort of thing—now that we’re all getting older, drugs, nudity, and those things are going to come hand-in-hand with that growing up, as far as the parts we choose.
So Cheetah Chrome actually has a cameo in the movie. Was he on set a lot when you were filming?
Yeah, he was. He was on set for the whole time I was there. When he was on set, it put a lot of pressure on you. You want to kind of do him justice, especially since I can’t play the guitar. He was an amazing guitarist. So I felt self-conscious when he was there, but he’s actually a really nice guy. But it was nice just talking to him, listening to his stories.
Did he tell you all the crazy stories from his days at the club? What’s the craziest?
I suppose the whole whipped-cream incident. So weird. His daughter, who was on set as well, she had actual photographs of the actual day, so we could see what was going on. It was, um…amazing to see that.
Could you even imagine a rock star pulling something like that off these days, with iPhones and Instagram?
Right! It’s so crazy.
What’s it like working with Alan Rickman (who played Professor Snape in the Harry Potter franchise) in this totally different capacity?
It was weird! I really love Alan. He’s always been one of my favorites. It was just kind of strange to see him in this whole new character and in such a completely different environment. I haven’t seen him much outside of the Potter set after we wrapped, so just seeing him in another environment is odd. It’s kind of like Snape is suddenly a different person. It was weird. But he’s great, and it was nice to have someone who knew your face on set. He made the whole thing a great experience.
So now that you’ve done this movie and played a rock star, any plans to try out doing the real thing?
I’d love to. But I don’t know…I think that ship’s sailed. It’s a dream, but I don’t think I’d really be good at it. I’m not a natural musician. But it was really fun to pretend. I’d like to pretend again.
Original article found here:thedailybeast.com | OCTOBER, 12th 2013
Along with his former Harry Potter co-stars, Rupert Grint has edged away from his childhood role of Ron Weasley into edgier fare. His latest role as Dead Boys punker Cheetah Chrome in the film CBGB includes a scene in which he drops his pants to prove to a record producer (played by Stana Katic) that the carpet matches the drapes, so to speak — even if all we see is his bare behind, she gets enough of an eyeful to decide to work on the band’s record. Grint, who is currently performing in the West End play Mojo, called from London to chat with Vulture about onstage blow jobs, the infamous CBGB bathroom, and butt tattoos.
Every Twitter feed claiming to be you doesn’t seem like it’s really you. Are they impostors? Are you even on Twitter?
No, I’m not. If you saw one, that would be a fake one, yeah. I don’t know. It’s weird that people pretend to do that, pretend that they’re me. But I’ve never done Twitter. A lot of people have already said that I should give it a go, but I don’t think I’d be very good at it! It’s just not something … I’m not great at any of those things, really. Maybe one day, though.
You wear a dog collar throughout the film. Did you get to keep it?
No. I really wanted to, though. [Laughs.] I kind of got quite attached to the dog collar. Wearing it every day, I felt naked without it.
Not as naked as the scene in which you drop trou!
Oh, right, yeah. Yes. That was quite fun. I didn’t really think about it until I had to do it, but it was kind of quite a tricky process. I think in the end, we needed a sock contraption. [Laughs.] So that kind of worked. That was the first time I had ever done anything like that. Justin Bartha had to do a lot more, actually. He had to get his waxed. So there was a lot of preparation there. Luckily, I don’t have that issue.
And you didn’t end up having to hide any butt tattoos, either, right? Tom Felton started a rumor during the promotion of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that you guys were all going to get cast tattoos, à la The Fellowship of the Ring. I think it was something like lightning bolts on your left buttocks?
Oh, yeah. I kind of vaguely remember that. I’m still up for that. We were actually seriously thinking about it. It wasn’t just a joke. There were loads of people that said, “We’ll get them.” To mark the end of an era, I guess. But it never actually happened in the end. If I did do it, they have cover-up makeup, right? I could cover it up if I had to? That would work.
What was it like performing as a member of the Dead Boys?
We had a lot of fun going crazy. And I always wanted to be in a band and be a part of something like that, and it felt like I got a little taste of that. I enjoyed that, definitely. I knew a few chords before, but as soon as the lights went down on the crowd, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing! [Laughs.] I was just faking it, pretty sloppily. But I think it was kind of like how the whole ethos of punk was, just wild. So I think I got away with it. But yeah, those scenes onstage were really fun. What I knew about the Dead Boys before was that they were just insane, so that was fun to play, some of the disgusting things the Dead Boys did. Re-creating those moments were quite fun.
Like when Stana Katic gets the whipped cream and Stiv Bators gets a blow job while performing onstage?
Yeah! Yeah! And that was true! That actually happened! They have photographic evidence. Hilly Kristal’s daughter Lisa, she was on set as well, and she was showing us all these pictures of the actual event. It just blew my mind. It’s ridiculous, that it actually happened. [Laughs.] Doing that scene, Justin really went for it — that, and blowing his nose in the ham. You could really feel like we were punk.
Cheetah Chrome was also on set, and he even did a cameo as a cab driver. Did he give you any tips?
Yeah, he was great. It was just amazing to sit with him and talk to him, about when he was so heavily addicted to drugs and living such a wild lifestyle. It’s quite special when you’re playing someone as they’re watching you on set. I felt a little self-conscious about getting the movement right, so there was a bit of pressure, but it was special to get to know him.
Did you feel any echoes of Ron and Snape in the scene where Cheetah first meets Hilly? Because you’re being so polite and calling Alan Rickman sir …
Yeah, I was kind of getting flashbacks. I love Alan. He’s one of my favorites, and he was completely transformed. I was surprised when I saw him. He was just completely in that zone, as he was when he was Snape, when he was quite intimidating. And yeah, when I was doing that first scene, it was weird! I was getting flashbacks of when I was 11, because I kind of grew up with him, really, in a weird way, so he’s been in my life for a long time. So it was kind of cool to see him out of that world and in a completely new environment.
I know you didn’t have any major scenes in the bathroom, but those were the actual toilets from CBGB. They got them after the club was torn down to use as a set.
Yeah, it’s quite amazing, isn’t it? They had quite a reputation, those toilets, back in the day, didn’t they? But it was cool that they had some of the original parts, like the original door of the club, and the cash register, and the desk. Loads of things like that. So the place felt more like CBGB, I guess.
They must have cleaned up the CBGB toilets somewhat on set, right? So it looks cruddy because of the paint, right?
I wasn’t part of the toilet process. [Chuckles.] But yeah, I would hope. It looked disgusting, either way!
Original article found here:vulture.com | OCTOBER, 8th 2013
Since “Harry Potter,” Grint has played an aspiring porn star and a punk rocker in “CBGB.” But he’s not trying to “shock” people.
This year Grint has appeared as the drug-taking aspiring porn star in The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman. In the upcoming CBGB (out Oct. 11) he stars as the drugged-out punk rocker Cheetah Chrome.
Grint will also make his West End stage debut this year in Mojo, where he plays a drug-addled gangster.
“It’s not really that I am trying to shock people or make a big statement,” says Grint, “It’s just part of moving on.”
Grint, whose portrayal of Cheetah Chrome was unveiled in USA TODAY, drops his trousers in one CBGB scene in front of a record producer at the bar to prove that he doesn’t dye his hair.
In another scene, his bandmate from the infamous The Dead Boys engages in a sexual act with a female fan midsong.
It’s all part of capturing the real Cheetah Chrome. The rocker lived a life so hard that Grint says he was surprised that the real Chrome was on set, working as an adviser to the film.
“I couldn’t believe he was still alive given the amount of drugs he took,” says Grint.
Grint admits the prospect of playing on the West End intimidates him. His stage acting experience is limited to school plays.
“This is a completely new thing, a whole new level,” says Grint. “It does scare me. That’s kind of a reason why I want to do it.”
Original article found here:usatoday.com | AUGUST, 7th 2013
The film, which also features Grint’s ‘Harry Potter’ co-star Alan Rickman, follows story of NYC club.
Now for something completely different: Harry Potter star Rupert Grint on stage, holding a guitar and wearing a dog collar, in a band whose lead singer blows his nose into sandwich meat, chews the sandwich and then spits the contents into a rabid audience.
“I have always wanted to play a punk,” says Grint, 24, who stars as rocker Cheetah Chrome in the historical drama CBGB (opening in limited markets Oct. 11). “It was really good fun.”
Chrome, a guitarist for The Dead Boys, is one of the many musicians brought to life in the raucous story of the seminal club CBGB in New York’s Bowery district, a beer-drenched springboard for some of the most vibrant new wave and punk sounds from 1973 to 2006.
The film focuses on the early days, when owner and operator Hilly Kristal gave a stage to a mix of new and veteran underground performers such as Iggy Pop, Blondie, The Ramones, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, The Police and Talking Heads.
“It was this iconic place, and it has this kind of history,” says writer/director Randall Miller, who worked on the film with his writer/producer wife, Jody Savin. “But people don’t know how it all began. And that’s what we wanted to tell, the origin of all of this.”
Kristal (Alan Rickman), a classically trained musician and jazz club manager, had planned to open a forum for country, bluegrass and blues performers, hence the CBGB initials on the now-famous logo.
“But that’s not what came to him in New York’s Bowery in the 1970s,” Savin says. “But he understood music enough to know that maybe these young folks didn’t have musicianship, but a voice and something new. And the notion of giving them a stage was heroic.”
The story follows Kristal’s journey (he died in 2007), with Rickman donning a brown wig to create an “uncanny” resemblance, Miller says. A host of young actors serve as early versions of the famous rockers, including Kyle Gallner as Reed, Joel David Moore as Joey Ramone, and Malin Akerman, who asked to play her hero, Blondie’s Debbie Harry. “She’s amazing. She looks a lot like Harry,” Miller says. “And she has this great voice.”
For the film, some of the actors’ voices are mixed into original versions of the songs. The movie’s soundtrack (due Oct. 8), however, will feature 20 songs by the original artists, including some live tracks recorded in the 1970s.
The filmmakers painstakingly re-created CBGB on a soundstage in Savannah, Ga., using original blueprints and pieces from the club, including the cash register, the telephone booth and the toilets.
The set also included 50 feet of the original CBGB bar, supplemented by newly constructed sections that were kicked, beaten with chains and doused with beer to make them look like the original. “Whatever we could do to screw it up to make it match, we did it,” Miller says.
John Holmstrom, a club fixture at the time and founder of Punk magazine, served as a consultant on the film, and he was struck when he visited the set for the first time.
“He said it was as if he stepped into the club of yesteryear. It was an emotional experience,” Savin says. “He wanted to order a drink at the bar.”
Chrome was also on set to film a cameo and watch Grint taste the rock ‘n’ roll life in front of a screaming crowd alongside Justin Bartha, who plays The Dead Boys’ equally outrageous, lunchmeat-loving lead singer, Stiv Bators.
“It was a real buzz. We actually felt like we were in a band, which is something I have always wanted to do, secretly,” Grint says. “It was nice to have a little taste of that.”
Original article found here:usatoday.com | AUGUST, 6th 2013
Alan Rickman plays club owner Hilly Kristal
Relics from New York City’s bygone CBGB club – including “Smithsonian-quality pieces” like its bar, the phone booth, chunks of the walls and those stained toilets, all pulled from storage – will reunite on the big screen next year in CBGB, which indie filmmakers confirmed they finished shooting in August.
Forty years after CBGB opened its doors on the city’s Lower East Side, writer Jody Savin and director Randall Miller of Unclaimed Freight Productions tell Rolling Stone they are now editing the 100-minute feature. It tells the story of how the late Hilly Kristal offered his club’s cramped stage to bands playing original songs, which attracted groups like the Ramones, the Patti Smith Group and Talking Heads. In 1974 Television became the first act to play CBGB, and the band gigged there every Sunday for years before recording their album Marquee Moon. The club closed in 2006.
Though tax credits afforded filmmakers a suitable shooting location in Savannah, Georgia, this summer, initial production wrapped last month following a week’s worth of filming in Manhattan and on Kristal’s New Jersey farm.
CBGB will star both fresh faces and recognizable talent who look and sound the part of New York’s punk scene, including Malin Akerman, who bears a striking resemblance to Blondie’s Debbie Harry; Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, who dieted to fill the role of Iggy Pop; and Alan Rickman, who plays Kristal.
“That’s always a tough creative decision,” Savin said of recruiting actors who embody the spirit of the musicians over relying on straight impersonations. “It was tricky,” Miller added, explaining the filmmakers’ year-long search for actors who not only looked the part, but alsoplayed the instruments that corresponded to their characters. “It’s all about just finding the authentic people.”
Things immediately clicked between actor Rupert Grint of Harry Potter fame and guitarist Cheetah Chrome of the Dead Boys, whom the young actor portrays. Though Grint’s English accent initially worried him, Chrome, who has a seven-year-old son and has seen every Harry Potter movie, says his only advice to Grint was to mumble a lot.
“The first day I saw him on-set, he hit it dead-on,” Chrome told Rolling Stone. “He had me down. I’m really glad he’s doing me.” Chrome himself wasn’t left out of the film: he has a cameo as a cranky cab driver who hates punk music.
To maintain authenticity throughout the film, Savin and Miller exhaustively researched other CBGB regulars, and consulted frequently with Television’s Tom Verlaine, the Voidoids’ Richard Hell and Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz.
“It is a story of Hilly and how he basically was the catalyst for this gigantic, sea-changing music. And he didn’t set out to do that initially, but he became sort of the godfather of punk and underground rock,” said Miller, adding that the film also traces Punk magazine’s role in breaking news from the CBGB scene.
“Places that opened their arms to music, art, poetry – anything – were the places we went to. And Hilly definitely had that,” Savin said. “I believe it was a salon on the Bowery.”
Produced for less than $10 million, CBGB will feature more than 40 songs of the period, though Savin admits “the music decisions are not done yet,” because “some bands are more cooperative than others.”
Original article found here: rollingstone.com | September 18, 2012
Harry Potter star Rupert Grint talks to Metro about the Olympics, faking playing the guitar for CBGB and having his own ice-cream van.
How did you end up being an Olympic torch-bearer?
It was through Lloyds. They nominated me. I’ve always loved the Olympics and it’s exciting it’s in London. It was a complete surprise but a great honour. I’ve kept the torch. I might put it on display. I’ll find a use for it. I’m not the most athletic person so it’s probably the only time I’m going to run this year. I’ve got tickets for the swimming and some athletics – I can’t remember what the events are.
Some people say spending £15billion on it is a waste of money – have you got any thoughts?
It’s a lot of money, isn’t it? But I’m a big supporter. It’s worth it.
What do you get up to in your forthcoming film CBGB?
It’s about the New York club CBGB and the punk scene of the time. I play a guitarist called Cheetah Chrome who was in a band called The Dead Boys. I had to be a rock star. It was refreshing.
He’s a snotty-nosed punk rebelling against everything and quite morose – he’s the complete opposite of Ron. I’m still finding it strange breaking out of the whole Harry Potter thing because it was such a huge part of my life.
You’ve also recently worked with Shia LaBeouf – what was that like?
That was the film before CBGB – The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman. That’s quite a strange one. Shia LaBeouf plays a character who travels around the world. It’s quite a drug-fuelled journey and he meets various crazy characters along the way.
I play a character he meets in a youth hostel. I can’t give away what he does but it was quite a transition for me.
Have you been actively looking for stuff that’s dissimilar to Ron?
The roles have just come up but it’s always quite an attractive thing to move away from things connected to the wizard world.
They’re quite low-budget films, which I enjoy. It’s a very different process to the huge machines of the Potter films. They’re more rough and ready and I feel part of the team. They don’t have the same weird hierarchy, which I found uncomfortable.
What sort of hierarchy?
Just getting a chair with your name on and having a trailer. Stuff like that. On smaller films, you’re all in it together. It’s weird how actors are put on a pedestal – we’re part of the crew like anyone else and everyone has their job to do on a film set.
What was playing a real person like for CBGB?
Cheetah Chrome was actually on set. It’s the first time I’ve played a real person and there’s a pressure to get it right. I also have to play the guitar, which I can’t do – I was faking it. I learned the chords and rough shapes but you won’t see my hands too much in the film. It’s amazing he’s still alive, given the amount of drugs he did. He’s got a young son who was a big Harry Potter fan, so it was nice to meet him.
Cheetah had some advice about my performance and I had to get his voice right – he had quite a distinctive drug-affected mumbling voice and I had to do an American accent. We’re both ginger so look similar. Hopefully people will buy it.
Do you miss Harry Potter or is it a relief its over?
I go through different feelings. It was ten years of my life and it could get a bit suffocating – everything was Harry Potter. It’s nice to step away but part of me will always miss it because it was great fun and I miss working with the same crew.
Do you watch your own performances?
Yes but not out of choice. I’ll watch things once. I only ever watched the Potter films at the premieres. I’ll watch short bits if they’re on TV. When I see clips from the first one I think I look ridiculously small. It doesn’t feel that long ago in some ways. I’m proud to be part of it but watching it is a different story.
Who have you learnt the most from working with?
Harry Potter was like going to film school. We worked with a different director for each film so got to learn their different approaches. The cast was amazing, too – Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman, Julie Walters – they’re all great people. You learn just from watching them work.
Did they give you any specific advice?
I had a problem with laughing during serious scenes. For some reason, I found Dumbledore’s death absolutely hilarious. Alan taught me if you completely relax your face, it’s difficult to laugh so that was good tip.
You’ve got some unusual pets – which are your favourites?
The miniature donkeys are quite cool – Shakespeare and Pandora. You can’t ride them, they’re too small but they make a cool noise.
What’s been your most extravagant purchase?
An ice cream van. I’ve had it for a while now. It’s pretty special. It’s a 1970s one and I did it up – a new paint job and it’s got all the ice cream stuff in it.
I can’t park it anywhere because people start queuing up so I keep it at home in the garage.
Original article found here: metro.co.uk | July 29, 2012
When Savannah stands in for skid row New York later this month, it will get some help in terms of authenticity.
The actual bar — and toilets — of iconic club CBGB will be shipped here and installed on the set of the rock movie that’s borrowing its name, “CBGB” producers said Thursday. It’s part of a meticulous process that’s already transforming the interior of local Meddin Studios into an exact replica of the hallowed birthplace of punk rock.
“We’re bringing in the original bar and the toilets — those famous toilets,” producer and co-writer Jody Savin explained. “Graffiti and all.”
Click here to read about a “Twilight” star joining the cast of “CBGB.”
“The shell should be ready by Monday for us to start moving things in,” added Nick Gant, Meddin’s creative director, pointing out locations for the stage, mixing area and notorious bathroom on set.
There’s also a lowered area where producers will shoot false exteriors of the Bowery, with virtual New York looking north across Louisville Road, west of downtown Savannah.
“People keep asking, ‘Why Georgia instead of New York?’” Gant said. “New York is so expensive, so there’s a real incentive here.”
SLIDESHOW: Click here to view photos of movies filmed in Savannah
The film, which stars acclaimed English actor Alan Rickman as club owner Hilly Kristal, will begin shooting June 25, Savin said, and “last about five weeks — toward the end of July.”
That will be preceded by an open call for extras Tuesday, when producers harvest Savannah for its best of the 1970s. But the cast already includes plenty of local talent.
“We found amazing talent out of SCAD,” Savin said. “I’d say half the cast is going to be local.”
To double-check that claim, she counted a grid of 50 actors’ faces, led by Rickman, on a secluded studio wall. Joining him were Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins and John Galecki of CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” who both came aboard earlier this week; then a host of other notables including Malin Akerman, Stana Katic, Joel David Moore, Julian Acosta — and Rupert Grint, who Savin and director Randall Miller had in mind from the beginning.
“When we were writing the script, we wanted Rupert to play Cheetah Chrome of the Dead Boys,” Savin said. “He just looks so much like him. And we’re excited to see Rupert in a dog collar, with a scowl.”
The wall of faces still had some blanks — including one for the role of the Velvet Underground’s Lou Reed — but those would be filled in soon, Savin said.
“We’re going to have some more real life rock-and-rollers,” she promised.
CBGB opened in 1973 and hosted breakout shows by the Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, Patti Smith and virtually every major hard-edged rocker since, even serving as the setting for Joey Ramone’s wake. The club finally closed in 2006 after Kristal lost a battle to continue his lease. He died of lung cancer a year later.
“It was a [expletive] hole of a bar, attracting the flotsam of humanity,” Savin said. “But Hilly was a human being, he accepted all of them.
“It created a kind of energy and revolutionized music,” she added. “To us, that’s heroic. Hilly was a hero because it’s heroic to give young artists a voice.”
Original article found here: www.savannahnow.com | June 8, 2012