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Rock film ‘CBGB’ reunites Harry Potter stars in Savannah

Savannah muggles beware this summer — Ron Weasley is joining Professor Snape for a Hostess City Hogwarts reunion.

Actor Rupert Grint, who plays Harry Potter’s best friend in the blockbuster adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s wizardly novels, has signed on to the cast of rock flick-in-the-making “CBGB,” its producers confirmed Tuesday morning. Alan Rickman, who played the mysterious Snape in the Potter films, already was slated to star as CBGB founder Hilly Kristal.

“We love Rupert and, of course, we adore Alan,” said Nadine Jolson, director of publicity for Unclaimed Freight Productions, which was here last year for the movie “Savannah” starring Jim Caviezel.

Filming of “CBGB” will begin June 25 — “that’s official,” Jolson said. “We’re just in pre-production, so right now a lot of details are falling into place as we speak.”

All of the movie’s interior shots will be done at Meddin Studios, which will be transformed to look like the iconic New York club, said director Randall Miller.

“We’re going to build the interior of the club on the stages here,” Miller said. “Then the plan is we’ll do some shooting on the streets of downtown Savannah — and finally a few days in New York.

“We’re using both Georgia and New York for New York,” he joked.

Jolson said locations for the Savannah exteriors had been selected, but she
couldn’t reveal them — yet. The same goes for surprise cast members — “there will be a whole lot more, some fun ones” — and celebrity cameos with “famous musicians playing roles or (playing) other famous musicians,” she noted.

Jolson did confirm that Swedish-Canadian actress Malin Akerman, whose recent films include “Watchmen” and “Rock of Ages,” has signed on to play Debbie Harry of rock band Blondie. Stana Katic of ABC detective series “Castle” also has joined the “CBGB” cast.

“I think this has the potential to be a great project,” said Jay Self, the city’s director of Film Services. “It looks to have pretty broad appeal, and we’re very excited about it.”

Self is encouraged by the quick turnaround from Unclaimed Freight’s work last year to its plans for this summer.

“These guys did ‘Savannah’ here, and they obviously had a great experience,” he said. “That says something about our community, about how welcoming, open and cooperative we are.”

“Savannah has a kind of downtown area that could really work for so many cities,” Miller said. “That translates pretty well in what we’re doing.”

But it also was his personal experience with Meddin Studios that brought him back.

“I formed a great friendship with Nick Gant,” Meddin’s creative director, Miller said. “I really like these guys.”

For Gant, the feeling is mutual.

“It’s a project we’ve been working on for probably 10 months now,” he said. “We’ve been involved with this since before the script was ever written.

“They’re doing the entire production here,” Gant said. “This will basically be the headquarters for ‘CBGB.’”

And a lot of Harry Potter fans, too.


Original article found here: www.savannahnow.com | May 30, 2012

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CBGB: AN ORIGIN FILM FOR PUNK, WITH A TRAGIC TWIST

In 2012 the famous New York CBGB & OMFUG rock club will be reborn in two very different arenas, and will have its past honored and its future set into motion as the months unfold. In venues all across New York, the CBGB name will rise again as a SXSW-style music festival showcases nearly 300 rock bands, old and new, all across the city. The result of a licensing sale and the vision of the new owners of the CBGB estate, the festival will run in July… about the time the rock club will be resurrected far away from New York, in the quiet, historical city of Savannah, GA.

At first glance the riverside city of Savannah, with its plentiful monuments for the earliest of American wars both Civil and Revolutionary, would seem quite the polar opposite of the 70s-era, punk rock surroundings of CBGBs. To assume so would be to discount the subtle influence a flourishing music scene and the massive art school inhabiting Savannah have had, but more importantly we’re talking about a town increasingly home to the film industry, which means it’s a town that can be all things to all people willing to come, build them, and shoot on them. Meddin Studios, the facility that will house the majority of production on CBGB, has had a particularly strong affect on the town’s ability to handle Hollywood style filmmaking.

So it is in Savannah that CBGB will literally be rebuilt from the ground up- not to host the next cutting-edge rock band, but to catalogue the cutting-edge rock bands that lit up the stage decades ago… Blondie, Sonic Youth, Talking Heads, Patti Smith, The Shirts, The Dictators, Iggy Pop, The Cramps, The Police, The Dead Boys, and, most famously, The Ramones.

The recreation will be the set for director Randall Miller’s CBGB which, with a screenplay penned by Jody Savin and Miller himself, will attempt to capture the story of the famous club, the bands it harbored, and the genre of musc it launched. To do so, it will more specifically tell the story of one man… Hilly Kristal.

Set to be played by Alan Rickman, the man with most delightfully droning voice in the movies, Kristal’s story revolves around his efforts to build a club where musicians could flourish, Top 40 hits and cover songs would never be heard, and the sounds coming from the stage would be the freshest in the world (even if the air and the bathrooms weren’t).

While the man had a storied history that included a stint in the Marines and a musical education that began when he was a small child, the film will likely focus on the flash-in-the-pan few years in the early 70s when Kristal managed to curate the most dense collection of up-and-coming punk rockers that would ever play under one roof, and all before the term “punk rock” even meant anything.

Obviously some musicians with big personalities will figure into Kristal’s story, and it’s here that the film will be a playground of cameos. Word is that actors and rockstars alike are tripping over themselves to nab roles as famous rock pioneers, and I can say with certainty that some big names are right on the edge of being announced. Already we know Rupert Grint (another Harry Potter alumni, along with Rickman) will play Cheetah Chrome, who served as a guitarist for The Dead Boys at the beginning of his own long career in punk and rock music. Malin Ackerman (Watchmen) will play Deborah Harry, frontwoman of Blondie, while Julian Acosta takes his turn as Johnny Ramone. Even icons like Lou Reed will be buzzing around in a film about place that attracted musicians who wanted to watch as well as play. Many more names are surely on their way.

One hopes this won’t just be a parade of cameos or a Rock Of Ages-style celebration of a period aesthetic though, as there’s a genuine story to tell with more than enough drama and bad behavior to give it some teeth. In a way the film could be like a superhero origin story, if the club itself were the hero and its superpowers were that of cacophonic rock and “fuck you” stage performance. As musician and CBGB patron Richard Hell described in a NY Times obituary for the venue, CBGB was “like a big playhouse, site of conspiracies, orgies, delirium, refuge, boredom, meanness, jealousy, kindness, but most of all youth. Things felt and done the first time are more vivid. CBGB’s is where many things were felt with that vividness.”

Like the punk genre itself, there is tragedy written into the club that incubated it. After years of struggling with landlords over rent increases and code violations, the club closed its doors in 2006. A year later, Kristal died before he could follow through with his vision of re-opening the club as a museum and performance space in Las Vegas. It was with this in mind he had the club stripped down and each counter-top, chair, and urinal catalogued and put into storage. Perhaps those pieces will one day be reassembled and the club will live again, but until that day, it will be up to a group of filmmakers to capture the CBGB spirit, such as it was.

Director Randall Miller is best known for his film Bottle Shock, which starred Chris Pine and Alan Rickman in a 70s story about the entry of California into the worldwide wine palette. It’s a charming period film, but here Miller is tackling some serious shit. There’s no more famous rock club in all of the world than CBGB, and the grimy, nasty walls of that joint and the people who filled them mean something to the legacy of America’s musical landscape. I’m interested to see what’s done with the rich, grungy backdrop in which Hilly Kristal forged something simultaneously innocent and debauched- a kind of place that will likely never be recreated in a culture where people show up to concerts to point cellphone cameras at the stage, and who never let a unique moment pass without uploading it to Instagram.

We’ve lost something very fundamental to the careless and energetic attitude that drove CBGB, and I hope the film captures some small portion of that. CBGB continue to mean something more to people than just a B&W logo that means “rock.” My fingers are crossed that we get as disgustingly beautiful a film as any punk fan could ask for, that I’ll get just the tiniest idea of what is was like to be there at that most excellent time. As someone who has lived in an auto-tuned world since he was old enough to pay attention to music, that sounds very special.


Original article found here: www.chud.com | May 29, 2012

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‘Potter’ star Grint books 2 roles

Joins ‘CBGB’ and ‘The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman’

“Harry Potter” star Rupert Grint seems ready to transition into more adult roles, landing parts in “The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman” and “CBGB.”
“Countryman” stars Shia LaBeouf as a normal guy who falls for a woman who’s been claimed by a violent crime boss. Evan Rachel Wood co-stars, with Fredrik Bond helming from a script by Matt Drake.

“CBGB” stars Alan Rickman as CBGB owner Hilly Kristal and the New York City club’s impact on the underground music scene, highlighting artists like the Talking Heads, the Ramones and Blondie. Grint will play Cheetah Chrome of the Dead Boys, who played a prominent role during the club’s rise.

Randall Miller will direct from a script he co-wrote with Jody Savin.

This marks yet another actor from the “Potter” franchise who has chosen to take on smaller prestige films. Emma Watson is filming Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring” and Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy in the series (and was in “The Rise of the Planet of the Apes”) recently landed one of the lead roles in Liddell Entertainment’s “Therese Raquin.”


Original article found here: www.variety.com | May 23, 2012

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