There’s no doubt that Martin Scorsese knows exactly what he’s doing when it comes to crafting thorough, smart and loving projects centering on the careers of beloved musical acts. He’s basically the unofficial godfather to the Rolling Stones, using their music in a number of his films and directing their fantastic concert doc Shine a Light. He has The Last Waltz, a doc chronicling The Band’s legendary 1976 farewell concert under his belt, as well as the Bob Dylan film No Direction Home, and a long-gestating project called Sinatra still in the works.
What he hasn’t touched yet is punk, but he’s going back to the source by reportedly making a biopic about the Ramones, the seminal New York act that inspired a generation of leather jackets in 80-degree weather, ripped jeans, scowling faces and songs around two minutes in length (if we’re being very generous). Buried in a Billboard article detailing the ways that the Ramones will resurge in the next few years, at least in terms of branding, is this news that Scorsese “is attached” to a film about the punk rockers. The Wrap adds that a source close to the project says he’ll be directing. Either way, the project seems to be in the very early stages, as there are no details besides the mention of his involvement. However, it’s the right time to strike — 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the band’s debut, and in July the last living member of the band’s original lineup, Tommy Ramone (real name: Erdelyi Tamas) passed away after a struggle with bile duct cancer. Tommy, Johnny, Joey and Dee Dee Ramone changed the face of music, and now they’re getting a worthwhile film that tells their story.
There have been several documentaries focused on the band, including the fantastic 2004 film Ramones Raw, which employed later band member Marky’s personal footage to get an intimate glimpse at the band. Though this biopic will be the first feature about the Ramones, they have dabbled in acting in the past. Scorsese and whoever is brought on board to pen the script would be remiss not to mention at least a little about when the band played themselves in the the 1979 cult classic Rock ‘n’ Roll High School.
You know, the one where a rebellious teenage girl (PJ Soles) is sick of her strict high school’s negative stance on rock music and her obsession with meeting the Ramones and giving them a song she wrote leading to the band performing in a few dream sequences or two and maybe destroying a public school in the name of punk? That one?
We’ll likely have to wait to hear more about the Ramones film for some time, as Scorsese is fairly busy at the moment. He’s currently working on his Shutter Island series for HBO, as well as an “untitled Rock ‘n’ Roll project” for the same network (add that to the pile), the film Silence and the aforementioned Sinatra project. It’s all pretty punk.