“Harry Potter” alum Alan Rickman will play the owner of legendary New York City rock club CBGB in an upcoming film that chronicles the famous venue’s role in the rise of the punk and new-wave music scene in America.
Cameras are expected to begin rolling June 25 for “CBGB,” in which Rickman will take on the role of Hilly Kristal, who opened the club in 1973. Originally intended as a venue for country, blue grass, and blue music (hence the name), CBGB went on to become the mecca for up-and-coming bands in the punk scene and other fringe genres of the time. Over the years, the club hosted countless bands that went on to become some of the most popular acts of their generation (and beyond, in many cases), including Talking Heads, The Ramones, Blondie, Patti Smith, Green Day, The Police, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
“We wrote this role for Alan Rickman who, like Hilly Kristal, is a true champion of the arts. Neither Hilly nor Alan approach art from a point of view of elitism. To me that is heroic,” said co-writer and producer Jody Savin.
Randall Miller, who co-wrote the film and is producing it under the Unclaimed Freight Productions banner he shares with Savin, will also direct the film. Lisa Kristal Burgman, Kristal’s daughter, is also a co-producer on the film.
The synopsis of the film indicates that it will follow Kristal from the founding of the club through its final show in 2006, and explore how his insistence that every act play their own, original music (no cover songs) helped shape the venue into the epicenter of the underground music scene.