If you have an affinity for punk rock and the momentous changes for the good it wrought on a stagnant popular music scene in the mid 1970s, then you've learnt to be wary at the movies. The Los Angeles scene got the dismal Darby Crash biopic What We Do is Secret in 2007, while more recently The Runaways couldn't achieve a great deal despite the presence of Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning and Michael Shannon. Now casting and pre-production is underway for the biopic of the venue that was ground zero for punk in New York City, the ramshackle CBGBs in the Bowery.
Randall Miller's CBGB will begin with the owner of the venue, Hilly Kristal, who decided to take a chance on new bands, and unleashed The Ramones, Patti Smith and Talking Heads. Kristal will be played Alan Rickman (Harry Potter's Severus Snape), and there's an eclectic roll call of actors to appear alongside him, including Malin Akerman (Watchmen) as Blondie's Debbie Harry, Johnny Galecki (television's Big Bang Theory) as Television manager Terry Ork, and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins as Iggy Pop. Strangest choice? Harry Potter's Ron Weasley, Rupert Grint, will portray Cheetah Chrome, guitarist with the suitably named The Dead Boys. Hopefully Grint can master the 'Sonic Reducer' riff.
Jose Padilha, the Brazilian filmmaker behind Bus 174 and the two Elite Squad police dramas, continues to add actors to his remake of Paul Verhoeven's sardonic 1987 tribute to zero tolerance law enforcement, RoboCop (pictured). The police officer who is gunned down by criminals and then turned into a cyborg will be played Joel Kinnaman (Safe House), and the promising young actor will be joined by Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), as the scientist overseeing the conversion, and Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers), as an entertainment mogul. One problem, however: the original setting of a crime-ridden Detroit might not fit the bill anymore. The city has been shrinking since the original RoboCop came out.
Obscure remake alert courtesy of director David Gordon Green, who seriously has to make amends for the dire Your Highness. The creator of George Washington and All the Real Girls has returned to his independent roots, secretly shooting a low-budget remake of Hafsteinn Gummar Sigurdsson's 2011 Icelandic release Either Way. The original is the story of two road crew workers who bond over years spent painting road markings on isolated stretches of highway. Gordon Green's version, titled Prince Avalanche, shot outside Austin, Texas with Paul Rudd (Knocked Up, Anchorman) and Emile Hirsch (Milk). Be careful if you put Prince Avalanche into a search engine, as a member of the Dutch royal family recently had a serious mishap while skiing.
This one is for Lost nerds: Woody Allen appears to have returned to the continental United States, with plans to shoot his next, currently untitled, film in San Francisco. The cast already includes Alec Baldwin, Cate Blanchett and Peter Sarsgaard, and it has now added Michael Emerson to the cast. Emerson, as the nefarious, yet somehow righteous, Benjamin Linus, was the unexpected star of the mystical conspiracy series, and more recently has been starring in the somewhat paranoid television procedural Person of Interest. His best work, which probably sealed the deal with Allen, remains this 1992 training video made for American correctional facility staff.