Ramones biopic is on the way

Hey! Ho! Let's Go! Johnny and Joey play Don Kirshner's Rock Concert in '77
Hey! Ho! Let's Go! Johnny and Joey play Don Kirshner's Rock Concert in '77 (Image credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Corbis)

The story of The Ramones could be giving lobotomies to moviegoers before long, as Fox Searchlight is said to be in negotiagtions to mount a biopic about the New York City punk pioneers.

If greenlighted, the film will be based on the forthcoming book I Slept With Joey Ramone, a biography of the reed-thin frontman written by the singer's brother Mickey Leigh and music journalist Legs McNeil.

The original Ramones, who formed in Forest Hills, New York in 1974, are generally credited with putting punk on the map. Although they adopted common surnames, the four musicians - John Cummins (Johnny), Jeffrey Hyman (Joey), Thomas Erdelyi (Tommy) and Douglas Colvin (Dee Dee) - were unrelated.

Influenced big-time acts

Their musical impact has been widespread: major acts like Pearl Jam and U2 cite them as early influences. Significantly, Johnny's guitar style - hard and fast - featured one constant: all downstrokes.

The idea of making a Ramones biopic has been kicking around Hollywood for some time. Ironically, it even feaured in an episode of HBO's Entourage in which the show's fictional movie star Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) is hot to play Joey Ramone when he gets his hands on a script. (He doesn't get the role.)

A Ramones documentary, End Of The Century, was released in 2003. Here's a clip of the beginning.

And who can forget The Ramones starring in their very own movie, 1979's feel-good romp Rock 'N' Roll High School? Here's a clip which shows the band dishing out five songs in record time. Be on the lookout for PJ Soles!

But the big question is this: Who should play Joey Ramone? Ideas?

Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.