The ’70s teenage band the Runaways has a new gig. Producers Art and John Linson will be bringing their rough and tumble coming-of-age story to the bigscreen in “Neon Angels.”
Floria Sigismondi, who directed videos for David Bowie, the White Stripes and Marilyn Manson, will write and direct the drama about girls brought together by Kim Fowley, creating a band that would set the stage for girl groups like the Go-Go’s and the Bangles.
The Linsons secured music rights and deals that allow them to tell the stories of members Joan Jett, Cherie Currie and the late Sandy West. An unpublished memoir written by lead singer Curie will be used as a resource for a drama that intends to bare all the drugs, sex and heartache experienced by girls who struggled to be viewed as musicians, not sex kittens with guitars.
“We certainly utilized to our advantage our image as teenage girls who wore titillating clothes,” Jett told Daily Variety. “But we also became an excellent band and made it OK for girls to play rock ‘n’ roll. It got hard once people focused more on what we were wearing than what we were playing.”
The group fared better in countries like England, Japan and Scandinavia, and broke up in 1979. Jett went on to solo success.
“Looking back, I loved that period of my life,” she said. “Growing up, my fantasy was to play in a rock band, become famous and make a hit record.”
Art Linson said the film will be financed independently, which he did recently on the Sean Penn-directed “Into the Wild” and the Robert De Niro starrer “What Just Happened?” That will allow “Neon Angel” to be R-rated and edgy, factors that were important to Jett and Curie.
Jett will be exec producer, along with her longtime manager-producer Kenny Laguna and Brian Young.