I already have an unsolicited tip for Art Linson re: Neon Angels, his just announced Runaways biopic: cast unknowns.
Though there will be no shortage of up-and-coming teenage and, of course, twentysomething actresses circling this project as a potential springboard to stardom, I think the old "nationwide search" will be the only way to go. Though Cherie Currie, whose memoirs form the basis for this project, possessed movie star good looks (and she did go on to have a shortlived acting career, her most notable appearance coming in Adrian Lyne’s Foxes), the rest of the girls were far from glamorous. Brought together by producer Kim Fowley, who exploited their age both shrewdly and lewdly, they were just young, ambitious musicians who briefly captured the zeitgeist, paving the way for subsequent girl bands like The Go-Gos, The Bangles and Europe. The band was also the launching pad for proto-riot grrrl Joan Jett and metal guitar goddess Lita Ford. If you think Hilary Duff can play any of these chicks, then give her a carton of Marlboro Reds and a Wild Turkey drip stat, and we’ll talk in a year if she survives her crucible.
I am glad Linson’s shepherding this project because he’s one of the few producers left who cares about doing the material justice as much as he does turning a profit. This uncommon doctrine has spawned some great films over the years (e.g. Fight Club, Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Casualties of War); it’s also gotten him into plenty of trouble (e.g. Fight Club, Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Casualties of War). Though Linson’s made a stinker here or there, his failures are always mistakes of creative ambition.
But I wonder if there’s an audience for Neon Angels. It seems that today’s paragon of success for young women is Paris Hilton, which, while sad, must be fucking great for young men. It’d be nice if Linson and tyro writer-director Floria Sigismondi – about whom I know little outside of her David Bowie videos – could swing the pop cultural pendulum back the other way. I just hope Linson saves the sure-to-be-infuriating studio notes they receive on this project for his follow-up to What Just Happened? Hell, that could be a book in itself.