Martin Scorsese Directing a Documentary About New York Dolls Frontman David Johansen for Showtime
While we’ll have to wait a while before we see Martin Scorsese‘s Killers of the Flower Moon, a different new Scorsese movie is headed our way much sooner. Scorsese will direct a documentary for Showtime about David Johansen, lead singer of the New York Dolls. The doc will chronicle Johansen’s shifting career, from his childhood and beyond.
David Johansen has had a big career, both as a singer and a sometimes actor (he’s the Ghost of Christmas Past in Scrooged). And now he’s the subject of a new documentary from none other than Martin Scorsese. “I’ve known David Johansen for decades, and his music has been a touchstone ever since I listened to the Dolls when I was making Mean Streets,” Scorsese said in a statement. “Then and now, David’s music captures the energy and excitement of New York City. I often see him perform, and over the years I’ve gotten to know the depth of his musical inspirations. After seeing his show last year at the Café Carlyle, I knew I had to film it because it was so extraordinary to see the evolution of his life and his musical talent in such an intimate setting. For me, the show captured the true emotional potential of a live musical experience.”
Here’s a synopsis:
The film will reveal the many faces of Johansen in an extraordinarily intimate feature documentary. Growing up on Staten Island, Johansen landed in New York’s East Village in the late 1960s; a 16-year-old dropped into the epicenter of the counter-cultural revolution in music, theatre, fashion, art, writing, and social change – a seismic moment that still reverberates today. Johansen’s musical career started in the 1970s as lead singer for the punk/glam pioneers the New York Dolls, continued as he helped to usher in the swing revival as Buster Poindexter in the 1980s and dug deep into the blues with the Harry Smiths in the 1990s.
Scorsese and his team filmed Johansen earlier this year at New York’s legendary Café Carlyle. Johansen performed songs he had written over the years and told vivid stories from his astonishing life. As he has done with all of his acclaimed documentaries, Scorsese will take the audience on an unforgettable New York journey from the 1970s through today, revealing Johansen through exclusive performances, archival footage and present-day verité of the artist and raconteur.
As Scorsese says above, he has a connection with Johansen. He even recreated a New York Dolls performance in his canceled HBO series Vinyl. Here’s the scene in case it slipped your mind (which you probably did, since everyone seems to have forgotten Vinyl at this point).
Scorsese has several music-themed documentaries to his name, including The Last Waltz, No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones doc Shine a Light, and the semi-fictional Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese.
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