Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Runaways (Rhoades)

Joan Jett’s Early Days With “The Runaways”
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Yeah, I love “Cherry Bomb” and “Born to Be Bad,” songs by the Runaways, that early-on band of rockers Joan Jett and Cherie Currie.

“The Runaways” – a biopic about the first all-girl band – is playing at the Tropic Cinema.
Twilight’s vampire lover Kristen Stewart takes on the role of Jett, while now-grown-up Dakota Fanning is her band mate Currie.

A fan who caught the screening at a Sundance Film Festival event reports: “There’s a lot of two things in ‘The Runaways,’ drugs and sexual references, but really what can you expect from a movie about a ’70s rock band?”

As for the performances: “You don’t see even a glimpse of Bella in Kristen’s portrayal of Joan Jett. Having seen Joan Jett live, Kristen really captured her essence. Dakota Fanning was noticeably a better actress then Kristen Stewart, Dakota was Cherie and stole the show hands down.”

The real-life Cherie Currie was present in that screening audience. Our report continues: “When the real Cherie Currie did a Q and A after the movie was over I got to see just how perfectly Dakota mastered even her personality.”

Even Curry agrees. “All I can say is that the actresses did an incredible job. I couldn’t be happier with the performances, and I love the soundtrack.”

The movie is based on Cherie Currie’s 1989 memoir “Neon Angel.” While the script doesn’t stick strictly to the true story, Currie’s happy with the final results. “Every time I see the movie it’s just another major feeling of just being in awe. It’s really the greatest honor to have a movie about your life and things that you had done.”

When barely 15, Currie rocketed to stardom as lead vocalist of the Runaways, singing about being a “blond bombshell ready to explode.” With her red jumpsuit, cherry tattoo, and glitter-painted face, she toured with the band for nearly two years. “I lived in that red jumpsuit,” she says. “I loved it.”

Finally, in 1978, Cherie Currie quit, burnt out, realizing she had to change her life to survive. Joan Jett pursued a solo career, going on to sell over 6-million albums. Currie tried her hand at acting, married and divorced Robert Hays (star of the “Airplane!” movies), and is today a sculptress.

How did Dakota Fanning like playing Currie? “I think everybody has that inner part of themselves that wishes they could perform and be on stage. I’ve definitely had that. I think doing this movie and performing ‘Cherry Bomb’ and doing the performance scenes is the closest I’ll ever get to those dreams.”

Currie was thrilled to be portrayed by the young star. “Literally, I almost passed out, because she is my favorite actress out there.”

Dakota Fanning notes, “Playing a real person – I’ve never done that before. But the biggest difference was realizing that it’s someone's life that you have now, and it’s your job to relive it again. And of course, the subject matter was something different than what I’ve done. I was drawn to it for those reasons.”

In the film, Riley Keough (Elvis Presley’s granddaughter) plays Currie’s twin sister Marie. Tatum O’Neal (“Paper Moon”) steps in as her self-consumed mother. Scout Taylor-Compton (“Halloween”) is the band’s lead guitarist, Lita Ford. And Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road,”) portrays abusive manager Kim Fowley.

“The Runaways” is not so much about the loss of innocence as it is about preserving yourself. “I don’t regret any of it,” Currie says.
[from Solares Hill]

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