Michael Shannon is negotiating a role in The Runaways, the bio-pic about the all-girl band of the same name that introduced Joan Jett and Lita Ford to the world. He joins Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning in the film by award-winning music video director Floria Sigismondi. The question is, who will Shannon play?
THR only notes that the script contains a number of prominent male roles, all of which (because he’s biologically equipped) Shannon is potentially vying for. The most obvious possible role is Kim Fowley, the musician and producer who helped put The Runaways together. (He also worked with Frank Zappa, Warren Zevon and Jonathan Richman and helped record and later covered the enduringly irritating song ‘They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!’) Shannon looks enough like Fowley that I’d guess this is what the producers want him for.
In fact, and not to disparage the stars of the show here, Fowley could end up stealing the movie, especially if Shannon takes the role. He’s a wild figure who had his hands in a wide range of music, often producing and promoting stuff that was written off as being a novelty or gimmick. But once in a while he’d hit on something like The Runaways, where the band could actually play, and the act would take off. (More thanks to their own efforts than his.) There have been allegations that he required sexual favors from members of Jett’s band, and tension between Fowley and the girls will have to be some part of this story.
But Shannon isn’t actually signed to anything, and this project could change a lot or go away altogether. Lita Ford and the late Sandy West, the band’s drummer and secret weapon, have yet to be cast. The actress who plays Ford could be important, since she could theoretically go on to appear in a film about writing and recording the songs ‘Kiss Me Deadly’ and ‘Close My Eyes Forever’. That would be important cinema!
Until the film moves forward you can revisit the band through the song ‘Cherry Bomb’, which appears in Dazed and Confused, in Rock Band and in the YouTube embed below. I don’t really want to hear what you’re all thinking while imagining Dakota Fanning performing as singer Cherie Curie in a clip like this, but I’m sure I will regardless.