How to Play a Rock Star in a Movie

The casting of the upcoming CBGB’a movie has been a drawn-out process scored by endless commentary from fans who think they know better than filmmakers. Even the classic bar’s regulars got in the game. Not too long ago, Cheetah Chrome of the Dead Boys told us, “Hell, get Johnny Depp to play me!” Now it’s been announced that there is a new round of cast members, including former Roseanne star (and current The Big Bang Theory player) Johnny Galecki as manager Terry Ork and actress Mickey Sumner as Patti Smith. Perhaps the most controversial casting, though, is Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, who, The Hollywood Reporter found out, will be playing Iggy Pop. 

The musician has plenty of experience behind the camera, having composed music for video games, TV, and movies, and he’s also appeared in plenty of rockumentaries in his capacity as a band member. But can he actually play the role of a musician?

He can start by checking out these clips below, showcasing what we consider fine examples of actors playing rockers.

The Velvet Goldmine 

With Jonathan Rys Meyers as Brian Slade and Ewan McGregor as Curt Wild—clearly Pop influenced—this should be Hawkins’ go-to movie for Iggy inspiration.


La Bamba

Lou Diamond Phillips played Ritchie Valens in this 1987 movie about the rocker who died at 18 in a plane crash that also killed Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper.


The Rose

Bette Midler made her screen debut in this movie, based loosely on the life of Janis Joplin. Pop never had Janice’s pipes, so singing like this won’t be a worry for Hawkins, but still a good role to study.


Sid and Nancy

For a taste of 1970s rock, what’s better than the Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb in this 1986 classic?


The Doors

To capture some of pop’s slithering sex appeal, checking out Val Kilmer’s performance in Oliver Stone’s The Doors would be a smart idea. Kilmer’s magnetic, insane, and overwhelmingly alluring Jim Morrison raised the bar for playing rockers.


Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains

The 1982 punk cult classic featuring a young Diane Lane and Laura Dern is required viewing for anyone who should be allowed to be punk, let alone play one on the screen. Absolutely essential viewing.

Katy Perry Gets A Hand From Alec Baldwin, Matt Damon & Val Kilmer on SNL

You sort of never know how SNL will go when a musician plays host.  Katy Perry seemed nervous at first, but managed to pull through and get some laughs.  She got help from Matt Damon and Val Kilmer in a hilarious Digital Short, but the best part of the night belonged to Alec Baldwin who turned up on Weekend Update as the American Airlines pilot  who had him removed from his flight earlier this week. 

Baldwin calls himself an American treasure and refers to the game he refused to put down and turn off as “a word game for smart people.” While funny in its own right,  Seth Myers ups the laugh factor by asking “Alec, are you sure this is the right way to handle this?"

Apocalypse from the makers of Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve gives the cast a chance to spoof Drew Barrymore, Penny Marshall, " and that kid from Modern Family.  Perry has a small bit as Christina Aguilera.

In the Digital Short, one of the best they’ve done in a while, Andy Samberg and Katy Perry are singing best friends who are joined by Matt Damon as Handsome Homeless Guy and Val Kilmer as Brilliant Lunatic for holiday fun like "paying for meth with sexual favors.” Abe Lincoln and more also pop up.

Katy Perry played herself for the Finnish talk show sketch in which Kristen Wiig’s character, who has a very good research team,  manages to get a clip of everything.

And while Perry did not appear in the Stefan sketch, it had everything else.  There were skeevies, tweakers, a bitch parade and a Russian running on a treadmill in a Cosby sweater all built from the bucket list of a dying pervert.

What Val Kilmer and Kid ‘n Play Have in Common

They’re raping my childhood again. Hollywood studios that is, who have reached a maximum aversion to anything other than pre-branded material. The 80’s are of late an especially ripe era for plundering it seems, with recent reboots, remakes, and re-jiggerings of such minor landmarks a Red Dawn, The Karate Kid, and Clash of the Titans all bound for the multiplex in short order. I have a feeling that this rapacity for old scripts isn’t ending here (you wish!), but rather beginning, and I’m steeling myself for lots more. A case in point is the news that two more sorta-beloved, second-tier 80’s favorites (though admittedly one is from 1990) are now slated to get the new millenial varnish job.

Pajiba reports that both science comedy Real Genius and musical (what?) House Party are serious contenders for remakes right now. The former is already going through re-writes at Columbia under the stewardship of Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment, and the latter is apparently in line to be a Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) project. These will be crap movies, rest assured, though neither of them inspires an “Oh God, why?” so much as a plain old “why?” These were never very interesting (or in the case of Real Genius, profitable) pictures to begin with, especially House Party, which was basically just an ad hoc vehicle for a rap duo Kid ‘n Play. Hitchcock may have famously averred that the best movies come from second-rate movies, but no one ever said good films come from crap movies.

Things will only go downhill from here.