The Runaways Movie Found in Madison


Cherie Currie Attends Show

Madison made history Thursday night as the Sundance Film Festival expanded its reach to eight satellite theaters across the country for the first time. One of the most-talked-about movies of the festival, “The Runaways” starring Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett and Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie, played to a sold-out crowd at Madison’s Sundance Cinema with an added bonus. The Runaways' lead singer, Cherie Currie, was in attendance as a special dispatch from the festival and took questions from the audience after the show.

The Runaways chronicles the rise and fall of the legendary 70’s all-girl rock band that paved the way for future female rockers. Lead singer, Currie along with guitarists Joan Jett and Lita Ford were all teenagers when the band’s first album came out in 1976. The movie is rather uneven and tends to drag in spots coming off like a documentary. But, it does show the seedy side of rock n roll life well, with the manipulating freak of a manager Kim Fowley plotting world domination for the band, while ripping them off at the same time. Fowley basically marketed the band as rock n roll jail-bait. Currie’s substance abuse problems are highlighted, including scenes of snorting cocaine in a plane bathroom with Joan Jett and excessive drinking binges. 

Of course, the big scene is a passionate kiss between Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, silhouetted in a red back-light.  I’m sure that will fuel the publicity surrounding the movie which has created quite a buzz for only being shown twice publicly; Once in Utah at the Sundance Film Festival’s home base and tonight in Madison. Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning along with Michael Shannon turn in strong performances that save a rather weak script. Stewart has Joan Jett’s mannerisms and rebellious attitude down pat, while Dakota Fanning portrays the shy blonde sexual siren, Cherie Currie with abandon. Michael Shannon’s take on the eccentric oddball manager Kim Fowley adds dimension to a thin story line. 

Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning sang all the music vocals for the live band scenes, doing a respectable job on classics like “Cherry Bomb” and “Queens of Noise”.  The vintage mid 70’s clothing is hilarious with Currie’s platform shoes and short skirts contrasted by Joan Jett’s punkish Ramones-like attire. The soundtrack includes not only Runaways songs, but classics from David Bowie along with Iggy and the Stooges.

After the movie, the lights came up and the question and answer session began. Cherie Currie, who just turned 50, looked stunning with long blonde hair and sporting a black leather jacket. She spoke of the difficulty in making script changes to the movie which was loosely based on her book “Neon Angel” and how painful it was to watch her life on the big screen.

“I’m growing more comfortable with the movie every time I see it,” said Currie. “People seem to like it.”  The crowd burst into applause in acknowledgment. “I thought the actors did a phenomenal job,” she said. “Dakota Fanning is one of my favorite actresses.”

Both Joan Jett and Cherie Currie we’re on the set for film production coaching Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning on the nuances of being an all-girl-band during the macho mid 70’s. Joan Jett acted as executive producer. Lita Ford declined participation in the movie and you could tell that it bothered Currie. “Joan Jett and I didn’t want to be a Lita Ford,” said Currie. 

According to an Interview in Rolling Stone Magazine, Lita Ford was insulted by an attempt to buy her life story rights to the movie for $1,000 last summer by Joan Jett’s Manager Kenny Laguna. Lita Ford was rather blunt when we contacted her via twitter:

“Hey @litaford What's your take on The Runaways movie? We just saw it last night. Cherie Currie was there and spoke to the crowd.”

"@RockOfTheArts  I just threw up.....”
about 13 hours ago from web in reply to RockOfTheArts  

Although, the band became extremely popular in Japan, the Runaways never really caught on in the United States. They did, however, receive immense press coverage in the American music magazines of the era like Circus, Creem and Rolling Stone. 

“We never made a dime in the Runaways the entire time I was in the band,” said Currie. Joan Jett and her manager Kenny Laguna started the legal process to recover the Runaways’ royalties that disappeared during the bands peak earning years in the 70’s. 

We’re Joan Jett and Cherie Currie in a sexual relationship when the band was together?

“We were kids and experimenting like everyone else,” said Currie. “This was the 70's when David Bowie and Elton John made bisexuality daring. But, no we're just good friends and still are today.” 

Currie has a book coming out a week before the national release of the movie on March 19th. “The book will have everything that’s not in the movie,” she said. Currie currently lives in southern California, working as a professional chainsaw artist. She also has 19- year-old son who is a budding musician.

Someone from the theater crowd wanted to know if it was possible the remaining Runaways may get back together with all the publicity surrounding the movie? “Anything’s possible,” said Currie. “Why not?”  

I don’t think Lita Ford will be part of any reunion.

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