It was revealed earlier this week that a feature film about iconic Manhattan rock club CBGB's is in the works, but more surprising than the fact that a movie about the legendary venue was in the works was the news that Alan Rickman—the actor a whole generation of filmgoers knows only as Professor Snape—would be playing CBGB's owner Hilly Kristal.
Whenever an actor is cast to play the role of a real person, it can cause some controversy. And when that real person is as beloved and revered as Kristal, things can get messy. So we decided to check in with some old-time CBGB's regulars to see what they think of the casting – and how they might do things differently.
James Sliman (former Kristal employee and tour manager for The Dead Boys): “I’m not really that familiar with Alan Rickman’s work, but I’m sure he’ll do a fine job with a good script and the right director... Alan Rickman certainly has the right look for Hilly, but I have to say, I would probably have chosen Philip Seymour Hoffman for the role. I just saw him in Death of a Salesman on Broadway and I know he could actually become Hilly, in all aspects of Hilly’s personality. He also has that downtown New York thing about him. No matter who plays Hilly, I can’t wait to see the film.”
Bebe Buell (model, musician, former Playboy Playmate): "I think I would prefer to see John Mayer in the role, because he’s got Hilly’s height and majestic quality and I’m sure he could pull off Hilly’s baritone voice. He would be my first choice. What many people don’t know about Hilly is he was a great singer & guitar player, so there you go!”
Cheetah Chrome (The Dead Boys): "Wait a minute - the guy who played Snape, is going to be Hilly? The guy is older than [Stiv] Bators would be, is Hilly gonna be 70 through the whole movie? So is Daniel Radcliffe playing Stiv? Hell, get Johnny Depp to play me!”