NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — They played songs that set a new land speed record and remained together through 18 years of drugs, dysfunction and fitful record sales. Now the Ramones, traditionally dubbed "the godfathers of punk", are to receive the big-screen Hollywood treatment in a biopic entitled I Slept With Joey Ramone.
Rory Rosegarten, the former executive producer of the TV sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, has obtained the rights to the biography of the band's lead singer, written by Legs McNeil and Joey Ramone's brother, Mickey Leigh. Rosegarten is also reported to have inked a deal with the Ramones estate that will allow the film access to the group's music.
The book, written by Joey's brother Mickey Leigh along with Legs McNeil, longtime music writer and co-author of Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History Of Punk, will be published by Touchstone Books (a division of Simon and Schuster) in the fall of 2007.
In addition to securing the motion picture rights to the book, Rosegarten also negotiated the rights to Joey's life story from his mother and the executrix of Ramone's estate, Charlotte Lesher. Rosegarten will also be working closely with Ramones Productions for the use of the Ramones recordings in the film. Rosegarten will serve as a producer. Leigh will serve as an executive producer.
According to Rosegarten, "I grew up listening to the Ramones and seeing them in concert. Joey's story is fascinating and very touching. He overcame incredible physical and mental hardship to front one of the most influential bands in the history of rock and roll. He helped cement the Ramones at the forefront of the punk movement in the late seventies and eighties, only to die a tragic death at 49. I am both excited and honored that Mickey and Charlotte have trusted me to help tell Joey's story."
Leigh said, "I've been friends with Rory since 1979, when he unofficially managed my band, The Rattlers, until he went to college. I trusted him with my career and life back then, and now I trust him with my brother's life story. I am thrilled to have him by my side for this project. Rory and I finally get to work together on a story close to both of our hearts."
"Rory has been a friend of Mickey's for a long time. He is a caring and thoughtful guy and I'm confident he'll handle this story with all the sensitivity it warrants," said Lesher.
Said Rosegarten, "I'm really amazed how many studios contacted me when the word leaked that I was going to do this project. Everyone has been very enthusiastic about making a "Joey" film. The band has had a tremendous impact on popular music in the United States, but the most exciting thing is how huge they are worldwide. The movie will have an astounding foreign appeal."
Instrumental in helping Rory put the deal together was entertainment attorney Jon Moonves. Not an easy project to take on, it took nearly a year to finalize. Rosegarten observed, "Between the estate, Mickey and Ramones Productions, it was a giant jigsaw puzzle. This was a tricky deal, but everyone pulled together to make it work."
Rosegarten is represented by Jim Wiatt at the William Morris Agency, and Jon Moonves and Loan Dang of Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka,, Finkelstein and Lezcano. Michael Friedman of Troutman Sanders represented Leigh. Dave Frey of Silent Partner Management and Janine Small of Carroll, Guido & Groffman represented Ramones Productions and Charlotte Lesher on behalf of The Joey Ramone Estate.