In 2021, Netflix announced that it was working on a biopic of Joey Ramone, the iconic vocalist and founder of the Ramones. Pete Davidson was confirmed to play him, with the endorsement of his family. However, this week it emerged that the heirs of guitarist Johnny Ramone initiated legal action against the production to prevent the film from being released.
This was confirmed by Billboard, explaining that Johnny’s widow, Linda Ramone, decided to file a lawsuit against Joey’s brother, Mickey Leigh, for working “undercover on an unapproved and unauthorized biopic based on the Ramones,” the which would be based on his own “partial telling of the Ramones story.”
While the lawsuit does not mention Netflix, it does clarify that the film is I Slept with Joey Ramone and which is based on Leigh’s memoirs. Since both Leigh and Linda are the intellectual owners of the band, she argues that a film based on the Ramones cannot move forward without their approval.
“Ms. Ramone opposes the defendants’ attempt to create a Ramones film without participation, not out of obstinacy, but rather due to the defendants’ disregard for the Ramones’ assets and their behavior and treatment toward Ms. Ramone and her late husband,” Linda’s attorneys released in a statement.
What is known about the biopic? Although the film was announced in 2021, not much is known as of yet. In July of the same year, Davidson was interviewed by Billboard and spoke about how he was preparing to play the lead singer of the Ramones. “I’m about to start music and singing classes and all that stuff and it’s honestly a dream come true that they’re giving me this opportunity,” he said. In addition, he expressed that he felt “very nervous” about the role, although he was “taking it very seriously.”
On the other hand, Davidson announced that he wanted to show Joey’s multifaceted spirit and not only what referred to the band that led him to fame: “Because Joey did a little bit of everything and we’re following his life, so you’re going to see a little bit of that. It’s a lot. It’s going to be very interesting and I’m excited.”
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