represents multi-media artist Floria Sigismondi’s first feature-length
film. As its writer and director, Sigismondi was responsible for taking
Currie’s autobiography and the band’s story, and doing them justice.
She shared some of her vision of the film with us.
Question: How did your
of the story evolve as you got to know the real people?
Floria Sigismondi: Meeting [Joan and Cherie] and seeing what
was important to both of them and how they looked back at that time,
you know, they look back on it both with fondness. But different kinds
of feelings. The thing that I tried to capture was how different they
were, even though they came together and they bonded.
Joan is very focused and music
is very important to her. And the idea of this band is really important
to her. And Cherie, her arc is very different. Her arc is trying to
find things that feel good, [like] second-hand love in audiences that
are not filling what her family is supposed to fill in her.
Q: Is there added pressure
when the subjects of the film are contributing to it?
FS: Sure, there is… It’s about finding out what’s important but
staying focused on the story… It’s about finding the focal point,
and sticking with it. For me, it was about character. If a character
trait was interesting, how do I get it into what I’m trying to tell?
And try to have the true essences.
Dakota said she was looking forward to the scene when she sings "Cherry
FS: She was really excited about it. It was so great to see, because
I actually held her back in previous performance scenes. I didn’t want
her to come across as too confident [yet] and she was probably waiting
and waiting for that scene.
Were there any conflicts about what you wanted to do artistically,
what Joan or Cherie wanted to see, factually?
FS: No, I mean, they both read the script, and maybe had some
to talk about. It’s a film, it’s not a documentary. For me, it was
a story about the two of them, and not focusing on too much of what
happened on the outside. You can get distracted.
What are the things that are timeless in this story? This movie speaks
to a lot of people, whether they ever heard of Joan
Jett and The Runaways or not.
FS: For me, it was important to do a coming-of-age story. That time
when you’re 15 and finding your identity. You’re in your body, feeling,
and other people are reacting to you. You’re changing, confused, your
hormones are going crazy. That’s what I loved about the music, too.
That era was very apropos to the story because it was very physical
Joan Jett or Kristen Stewart? It’s Stewart getting primal.
After The Runaways kicked down the door for all-girl bands in hard rock,
no one really followed with the same level of success. People cite the
Bangles and the Go-Go’s, but they were not rock bands. What happened
to the revolution?
FS: No, it’s not really the same. The Runaways owned it. They owned
their sexuality – it was a very hard, aggressive rock. I don’t think
it’s happened [since]. It’s never blown up. Hopefully this will help
a little bit. It feels a little like 2001.
AE: Joan Jett is still out
there, doing what she loves. But she doesn’t have a lot of company.
FS: I know. I know Joan feels that way, too. She’s still committed,
and that’s why we look up to her.