Everyone, and definitely every gay gal, knows about Joan Jett and her history with The Runaways. But the new The Runaways film is as much bandmate Cherie Currie’s story as Jett’s. In a new interview with Spin, Currie talked about the movie and the myth of the world’s first all-girl rock band.
The movie with Kristen Stewart as Joan and Dakota Fanning as Cherie is based on the memoir Neon Angel: The Cherie Currie Story, which was recently revised and rereleased. The book recounts Currie’s joining the group at age 15 only to quit two years later after what seemed like a lifetime of sex, drugs and rock and roll.
So what did Currie think of the movie?
I was stunned. When you live something, your first reaction is to say, “Well, that’s not right” or “Wait a minute, it didn’t happen that way.” Then Joan and I saw it again and thought, “Wow, this is really good.” It takes time for it to sink in. I thought the performances were just incredible. I’m so glad Kristen and Dakota became good friends because the friendship between Joan and I was so important.
What creative licenses were taken with the film?
I had no problem singing [“Have ya, grab ya, till you’re sore” in “Cherry Bomb”]. The filmmakers took a lot of liberties. If you read the book, then you’ll know that my twin sister’s boyfriend had raped me and took my virginity. That’s why I was angry, that’s why I cut my hair to look like David Bowie’s. I really felt that detail was important. The filmmakers didn’t. They did not want the Cherie character to lose her innocence so early in the film.
Did she think the sexual relationship portrayed between Kristen and Dakota (which wasn’t detailed in the book) was exploitative?
At first, I would have agreed with that. But no, it tells the truth. First of all, back in the mid-’70s, Bowie had just come out as bisexual and so had Elton John and that was really intriguing. We experimented. We weren’t in love with each other. We just had fun. I like that it’s in the film. So many kids go through these serious guilt trips. I want them to know it’s okay.
And what’s the deal with Lita Ford not being involved in the film?
Lita has no one to blame but herself. Joan asked her to be involved and had she done so it would have been a different film. But you can’t get blood from a stone and that’s what Lita is.
Also, did you know Cherie does chainsaw art now? Yeah, no kidding. Interesting stuff from Currie, both refreshingly direct and unapologetically honest. Guess rock ‘n roll, or at least the attitude, never dies.
The full trailer for The Runaways was also released over the weekend. Watch for the squirt gun scene 35 seconds in, trust me.
The more I hear from all involved, the more I wish it was March 19.