With The Runaways biopic due in theaters next month, it seemed like progress was being made in how (or if) female musicians are portrayed on film. But a new HBO pilot staring Zooey Deschanel has slapped as all back to “reality”: women should be throwing their underwear onto stages, not performing on them.
As exciting as it is that Zooey will star in a potentially new series on a channel where some nudity is allowed, it’s sad that it’s based on groupies and not empowered, independent, pioneering female musicians, like Joan Jett, Cherie Currie, Lita Ford and Sandy West. Or, you know, Zooey herself, being that she’s one half of the musical duo She & Him.
While she was great as a music lover in Almost Famous (one of the only women in the movie not playing a groupie), you’d think the folks behind the new pilot would want to make better use of her talents.
At least she was the frontwoman of the band in Yes Man.
According to Spinner.com, the new dramedy is based on “professional groupie Pamela Des Barres‘ memoir I’m With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie.” It’ll be interesting, I’m sure, but Hollywood has been there, done that, over and over and over again. How about something more interesting, like a twist on Des Barres’ memoir where the “groupie” actually learns to play an instrument and says, “Screw following these egotistical dudes around, I’m going to start my own band.” They can call it, “I am the band.”
For the record, I’m not saying every male musician is an egotistical sex maniac willing to sleep with any willing fan who throws themselves at him. Zooey herself is married to Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard, who is generally known to be one of the nicest, most down to earth musicians around. That adds to the perplexity of Zooey signing on to such project. Des Barres’ memoir chronicles her uh, involvement with such rockers as Mick Jagger and Jimmy Page — far cries from indie rock’s posterboy.
At least She & Him’s second album, Volume 2, will be released on March 23 to remind us, yes, she really is in the band.