From Johansen's younger years in Staten Island to crossing genres in the '80s and '90s, Scorsese and co-director David Tedeschi will track it all.

By Nick Romano
July 07, 2020 at 02:27 PM EDT
Kimberly White/Getty;

After Bob Dylan, Martin Scorsese has found his next musician to chronicle: David Johansen, frontman of hard-rock band the New York Dolls.

Scorsese will co-direct a feature-length documentary on Johansen for Showtime, having quietly filmed the singer earlier this year at New York's Café Carlyle, where Johansen performed songs he wrote and shared stories from his life. Emmy nominee and previous Scorsese collaborator David Tedeschi will also co-direct.

"I've known David Johansen for decades, and his music has been a touchstone ever since I listened to the Dolls when I was making Mean Streets,"" Scorsese said in a statement. "Then and now, David's music captures the energy and excitement of New York City. I often see him perform, and over the years I've gotten to know the depth of his musical inspirations. After seeing his show last year at the Café Carlyle, I knew I had to film it because it was so extraordinary to see the evolution of his life and his musical talent in such an intimate setting. For me, the show captured the true emotional potential of a live musical experience."

Sikelia Productions

The doc, a title for which remains has yet to be revealed, will track Johansen's story across the decades: growing up on Staten Island in the '50s, moving to Manhattan's East Village in the late '60s, starting his music career as lead singer of the New York Dolls in the '70s, creating his Buster Poindexter alter ego in the '80s, and delving into country and blues with the Harry Smiths in the '90s.

Scorsese will also executive-produce the project, alongside Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.

The Oscar-winning director, who most recently helmed The Irishman, previously documented Dylan in Netflix's Rolling Thunder Revue, George Harrison in Living in the Material World, and the Rolling Stones in Shine a Light.

He's set to film his non-documentary feature Killers of the Flower Moon, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, and he has a Netflix doc about writer Fran Lebowitz coming up in the unknown future.

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