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Scorsese to Direct David Johansen Documentary For Showtime

(Image credit: Showtime)

Showtime has greenlit a Martin Scorsese documentary about singer David Johansen, former frontman of the New York Dolls. Scorsese and David Tedeschi will direct. 

The film will show Johansen growing up in Staten Island, landing in New York’s East Village in the late ‘60s as a teen, and fronting the punk/glam pioneers the New York Dolls in the ‘70s. Johansen reinvented himself as Buster Poindexter in the ‘80s and fronted the blues band the Harry Smiths in the ‘90s. 

“It is an honor for all of us at Showtime to be working with Martin Scorsese, who unquestionably stands as one of the greatest filmmakers of our time,” said Vinnie Malhotra, executive VP, nonfiction programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “Over the past few decades his documentary work has taken us inside the lives of some of the most iconic musicians, from The Band to The Rolling Stones to Bob Dylan, and now David Johansen and the New York Dolls. Johansen’s story transcends the walls of music and is a window into the art and cultural evolution of New York City.”

Scorsese’s films include Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, The Departed and The Irishman.

“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,” said Scorsese. “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.”

Scorsese and his team filmed Johansen earlier this year at New York’s Café Carlyle. Showtime said Scorsese will “take the audience on an unforgettable New York journey from the 1970s through today, revealing Johansen through exclusive performances, archival footage and present-day verité of the artist and raconteur.”

Scorsese and Sikelia Productions will executive produce with Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Imagine Documentaries. Rick Yorn and Mara Hennessey are also exec producing.