Alan Rickman to star as CBGB club owner Hilly Kristal

By Jennifer Lipman, May 15, 2012

The story of a man who gave some of the biggest names in punk rock their start is to be made into a film.

Hilly Kristal, who founded and owned the iconic Manhattan nightspot CBGB, will be played by Alan Rickman in the forthcoming film.

In the 1970s CBGB hosted artists who would go on to become the biggest names in the punk music industry, from Blondie to the Ramones, and Talking Heads to Patti Smith.

Mr Kristal, who died in 2007, was the son of Orthodox Russian-Jewish immigrants who survived the pogroms and fled across the Atlantic to start a poultry farm.

After working as a singer, Mr Kristal moved behind the scenes, setting up Hilly's on the Bowery in 1970 and, when that closed, opening CBGB in 1973. The club – the name of which was an acronym for the county, bluegrass and blues music that Mr Kristal wanted to play – survived for more than 30 years.

The film, which will be directed by Randall Miller and based on a script written by Mr Miller's wife Jody Savin, is expected to start production later this year. Mr Kristal's daughter Lisa will co-produce the film.

Last updated: 10:53am, May 15 2012