It’s pretty much impossible to talk about the burgeoning 1970s punk movement in New York City without mentioning Patti Smith, the power of her music and the influence it would have on a generation of artists. But talent and passion isn’t created in a vacuum and during Smith’s most formative years, she found an emotional and artistic soulmate in photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, and together they rose through the early stages of their respective careers together. Smith recently chronicled that relationship in a National Book Award-winning memoir “Just Kids,” and now, that story is making the transition to the big screen with some pretty big talent to lend a hand.
John Logan, the writer behind “Gladiator” and “The Aviator,” will team with Smith in writing the script for “Just Kids.” It’s definitely great material for film with the setting a perfect time capsule into an era of New York City life that is long gone. Described by Smith as “the artist of my life,” she lived with Mapplethorpe in the Chelsea Hotel (which now seems poised to be given a complete makeover thanks to new owners), hung out at Max’s Kansas City and CBGBs and influenced each others’ work. And though their relationship ended prior to Smith’s seminal “Horses” album, they remained friends, with Mapplethorpe’s photos providing the artwork for future albums including the now iconic image on that record.
Of course, it’s too early in the game for casting, but finding someone to play the young Smith will be an interesting challenge. The hire of Logan suggests this will be a biopic of the first order and certainly there is no better window into the heavily creative 1970s New York City than Smith. It’s been a while since that scene has been explored adequately on screen, so this project certainly holds a lot of promise. [Variety]