Showtime announced that Academy Award Winning director Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street, Goodfellas) will co-direct a feature documentary profiling New York Dolls frontman David Johansen, according to Variety. Emmy nominee David Tedeschi (The Orange Man) serves as the co-director alongside executive producers Brian Grazer (As Goes Janesville) and Ron Howard (Happy Days). There is no anticipated air date or name for this project.
Deadline reports Scorsese saying, “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. 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.”
The untitled documentary follows Johansen through his life and career, a Staten Island native who began his music career at the age of 16 in 1960s New York’s East Village, the epicenter of counterculture wave in the arts and social change. He continued on as the lead singer for punk/glam pioneer the New York Dolls in the 1970s, played Buster Poindexter in the 1980s swing revival, and contributed to the 1990s blues movement as a part of the Harry Smiths. Scorsese will be showing Johansen’s story through extensive performances, archived recordings and present-day footage of the artist.
According to Variety, in a statement Showtime’s Vinnie Malhotra says, “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. Over the past few decades his documentaries have 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.”
Past Showtime documentary films and docuseries include Outcry, 16 Shots, The Kingmaker, Ringside, and many more. This will be Scorsese’s first time working with Showtime; but he is familiar will co-directing with Tedeschi as they have worked together on 2019’s Rolling Thunder Revue, a documentary about Bob Dylan’s 1975 east coast tour.
Scorsese won the “Best Director” Oscar in 2007 for his film The Departed and received his 14th Oscar nomination this past year for the crime drama The Irishman featuring Robert De Niro. He will collaborate again with De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio (Shutter Island, The Wolf of Wall Street) on the Paramount/Apple’s upcoming narrative film Killers of the Flower Moon. The film will follow horrific stories that took place over oil-rich lands in 1920s Osage County, Oklahoma.
Scorsese will be collaborating with producer Margaret Bodde through Sikelia Productions. Rick Yorn and Mara Hennessey of Imagine Entertainment join Grazer and Howard as executive producers. Oscar nominee Ellen Kuras (The Betrayal) will serve as the director of photography.