Seminar alum Alan Rickman has signed on to play Hilly Kristal, the flannel-clad, bearded founder of legendary East Village punk rock music venue CBGB, according to The New York Times. Conceived by filmmakers Jody Savin and Randall Miller, the untitled biopic is set to begin production on June 25 in Georgia and New York City. No release date has been announced, but the filmmakers hope to debut the film in January 2013 at the Sundance Film Festival, with a theatrical release later in 2013.
In the 1970s, Kristal played an integral role in the birth of punk and new wave music, creating stomping grounds for bands like Blondie, Television, the Ramones and Talking Heads. His club, called CBGB and OMFUG, was an abbreviation of the music he would feature at the venue: “Country, bluegrass, blues and other music for uplifting gormandizers.” CBGB closed in 2006, and Kristal died in 2007 from complications of lung cancer.
Best known as Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, Rickman has appeared on Broadway in Private Lives and Les Liaisons Dangereuses, earning Tony nods for both performances. He recently earned a Broadway.com Audience Choice Award for Seminar. Rickman won an Emmy Award for Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny. His additional film and TV credits include Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Die Hard, Michael Collins, Alice in Wonderland, Nobel Son, Dogma and Sense and Sensibility.