As the widow of late Ramones guitarist Johnny Ramone, Linda Ramone thinks only one major piece is missing from the seminal punk band’s legacy. “I have offers right now to do a Ramones movie, because there hasn’t been one yet,” she told Rolling Stone when we ran into her at John Varvatos’ Stuart House benefit. “That’s really the only thing left.”
Ramone is not sure yet about the basis for the film – whether it will be a full-band biopic celebrating the New York group’s rise in the mid-Seventies or told from Johnny’s perspective based on his autobiography, Commando, which was published last year. The foundation for the movie will depend on whether the controlling sides of the band’s music agree. “If we could get together with my other side, I have a partner, so we’ll see,” she said.
Regardless of whether the sides unite, however, she says a Ramones biopic is going to happen. “It would be nice to do a Ramones movie. I will do one no matter what,” she said. “Maybe it will be just based more on Commando. I’m working on it right now. We’re in discussions, which is always a fun time.”
That leads to the obvious question: who would she like to see play her late husband in the film? “Of course everybody would want Johnny Depp to play him, because he’s cool and looks good,” she said, adding the two Johnnys were friends. “He’s super nice to me and he used to always talk to Johnny if we’d go to the Viper Room. His band opened up for the Ramones years and years ago.”
But the actor might not be the right age for the part, as she’s looking for someone younger. “It has to be someone who’s young – they’d have to be in their twenties, and all the Ramones in their twenties looked like they were in their early twenties, so I don’t know . . . The hair is important. You could never have nobody with curly hair. I know that lets out a lot of people, but it’s true. The hairdo and the stance.”
Ramone takes her role as a keeper of the flame seriously. “Johnny’s legacy and the Ramones are the two most important things to me. Johnny left me his legacy and half of the Ramones legacy, and that’s an amazing thing to me,” she said.
“They’re bigger than ever, and I think it’s because punk never really took off, it never hit mainstream. It hit mainstream later on with like Green Day and Rancid, the second time around. So I think kids still go back and rediscover who really was it – the Ramones, Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Damned, the Jam, X-Ray Specs,” she said. “A whole scene happened at CBGBs and in London, so I think now kids are so interested in learning about it because it never really got that big. Did Johnny want to be in the biggest band in the world? Yeah, of course, he did. Johnny’s one of the most influential guitar players of all time. Did anyone ever think that back then? No. But it’s a great legacy to have.”