Co-directed with David Tedeschi — known for his work on other Scorsese documentaries such as No Direction Home and Shine a Light — the film will take an intimate biographical look at Johansen, beginning with his upbringing on Staten Island and his arrival in New York’s East Village in the late Sixties as a teenager. The doc not only explores Johansen’s time as the lead singer for the New York Dolls, but also his stints as the Eighties swing revival alter-ego Buster Poindexter and his Nineties output with the Harry Smiths.
“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,” Scorsese said. “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 film will include performance scenes with Johansen, shot earlier this year at Café Carlyle.