Private Savannah screening of “CBGB” gets a good reaction

Well, I wasn’t invited — no reason I should have been — but there was a private screening of the upcoming movie CBGB last night in the 250-seat theater at the SCAD Museum of Art. I gather that the invited guests did not even fill the theater.

A friend who attended wasn’t even quite sure who was behind the event, but at least one key player from Meddin Studios, where much of the film was shot, was prominently greeting guests.

“I really liked it,” reported a friend who saw the film, while also acknowledging that it’s possible he/she was being overly generous since he/she had been one of the select few who got invited to the screening. This friend was impressed by the work of Alan Rickman, but said no when I asked if, as CBGB owner Hilly Kristal, the character was “interesting and compelling.”

Some of us had been concerned that the plot would focus too much on Hilly’s daughter Lisa, played in the film by Ashley Greene, but my friend said that the family dynamics did not get in the way of the main story about the founding and early years of the iconic club. My friend was impressed with the music and all the songs that the filmmakers secured rights, as well as with the performances of some of the big names attached to the project, including Rupert Grint as The Dead Boys’ Cheetah Chrome and Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins as Iggy Pop.

My source in attendance did note the stark difference every time the shooting location shifted from Savannah to New York City. Now, this is someone who knows Savannah really well, and it’s common knowledge that the filmmakers did not make extreme changes to the streetscapes that were used. I will likely have the same problem when I see the film. Will an unbiased viewer buy into the illusion, even if just for two hours, that the action is really taking place in NYC decades ago?

CBGB has a really active Facebook page these days, filled with photos and interesting updates, including this pic (presented here through the ethically dubious process of the WordPress embed plugin, if it’s working today):

There’s also this funny clip with Justin Bartha on Conan talking about his full body waxing.

Of course, I’ve done zillions of posts here at Savannah Unplugged about the film.

I also posted a fair number of pics from the outdoor sets last summer. I have more shots, actually, that I’m holding off on until nearer the theatrical release date, which is yet to be determined.

Click here for CBGB on IMDB.

UPDATE: There has been some suggestion that a key reason for the screening was to court potential investors in the Gregg Allman biopic that the filmmakers are planning.

Here’s one of the galleries of photos from the CBGB set that I posted last year:

I had a good time talking to this guy.