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'CBGB' Film Features Toilets and Bar from Original Club

By Heidi Patalano | October 11, 2013 10:04am
 Hilly Kristal's legendary club gets the rock bio treatment with a new film that used pieces of the original bar as part of the set.
New Film 'CBGB' Borrows Set From the Original Club
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LOWER EAST SIDE — CBGB, the legendary rock club that closed in 2006, still reeks, according to filmmakers who have recently used the venue's original toilets.

To create authenticity on the set of a new film that explores the origins of the club, “CBGB” director Randall Miller had pieces of the original wall, bar, cash register and bathrooms taken out of a Williamsburg storage facility and shipped to Georgia, where the film was shot.

“The toilets were in these shipping containers and they were so — like I’m telling you — vomit and whatever else,” Miller said.

But the stench was worth it to the director, who penned the script with wife Jody Savin. The film stars Alan Rickman as the late owner of the club, Hilly Kristal.

Hollywood stars in the ensemble piece include Malin Ackerman playing Debbie Harry and Rupert Grint portraying the Dead Boys’ Cheetah Chrome. The film documents how Kristal’s aim to open a country and bluegrass club got waylaid when punk rock showed up on his doorstep.

Miller and Savin consulted with Kristal’s daughter Karen, who is portrayed in the film by “Twilight” actress Ashley Greene. Karen Kristal led the team to artifacts of the club’s history, such as Kristal’s old desk.

“At one point in the movie, Alan Rickman is talking to his daughter and he reaches into the desk. In one of the takes, he reached in the desk and his face totally changed,” Miller said. “He pulled out this deli menu where Hilly had written what he was going to have that day. There was something really interesting about using the real stuff. It added an authenticity to everything.”

The film will be released in theaters Friday, coinciding with the CBGB Festival taking place Saturday in Times Square.