Just Kids: Casting the Patti Smith Biopic


There’s been much buzz about the newly announced forthcoming biopic based on Patti Smith’s bestselling memoir, Just Kids. We’re as excited as anybody, and like many of you (we imagine), we’ve been spending our off hours turning over possible actors — not only for the roles of Patti and Robert, but their supporting players as well. After all, a film like this, based on real life events and concerning persons still living, as well as depicting characters much beloved in our culture, is going to be pretty hard to cast. Ever the overachievers, we thought we’d take a stab at casting our picks for Patti, Robert, and some of their friends. Click through to see who we chose, and let us know your own feelings (we’re sure you have strong ones) in the comments!

Janis Joplin — Alison Pill

We loved her to death as Zelda Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris, and as Anne Kronenberg in Milk, both parts that we think would lend themselves to this one. She has the same round, happy face as Janis, and we know her hair can take some serious frizz, so we’re pretty much sold.

Grace Slick — Zooey Deschanel

It’s all about the bangs and the big eyes, here. For those of you who think Zooey is to precious to play the badass woman that was Grace Slick, well just think: if twee was thing when Grace was around, she would have been pretty twee. Case in point.

Bob Dylan — Olly Alexander

We know, we know, another actor from Bright Star. Still, there’s no denying with that hair and wan complexion that he’s a dead ringer for Dylan, and we already know, young as he is, that he’s into the historical stuff. Plus, we think it’s high time he had a starring role in something.

Allen Ginsberg — Samm Levine

Again, when we think on the face of young Allen Ginsberg, all we see in our mind’s eye is Jeff Goldblum, but he’s no contender here. Instead, we chose one of our favorites from the Freaks and Geeks days — he might be just a little baby faced for Ginsberg, but slap a pair of black framed glasses on him and chisel out a shade of a cheekbone and he’s our man. After all, can’t you just see Levine growing up to become this? We can.

Other contenders: James Franco again, we guess.

Robert Mapplethorpe — Ben Whishaw

Whishaw has the same hard-to-nail-down, hard yet soft, strange yet alluring, boyish yet defined good looks that Mapplethorpe had. Plus, we were duly impressed by his Dylan-face in I’m Not There, so we feel he can handle the part.

Other contenders: James Franco, Hugh Dancy

Patti Smith — Daisy Lowe

Patti Smith may be the kind of character that someone has to be discovered specifically to play — she’s that important, and people have incredibly strong feelings about her. However, needless to say, we did some serious thinking on this one. Though our hearts screamed “Charlotte Gainsbourg!” and our DVD collections shouted “Cate Blanchett!” we knew both of those wonderful ladies were too old to saunter into New York as a teenaged Patti Smith, so we settled on the doe-eyed Daisy Lowe. Sure, she’s have to get roughened up a bit and lose the pouty sex appeal in favor of a harder look, but we think she has the attitude and boyish charm to pull it off.

Other contenders: Kat Dennings, Olivia Thirlby, model Freja Beha Erichsen