‘Joey deserves better than this’: Critics torn over Pete Davidson casting as Joey Ramone in new Netflix biopic

Roisin O'Connor
·2-min read
Pete Davidson will play Joey  Ramone in a new biopic (Getty Images)
Pete Davidson will play Joey Ramone in a new biopic (Getty Images)

Pete Davidson has been cast in the lead role for a new Netflix biopic about Ramones frontman Joey Ramone.

I Slept with Joey Ramone is based on the memoir of the same name by Joey’s brother, Mickey Leigh.

The announcement arrived on 15 April, the 20th anniversary of Joey Ramone’s death.

The film, a joint project with Netflix and STXfilms, was originally announced back in 2017. It will be directed by Jason Orley, who collaborated with Davidson on the feature film Big Time Adolescence and his comedy show, Pete Davison: Alive from New York.

Davidson will also serve as executive producer.

In a press release, STXfilms chairman Adam Fogelson said: “When you share a bed with someone – and not just a bed, but a childhood, a family and a lifetime – you know that person better than anyone else.

“Mickey Leigh not only collaborated with his big brother’s band—he has irreplaceable memories of and insights into Joey Ramone, having supported him when no one else would and witnessed him overcome adversity in the most dramatic way.”

He concluded: “I Slept With Joey Ramone is a great rock anthem that will make an equally great rock biopic, set apart by a universal story of family. Pete is perfect for this role and we’re excited he and Jason will be bringing this icon of rock to life and thrilled to be collaborating once again with our friends at Netflix.”

‘He’s tall’ – Joey Ramone (second from right) is the focus of Netflix’s forthcoming biopicSTEVE MORGAN/AFP/Getty Images
‘He’s tall’ – Joey Ramone (second from right) is the focus of Netflix’s forthcoming biopicSTEVE MORGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Davidson’s previously acting projects include roles in the comedies Set it Up and What Men Want, and a starring role in the 2020 film, The King of Staten Island.

His casting has received a mixed reaction from film critics and fans.

On Twitter, writer Evan Rytlewski commented: “This is good casting. Pete Davidson is a meh comedian and a boring public figure but sometimes a surprisingly decent actor in roles that don't ask him to do much. Playing Joey Ramone is pretty low on the challenge scale. Also Pete Davidson is tall.”

Actor Michael Des Barres agreed it was “great casting”, but Variety’s international editor Manori Ravindran tweeted: “Calling bulls*** on this casting right now. Adam Driver was destined to play Joey. Joey deserves better than this, damn it!”

A piece in Vulture also criticised the move, describing Davidson as “not punk”.

The Estate of Joey Ramone has given the project its blessing.

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