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Punk is back in the spotlight with the release of CBGB,  a music-filled film based on Hilly Kristal’s NYC nightclub’s pivotal involvement in the emergence of the music genre. In the 1970s Kristal’s CBGB (Country, BlueGrass, and Blues) club played host to artists includingThe Ramones, Talking Heads, Dead Boys, Blondie, Patti Smith, and Iggy Pop, and the film sheds light on what it was like inside the punk movement during the years when it was taking root as a recognizable genre.

Directed by Randall Miller from a script by Miller and Jodi Savin, CBGB features an ensemble cast led by Alan Rickman as Hilly,Ashley Greene as his daughter Lisa, and Donal Logue as Hilly’s friend and work associate.  Malin Akerman, Rupert Grint, Justin Bartha, Johnny Galecki, Ryan Hurst, and Freddy Rodriguez appear in supporting roles, helping to bring to life that NYC ’70s vibe on the screen.

In support of the film’s release in theaters by XLrator Media on October 11, 2013, I spoke with Greene about her role in CBGB and about the real woman she plays in the film.

Ashley Greene Exclusive Interview

At what point in the process did you actually get to talk to the real Lisa Kristal?

“Pretty early on, honestly. I asked to speak to her as soon as I started developing the character because I figured it was pointless to start creating this whole world and character before talking to her. It makes my job a lot easier having the person I’m playing to speak to because all of the choices that I’m making I’m a lot more confident in, knowing I can just ask her and she’ll tell me. So we just started doing Skype calls pretty early on and then I met her as soon as I got to set.”

How much did the script actually change or evolve based on what you learned from Lisa?

“It didn’t change terribly, but there’s certainly…a bit of dialogue changed. Jody [Savin] and Randall [Miller] are quite close and friendly with Lisa, so when they were writing the script they were talking to her the whole time. But then they were also really open to any ideas and tweaks and changes that I had. It was really pleasant to do because you never really know what you’re going to get. Some people are very precious about what they’ve written. It was a very open, safe, collaborative atmosphere.”

When you were talking to Lisa, was there any one thing in particular you were able to latch on to that said, “This is how I get inside this character?”

“Just by speaking to someone and getting a sense of what their nuances are, their personality and their temperament, you can gauge that right away with her, so that was helpful. As soon as we started talking about her dad, I instantly felt the love that she had for him and knew what was most important to her was that the audience felt that relationship between the two of them and saw the love behind their actions and words. They are both very strong characters and tended to butt heads. She was much more business-oriented and he was much more artistic than her. Together as a team, despite their differences, they ended up working quite well together, but getting to that point was a rocky road. You see in the film there’s a lot of tempers flaring and snide comments. I just wanted to make sure that I was able to portray the love behind that whole thing rather than just making them kind of angry and arguing the entire time.”

It’s so interesting that a lot of times she seems more like the parent and he seems like the child. I thought that was an interesting aspect of their relationship.

“Definitely. It’s thoroughly endearing in that he just doesn’t understand that there’s a whole other side to running a business. He, bless his heart, was so passionate and loved music and art so much that he failed to think about the commerce side of things. She had to step in and say, ‘There are consequences to your actions and there are rules to abide by.’ I instantly picked up on the same thing, that she was, a lot of times, the adult in the whole situation.”

I love the relationship between you and Alan Rickman on screen. How easy was it for you two to work together on that on screen relationship?

“It was really easy and really fun. I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. He’s such a presence. He’s such a respected, phenomenal actor that I was really nervous to see what he was going to be like. He was definitely the caretaker off-set. I think on-screen, she’s the adult. But off-screen, he was there and making sure that I was comfortable. And we talked things through. It was really, really fun to be a part of. I think he’s one of the actors that I’ll definitely remember working with and the kind of experience and impact that he had.”

I would have liked to see a little bit more of you and Alan together getting to interact at all. It seems like it could be its own short film or its own little spin-off.

“Thank you. I would not have turned down more time with Alan Rickman. I think it was interesting; they had to balance it out. But I do love the fact that they’re in the midst of this crazy world, the heart behind everything. I think that it was a really cool element to put in.”

Did you have any idea about this punk scene and its origin before you did the movie?

“I was aware of it, I guess is the best way to put it, but I definitely was not well-versed. I didn’t know the extent of the impact this punk movement had on people. I think it was just before my time that this whole thing happened. Once I signed on, I had my work cut out for me as far as research and that whole thing to understand it. I do find it quite interesting that whenever you see this film, it’s a lot less violent and judgmental than you would think. It’s definitely crazy and there’s wild antics, but I feel like there’s a supportive element in this film that you wouldn’t necessarily think of whenever you think of CBGB and the punk movement.”

It kind of romanticizes the whole time period, don’t you think?

“Yeah. And I think people see the performances and see what the artists want them to see as an act, but didn’t see behind the scenes and everything that happened and where these people are coming from. I liked the direction that Randy went in.”

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Posted By Maria    October 10th, 2013    Comments Off on Ashley Talks ‘CBGB’ and Punk Music

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