Comic Con: JoBlo Rocks Out With Metallica!
Comic Con 2013 offered a number of highlights for the JoBlo crew. Whether it was the BATMAN/SUPERMAN announcement or Tom Hiddleston as ‘Loki’ presenting scenes from THOR: THE DARK WORLD, it was a wild and wonderful four days. Yet for me, hands down was the opportunity to see Metallica live doing a secret show for their fans in support of their upcoming IMAX 3D feature film METALLICA THROUGH THE NEVER. The ninety minute set was filled with a number of the bands best tunes including ‘One’, ‘Seek and Destroy’, ‘Master of Puppets’ with a few songs from the “Black” album including ‘Nothing Else Matters’ and ‘Enter Sandman’ back to back.
The secret event was held at The Spreckles Theatre in San Diego and band members James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hemmett and Robert Trujillo had the audience awaiting every single note. They even played their own take on the STAR WARS theme which had the fans cheering. It was an incredible evening and the band played headbangingly well. Hetfield’s powerful growl was in full force that night, as well were his band mates. The idea of spending a night that normally would be reserved for alcohol and partying was well spent rocking out to one of my favorite bands!
A few hours before the concert we had the opportunity to sit down with Ulrich, Hemmett and Trujillo as well as director Nimród Antel and actor Dane DeHaan for an intimate roundtable interview and talk about the upcoming feature METALLICA THROUGH THE NEVER. The level of excitement they had for the upcoming film was clear and from the trailer, it seems Metallica fans should be in for a super apocalyptic treat.
When asked where the project came from, guitarist Kirk Hemmett told us, “It was our manager’s idea to put together a stage show so massive that you’d have no choice but to document it in 3D and IMAX. He didn’t sell it to us like that but basically it was our manager’s idea to come up with a huge stage and play all our greatest hits and film it and put it out to the masses. The idea was to always do it in IMAX. We actually tried to do an IMAX film about ten years ago but it didn’t pan out and so this idea was kind of riding on the heels of that old idea of making an IMAX movie.” When asked about the stage itself he added, “The stage is so huge it is a spectacle in itself.”
Electric bass player Robert Trujillo – who joined the band on February 24, 2003 – chimed in, “The interesting thing is that they had already started production of this stage. We didn’t even really know how far along and how this thing was progressing. We had a meeting and they were already building a stage, the money had already been spent and we hadn’t even confirmed it. They were so excited about presenting this.”
Trujillo went on to say that they wanted something more than simply a concert footage Metallica movie. “We wanted to have a narrative within the concert film and not just have it be another Metallica concert being filmed. That’s where we were head-butting a little bit because they had intended it to be just a full blown concert film. Then we as a band wanted to do something different.”
After speaking to Hemmett and Trujillo, we later joined Ulrich, Antal and DeHaan. As far as the narrative, DeHaan told us a little about his character. “I play this guy Trip who is a roadie for the band and he shows up at the beginning of the concert really hoping that tonight he gets to watch. And the concert starts and he gets sent on this errand to go get this bag, but for him he loves the band so much that he would die for the band. So he gets sent on this crazy journey and he pretty much has to go through hell and back to try and get the bag and bring it back before the concerts over.”
Ulrich explained to us about the idea of how the band continues to grow and how THROUGH THE NEVER helped to accomplish that. “I think increasingly as you get into the fourth decade of our career [Laughing] – it’s frightening – it’s just looking for things to do that are out of our comfort zone. It’s that simple. Doing something that is unique and otherworldly to us just fuels us. We love making records and we love doing that grind but we also know it so well that it can sometimes not particularly be… there’s just not a lot of surprises. We want to make records that we enjoy but increasingly in the last few years when Lou Reed calls we just can’t wait to take things out of our comfort zone. We just jump into these projects often not knowing where we are going to land or how it’s going to go and say yes sometimes even if before it’s thought through, but that is kind of how we are as people. It’s kind of how the dynamic of this band is.”
In regards to perception of the band, he added that, “A lot of people have this idea that Metallica is this big multi-national cooperation that sits around in board rooms and crosses t’s and dot’s I’s. It’s just four guys that are trying to figure it all out and have as much fun as possible. And we love to do stuff like this that is out of our comfort zone and then we go back to make music and we are kind of reenergized.”
Filmmaker Antal (PREDATORS, VACANCY) clearly brought his passion to the project. “I always felt that having an opportunity to work with someone like them would be a pretty awesome experience so when the phone call came through they asked, much like they had asked Dane (DeHaan) and they said, ‘Hey, does a Metallica concert film interest you?’ I jumped at the opportunity. There are a few different reasons for it and one is being a fan of theirs, but also having the opportunity to do something that I hadn’t done before. That challenge was exciting.”
Originally, a handful of directors were asked about their interest in the project, but it was Antal who wooed them. He explained exactly how he approached this challenging task. “Writing the story was kind of a three tier thing. We had a general idea that had started with a seed of protest and that was something that Metallica has always represented at least for me, they have always been ‘f*ck you music’ for me. So protest was at the heart of it, and the day that I pitched them the idea interestingly enough, Time Magazine picked the ‘Man of the Year’ to be the protestor. That was a fascinating coincidence.”
The director then added, “There was a book that I had read called ‘The Alchemist’ which structurally was something that I felt was appropriate for this story, and the structure of it. And the most beautiful thing that gave me ammunition to use and that helped me to hopefully inspire Dane and the band was meeting some of the guys that worked for the band. One gentleman in particular, Dan Brown, who is the stage manager and the tour manager, production manager, Dan makes it happen physically. Having conversations with him early on, one thing became immediately apparent to me and that was his passion for his job and the fact that he loves these guys.”
As a Metallica fan I couldn’t be more excited to see exactly what to make of METALLICA THROUGH THE NEVER. Could it be that we have a brand new classic rock and roll flick like PINK FLOYD’S THE WALL or PURPLE RAIN? Only time will tell… personally I’m counting the days until the film’s release on September 27th, 2013.