Metallica's James Hetfield: "Plenty of Places to Die On That Stage"


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Dane DeHaan's 'Trip' faces some bad shit in Through the Never.
"When Lars [Ulrich] and I were jamming in the garage in 1981, we didn't think we'd have to be interviewing directors for our 3D IMAX movie," Hetfield says. "That world is new to us. We were reaching out to people we thought would fit with our crazy dream.

"Nimrod was one on the list, out of about five," the singer continues. "He showed up at HQ, brought his Hungarian crazy self in here, and sat down and pitched us a storyline and his vision of how the narrative would tie into the concert. He had a little more reality-based script, of sorts. The other ones were a little more sci-fi, a little more out there, and didn't really match up with what he had envisioned. His seemed a little more real, even though it's still pretty far out there."

Far out, indeed. Bonkers, even. With so much creative freedom and such a large canvas to work with, Metallica were free to indulge their most outrageous and spectacular impulses -- and in 3D, no less. Hetfield say that it was only with great care that the band did not transform completely into Spinal Tap.

"In general, the 3D cliché of things jumping out at you -- guitar headstocks pointing in your face, and fingers pointing, and all that kind of hokey 3D-ness -- we knew we did not want that," he says. "Instead of the film jumping out at you, we wanted the audience to be drawn into it. So the 3D was used to pull people in and make them a part of it, instead of attacking you. That was one thing that we had learned from other films that we knew we didn't want to see."

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Though new to the experience of realizing their own creative vision on film, Through the Never is not Metallica's first Hollywood foray. While the 3D IMAX feature presents the band at their very best, pumping out their best-loved songs from atop Mt. Olympus, the 2004 documentary Some Kind of Monster captured them at their very lowest. Intending to capture the making of a new Metallica album, the movie instead presented the fallout of bassist Jason Newstead's unhappy departure from the group and Hetfield's trip to rehab.

Though the films are in many ways polar opposite presentations, Hetfield sees them as two sides of the same coin.

"I think the two movies complement each other," he says. "Tying into the same theme, I would say, the adventure that Trip goes on is not that dissimilar to the trip that we went on in Some Kind of Monster, where we're just going to work and doing the next, right thing in our lives, and then life happens in a big way and our whole world is rocked.

"Your first instinct is to flee, to run, to not be a part of it," he continues. "Then the fight mode kicks in. You know, life is supposed to happen! It's all about how you respond. That's where I think these two join together in commonality."

So now that the band has stormed not only Hollywood but the Third Dimension, as well, are there any more worlds left for Metallica to conquer? Hetfield says he's sure that there are, even if he doesn't know where they might be.

"Two years ago, we had no idea that this movie was supposed to happen," he says, laughing again. "There is always something that will come at us. We let it happen, and take the challenges on when we feel that it's going to improve our lives or take us out of ourselves, that we'll learn something from it.

"So we don't know what the next thing is going to be, except that we're going to make another record -- which besides me, I think a few people are interested in," he added. "Metallica makes music: that's what we do best, that's what we want to do. We're sitting on 1,000 riffs, so that's what's next on the plate."

And could there be another movie somewhere down the line, too? Hetfield chuckles at the thought.

"I wouldn't count on it," he says. "This one was intended to be the only movie we'd ever need to make."


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4 comments
crazyhawk58
crazyhawk58

I can't wait to see this movie! As with all that Metallica does, it will be memorable, indeed. I love how they are still willing to take risks to get to the next best thing. 

By the by, I love Lulu. It was hard to get through the first time, but I still listen to the full album at least once a week.

crazyhawk58
crazyhawk58

@NathanSmith @crazyhawk58  Thank you for the comment. It made my day. 

P.S. I am a 63 year old woman. I have loved these guys since 1983. Have a great day.

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