METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich stopped by the BFI IMAX in London on October 4 to have a little chat with Matt Everitt and an audience who was seeing the band's new movie, "Metallica Through the Never", on opening day in the U.K. Video footage of the question-and-answer session can be seen below.
"Metallica Through The Never" officially opened on September 27 for an exclusive week-long run on IMAX screens before expanding to other theaters on October 4. The film's surreal narrative winds its way through the concert footage, in which a roadie played by Dane DeHaan finds himself in an increasingly hostile urban environment while on a mission for the band.
"[Director] Nimród [Antal] came up with the story line," METALLICA frontman James Hetfield said. "It really is two movies in one. We wanted to have the best concert footage ever filmed and also have a story line and give it some legs that will be open for interpretation. There are so many metaphors in there. And there's no good side or bad side. There's just turmoil. That's just a part of human nature — fight or flight at times. For me, when the rider shows up he's the embodiment of hate. And then there’s fire. Of course. You gotta have fire."
Asked what inspired the whole concept of a narrative-style feature instead of a traditional concert film, METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett told FEARnet.com: "Well, when you look at concert movies over the last thirty or so years, they all kind of look the same, you know? They combine the concert with interviews with the band, footage backstage, maybe a little history of the band or whatnot... and we didn't want to go down that same old road, especially when you have 3D and IMAX to play with. So we all decided that it had to have a story to really make it as memorable and unique as possible."
Hammett also spoke about what it was like to see himself on a thirty-foot-high screen in 3D for the first time. "You know, I really do not like watching myself on screen, so it was actually pretty laborious for me," he said. "It's no problem for the other guys, but watching myself, all I could think was, 'Oh, man, what a big dork I am... a big dork in 3D IMAX!'"
Regarding whether there was special blocking or choreography that made the 3D shoot more challenging, Hammett said: "It wasn't so much the 3D camera setup as the stage itself, which had to function very specifically for the movie. There were sections that were really dangerous, shooting flames and smoke everywhere, and we had to know exactly where the 'safe zones' were, so we didn't get torched or electrocuted, or have a thousand-pound rig fall on our heads. It was pretty crazy."
"Metallica Through The Never" sees the band performing on a massive stage, specially constructed for the film, that incorporates elements of METALLICA live shows from the past 30 years.
"The idea to bring back some of the gags from the '80s, when we were a little more theatrical, was that there are so many kids nowadays who have only heard about statues and crosses and so on," said Ulrich. "So it was sort of like METALLICA has generally shied away from being too retro. But five years ago, when we were with [producer] Rick Rubin working on [METALLICA's latest album] 'Death Magnetic', he started encouraging us to be inspired by our past and not run away from it. So that's why we decided to bring back some of those gags, 2012-style. It was time to maybe be okay with sharing that with younger kids without feeling like we were turning into a retro band."