Things spotted at this year's Comic-Con: Harrison Ford, Jennifer Lawrence, countless cosplayers, and ... Metallica? Well, the annual pop-culture convention is known for throwing a few surprises each year, so when one of the biggest metal bands of all time decides to hold its own panel in Hall H -- a location normally reserved for movie stars -- you just sort of shrug and say, "Well, that's Comic-Con for ya'."
Of course, Metallica weren't stopping by just to say hi. They were there to debut the trailer for their new movie, "Metallica: Through the Never," a film that incorporates both concert footage and a dramatic storyline, featuring "Amazing Spider-Man 2" star Dane DeHaan as a roadie tasked with an important mission. But, this being Metallica, this isn't just ordinary concert footage. This performance was created especially for the film and included an enormous 200-foot stage equipped with hydraulics, pyrotechnics, and iconic imagery from the band's 30 years of existence.
We sat down with the band's outspoken drummer, Lars Ulrich, along with bassist Robert Trujillo, to talk about coming to Comc-Con, their love of film, and why "Through the Never" is unlike anything you've ever seen.
There are always surprises at Comic-Con, but I have to admit, I did not see Metallica at Hall H coming.
Robert Trujillo: [Laughs]
Lars Ulrich: [Laughs] Yeah, who cancelled, right?
I assume you guys were familiar with Comic-Con beforehand.
Ulrich: Yeah, Kirk [Hammett, Metallica's guitarist] is a horror fan/geek, and obviously has been here many times. I saw Morgan [Spurlock's Comic-Con] movie from a couple of years ago and was very intrigued. About six-eight months ago, when we hooked up with our distributors to do this movie, the first thing they said to us when we met them was "Comic-Con." And we went, "F*ck yeah." So here we are.
These types of things we don't necessarily over-think or overanalyze. Comic-Con is cool and it's fun. For us, what's so great about this movie is a new experience. To be able to be three decades into whatever it is you do and still have new experiences, that's really f*cking cool. And let's not bullsh*t ourselves here, you guys know as well as we do this has basically become the primary outlet for talking movies in the United States.
Have you guys had a chance to walk around the floor at all?
Trujillo: Well, my kids are out there now and they're having the time of they're lives. We're working, so I don't know how much floor cruising we'll do. But it seems like a pretty exciting event. The energy out there is incredible.
Ulrich: The downside of this of course is that we don't have two seconds to go to the bathroom, much less to go and walk the floor.
Let's talk about the film. This does not look like your typical concert movie.
Ulrich: Good! That's all we need to hear. It's a dramatic film set again the backdrop of a concert. That's become the quickest soundbite, I guess [laughs]. It's been a crazy ride for the last two years, and if everybody walks away from this film saying exactly what you said, then I think we'll be pretty psyched about that. If people like it on top of that, that's an added bonus. I did an interview two days ago with somebody who's actually seen the whole movie, and he said it reminded him of the first time he saw "Fight Club." So I took that as a compliment. We should use that as a blurb on our movie poster.
When you're this close to something for as long as we've been, you don't know what the f*ck you're doing. Contrary to popular belief, like Rob was saying, most of these movies -- and I mean this in a positive way, I don't mean this disrespectfully -- they've got committees and they've got 600 executives sitting and watching every penny. And here it's us and Dane, our movie star.
You guys really lucked out with Dane. You casted him before "Kill Your Darlings" and "Spider-Man."
Ulrich: Dane's the f*cking coolest.
You talked about this being uncharted territory, though Lars, you have a bit of experience making movies. You played yourself in "Get Him to the Greek," and appeared in the HBO film "Hemingway and Gellhorn," with Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman.
Ulrich: Well, I am a bit of a film geek. Film is kind of my passion. I probably spend more time in the film world than I do the music world. I probably get more inspired by the film world than I do the music world. I can't say that acting... acting is not a huge thing to me. Being around interesting creative people, that turns me on. Just being around people who are so stunningly good at what they do inspires me. If I was to do anything more in film, it would probably be more in the producing world. I can't say I have any aspirations to sort of stand in front of a camera and act. But when somebody calls and says, do a movie with Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman, what are you going to say, no?
What movies have you guys been watching recently?
Ulrich: Probably my favorite ones this year are "Mud" and "Place Beyond the Pines." But I also have a 14-year-old and a 12-year-old, so I see your "Man of Steel"s and your "Iron Man"s, so I sort of live in both worlds. I have a five-year-old so I've also seen "Despicable Me 2." I've seen them all. A couple days ago, I saw the Sarah Polley movie "Stories We Tell." Those are the kind of movies that I seek out myself.
So what do you want fans to take away from this movie.
Ulrich: This is not one of those movies where 150 shows into the tour somebody decides to film it. Everything about the film is created for the film. So the stage and the gadgets, everything is just done with a movie mind. If this movie is as successful as people want, maybe we'll go tour this show and this stage. But everything about it was created for the intent for making this movie... It's unlike anything you've seen. Maybe it's as weird as "Fight Club."