When Metallica's monolithic statue of Lady Justice detonates and collapses around the band midway through their feature film, Metallica: Through the Never, its pieces thud and crash in ways that moviegoers could hear and feel. It's the sort of sensory overload the metal group was going for with the whole film, which follows a roadie on a drug-fueled surrealistic quest to retrieve a bag for the band, as Metallica play a concert to a packed arena. "We wanted to use the 3-D to bring people up onstage, to give the audience a feeling of immersion and being a part of what was happening," drummer Lars Ulrich tells Rolling Stone.
Now they're hoping fans feel a similar exhilaration from watching it at home. Last week, the group released the movie in a variety of video formats, including 3-D Blu-ray, regular Blu-ray and DVD; one limited-edition version even comes with a piece of the Lady Justice statue. In this Blu-ray extra above, the band members discuss the work it took in the studio to make the film "sonically awesome." Below, guitarist Kirk Hammett and drummer Lars Ulrich expand on their experience with Through the Never and the differences between making records and films.
What was it like seeing yourself in 3-D for the first time?
Lars Ulrich: There weren't anything next-level cosmic that happened. I'm not sure I've sat down and had a prolonged analytical sessions about the difference between, you know, my double chins in 2-D or 3-D, but maybe I'll get around to that at some point.
What was the your takeaway from making the movie?
Kirk Hammett: You really wanna know? Being a musician is much more fun and much more cooler than being an actor. I just get such a bigger feeling from making albums with your band. It's the four of you with maybe the engineer and the producer. I thought that making a movie would be similar to making an album, but I was totally, completely wrong. It's the four of you, then the directors, the producers and all the production people. All these people have opinions of how the movie should unfold; it's just amazing because you need all these people and you have to listen to their opinions because they might be valid. It's strange because it takes a lot more people to make a movie than it does an album. Now that we've actually been through it and experienced it, I can say that it's a fun project, but I'm glad I'm a musician.
Ulrich: I really enjoy the moviemaking process. I've always been infatuated with film and filmmaking and getting this close to the process. It was very inspiring and enriching.
The other thing I realized is that the movies that are really, really, really successful – you know like your Iron Mans or your Gravitys – it's pretty amazing how much they actually penetrate in terms of people, culture and awareness. And I think that you can walk around in your own narcissistic, ego-inflated, "Oh, we're so cool and we're in this big rock band" thing and then all of a sudden it's like, "Fuck!"
When you go up against those movies at that level, you realize that's the big leagues and in some way you're still kind of playing in the minors. In terms of what it takes to penetrate on a bigger level, and where a rock & roll band fits into that, I've gotten some new perspectives. I'm probably not quite done thinking all that through. But when a Batman Begins makes $600 million, that more or less means that 60 million people saw it. That's a lot of fucking people. [Laughs.]
Were you thinking Through the Never would be a hit on that kind of level?
Ulrich: Well, I think anytime you do anything, obviously at some point you're disappointed. It seemed with [the 2004 Metallica documentary] Some Kind of Monster, there was a group of people that fell in love the film that that weren't necessarily Metallica fans. And I think that we were thinking that there was a shot of that happening too [with Through the Never] and that didn't happen. Maybe we were disappointed that that didn't happen.
Are you hoping it takes on a new life in the video release?
Ulrich: Obviously, every single filmmaker on this planet will say the following sentence: "My movie should be seen on a big screen, not on an iPod." [Laughs.] But this movie I would like to say in my own selfish way really should be seen on a big screen. If you'll get something out of it on an eight-inch monitor on an airplane, I think that's totally cool – and obviously I want people see it any way they can but, given a preference, I would rather they see it on an IMAX screen rather than an eight-inch monitor on an airplane. But I can't control that. And the minute you let go of it, you let go of it.
Would you ever do another movie?
Hammett: In a heartbeat, just as long as someone else was paying for it. Not only is it a different experience, but it's crazy how expensive it is to make a movie. It's much more expensive to make a movie than it is to make a piece of music.
Why are you giving away parts of the Lady Justice statue "Doris" with some editions?
Ulrich: Because we have more than one. We had a few of them built for backup so there were different options for the movie. Obviously, there are some super hardcore fans who demand that kind of closeness, I guess. You just try to come up with something you might not have had before. So it's really that: Just trying to come up with stuff without it being too ridiculous, and I think you can always affix the word "ridiculous" to it, but it's about finding the right balance to it.