The Germs only stuck around three years, but the punk band’s influence on music and culture was epic. Now What We Do Is Secret, a biopic starring Shane West (yes the snot-nosed doctor from ER) as legendary frontman Darby Crash, may finally be released in late ’07 or early ’08.
West’s portrayal of Crash, who committed suicide in 1980 at age 22, is so accurate the actor has joined the other Germs (including legendary guitarist/Kurt Cobain pal Pat Smear) as the frontman of the reunited band. He also got the same tattoo Crash had on his arm — talk about commiting to a role.
Secret director Rodger Grossman, West, Germ Lorna Doom and actress Bijou Phillips (who portrays Doom in the film) shared a few stories from the set. Read on for our favorites:
• “I sprained my ankle doing the ‘Manimal’ performance, when I tripped off the amp and landed on the ground,” says West. “I had to do the ‘Shut Down’ performance later in the film with the sprained ankle, with a cast wrapped up in my boot and plenty of cuts and scratches — some real, some fake.”
• “We rehearsed for a month and a half, two months, and then we went into the studio and recorded all the songs for the movie for two weeks,” recalls Phillips. “At that point, I was playing bass all day long, every day. The calluses would come off in the shower. I’d be, like, chewing them off.”
• “Now she’s just like the real Lorna,” says Doom. “I was stunned [when I saw her performance], because it’s the most surreal experience that you can possibly have. I thought, ‘I wish I looked that good back then.'”• “I was pretty much in character 100 percent of the time,” West says. “Every day, when I drove to work, the Germs were always on the CD player over and over again. I woke up listening to [David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars], which was one of Darby Crash’s favorite albums. I breathed and slept it for two years.”