As Metallica finish their new album St. Anger, due June 10th, and get ready to support it on the massive Summer Sanitarium tour with Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit, two filmmakers are getting the whole process on tape for a documentary feature. The whole process.
“They’ve literally been on our asses coming up on two years,” says Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich of the film’s two directors, Bruce Sinofsky and Joe Berlinger. “There’s close to a thousand hours of footage. I don’t know how they’re going to make a two-and-a-half hour film out of it.”
Sinofsky and Berlinger, who began filming the band in April of 2001, got to know Metallica after negotiating to use their music in Paradise Lost, the pair’s 1996 documentary about the controversial murder convictions of the West Memphis Three. “That relationship kind of harvested some interesting creative things,” explains Ulrich. “We’d always talked about doing something together.”
What exactly the project turns out to be is still up in the air. “Whether it’s theatrical, whether it’s Sundance or the fucking Disney network, if the cut-off point should be when the record’s done or if we should continue through the first six months until all that stuff is done,” Ulrich says, “we’re trying to figure all that shit out now.”
Still, there’s one thing the whole band knows it doesn’t want: a long-form advertisement for either the album or tour. “Certain people are trying to turn the film into a promotional tool,” says Ulrich. “We don’t want the film to be, ‘Metallica has a new album,’ that kind of horseshit . . . In our more self-centered moments we prefer to call it a film.”
Sinfosky, writing in a recent post on Metallica’s Web site, agreed: “They do let it all hang out for us . . . The film will show sides to Metallica that not only the fans didn’t know, but also the band themselves didn’t know. It is incredibly honest and revealing.”