The filmmamker behind Metallica's groundbreaking 2004 documentary Some Kind Of Monster revealed that the band didn't want it shown that they offered bassist Rob Trujillo $1 million for joining the band. Loudwire reported that Joe Berlinger, who co-directed the fly-on-the wall film with the late-Bruce Sinofsky, were given free rein to make the movie they wanted — but admitted there were several instances where Metallica almost interfered.
Originally released on July 9th, 2004, Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster followed the band through the three most turbulent years of their long career, during which they battled through addiction, lineup changes, fan backlash, personal turmoil and the near-disintegration of the group during the making of their St. Anger album.
Berlinger appeared on the Greatest Music Of All Time podcast and said the band was less than thrilled with a preview of the doc: “It's a three-hours-plus screening. (There’s) literally not a peep through the whole screening — not a laugh, not a moment of recognition, just total silence. And it wasn’t feeling good. Lars (Ulrich) just kind of looks at me, pats me on the back and just kind of shakes his head. James (Hetfield) just kind of looks at me — like, this stare — and walks out. The management looked a little nervous.”
The band had a huge issue with showing them offering Trujillo the $1 million signing bonus, recalling, “We sat around the table for hours. (They said) 'You can’t tell our fans that we paid Rob Trujillo a million bucks. (You) can’t show Lars auctioning off his art. They’re not gonna understand. We can't show this. We can't do this.' And the whole film was just crumbling before our eyes.”
Berlinger spoke about Hetfield ultimately giving his blessing for the film, which coincided with him seeking treatment for alcohol and the band replacing Jason Newsted on bass: “(Hetfield said) 'Look, it's painful to watch. But you guys did exactly what you said you would do. It’s an honest, raw, truthful portrait of what we went through. I'm not sure I ever want to look at it again, but we either treat this movie like (the shelved 1972 Rolling Stones documentary) C***sucker Blues and lock it away in the drawer and nobody gets to see it, or we let these guys make the film they want to. Let them make the film they wanna make. And I'm good with that.'”
Drummer Lars Ulrich told us a while back that the band did not try to control what the filmmakers caught on camera: “Of course there's some stuff that's pretty difficult to watch for us and there's some stuff that makes us all squirm, but we kind of realized that if we were to go down that path, then we could not sit there and kind of keep certain things out of the movie, because that wouldn't be fair.”
Guitarist Kirk Hammett said the film showed Metallica in a way that few bands allow themselves to be seen. “This is a window into our private life and how we interact. And it's all just very natural and honest. What the people will see when they see this film is basically how we really, really are offstage, y'know? It shows a real human side of Metallica that isn't really brought to light.”
Metallica’s Kirk Hammett On Documentary’s Honesty :
Metallica’s Lars Ulrich Says Documentary Couldn’t Hold Anything Back :