Joe Berlinger, one of the two filmmakers behind the METALLICA documentary "Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster" recently answered a few questions from the METALLICA fan site The 4 Horsemen regarding his work with the band, the film and its future DVD release. Below are his responses:
The 4 Horsemen: Is the film going to become a DVD and when can we expect it? Also there's apparently so much footage of the boys and obviously it couldn't all make it into the film so will we get any extra footage on the DVD?
Joe Berlinger: "Yes, the film will come out on DVD in early 2005. Right now we are focusing more on the theatrical release — you can expect to see 'Metallica: Some Kind of Monster' in theatres across the U.S. and around the world starting in July. We really hope that people check the movie out in theatres — the incredible Dolby surround sound mix is worth the price of admission, especially for METALLICA fans. This movie is truly a theatrical experience. When the DVD is eventually released, it will be LOADED with extras. We have tons and tons of footage and deleted scenes, so I think you can expect at least a 2-disc set."
The 4 Horsemen: What were the most intense moments during the recording, was there ever a time when you just thought to yourself, "I wish I wasn't here?"
Joe Berlinger: "There were quite a few intense moments. James [Hetfield]'s last day before rehab got pretty uncomfortable. His first day back was tough, too. Although everyone was so happy to see him back, we the filmmakers felt a bit uncomfortable because we weren't totally sure if he wanted us to continue making the film."
The 4 Horsemen: Was Dave Mustaine actually good to work with, I mean did he seem genuine with what he said to Lars?
Joe Berlinger: "Dave Mustaine was a real gentleman. To me, he seemed absolutely genuine in his conversation with Lars. It was pretty intense and honest. That conversation took place two days after September 11th, 2001, so it was a really strange atmosphere. There was an odd sense of urgency and finality to it, and it may just be my own emotions about that time, but I almost felt like neither Dave nor Lars knew if they'd ever get to speak to each other again."
The 4 Horsemen: In filming the documentary, the guys went through a lot of changes, therapy etc. How did this affect your life? If at all, I know that Bob Rock said he went through changes during the whole process, and was wondering the same about the filmmakers.
Joe Berlinger: "We changed considerably. [Partner] Bruce [Sinofsky] and I have worked together for many years, and although we're filmmakers, not musicians, we have encountered collaboration and ego problems that are quite similar to the ones METALLICA was going through. When we started this project, we had a great deal of trepidation about working together again for a number of reasons. Sometimes after we'd shoot a Phil [Towle, therapist] meeting, we'd go back to the hotel and have our OWN therapy. There was plenty of screaming and a few tears, but I think we emerged as better people and artists, with a stronger and more honest relationship."
The 4 Horsemen: What is your favorite part in the documentary?
Joe Berlinger: "It's tough to name a particular favorite part — at the risk of sounding self-aggrandizing, I really love this film. It was such a joy to have the kind of freedom, support, respect, and trust that METALLICA gave us, as well as the ability to take this journey alongside the band and film just about everything that happened along the way. There are lots of individual scenes I really like, and I'm particularly proud of how we were able to juggle so many story threads that all pay off by the end of the film."
The 4 Horsemen: Was there times when one of the guys would make you stop filming? Or be really agitated with the cameras?
Joe Berlinger: "There were never times when anyone said, 'Shut that camera off,' or, 'Don't film this,' but there were definitely times when the guys got frustrated with the cameras — some of them are in the film. Our crew was small and incredibly talented, and we did everything we could to stay out of the way. But it's impossible to be TOTALLY unobtrusive when you're working in places like recording studios. I think we did the best job possible, but I really tip my hat to the band not only for their willingness to accept the presence of the cameras not only on an emotional level, but on a practical, physical one as well. We had cameras and boom-mics on them all the time for over two years, which must get tiresome, to say the least, but they were always very respectful of the process and knew we had a job to do."
The 4 Horsemen: Through this experience of following the band during an entire recording process and hearing all the music they made, have you become fans of their music or was it all strictly professional for you?
Joe Berlinger: "You always try and maintain some type of boundary between yourself and your subjects, but we really do love METALLICA's music — if we didn't, it would've been pretty torturous listening to so much of it over the past three years! I think that our appreciation of METALLICA was critical to the film. The music sometimes served as a gateway to what they were thinking and feeling at certain points throughout the recording when they weren't verbalizing those thoughts. Despite its heaviness, 'St. Anger' is a very personal record, and one of the things we tried to show in the film is the relationship between what was happening in these guys' lives and music they were creating, and I think our appreciation of their music was important in capturing that accurately."