Metallica Didn’t Want to Show Rob Trujillo’s $1 Million Deal in ‘Some Kind of Monster’
In Metallica’s 2004 documentary, Some Kind of Monster, the band offers Rob Trujillo the open bass spot, which instantly came with $1 million up front for signing on. Co-director Joe Berlinger has now said on the ‘Greatest Music of All Time’ podcast that this was a scene the group did not want to include in the film.
After auditioning multiple bassists for the spot vacated by Jason Newsted, Metallica elected to offer Trujillo the job at a roundtable meeting. He and drummer Lars Ulrich had been out all night drinking, as he’d later attest, which explains his somewhat dissociated nature when being told he was about to receive $1 million just for accepting the position.
He also just received a life-changing lump sum of money, so perhaps his reaction can be attributed to both being hungover and in a state of shock.
Other scenes in the movie are raw and challenging, showcasing a band in utter turmoil, guided by therapist Phil Towle, who was tasked with getting Metallica’s members on track as they worked through personal and professional issues.
During the podcast (audio below), Berlinger explained that he and co-director Bruce Sinofsky were afforded creative freedom in the final product after collecting countless hours of footage, though Metallica had some apprehensions as to what would ultimately revealed to the fans worldwide.
“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,” Berlinger recalled. “Lars just kind of looks at me, pats me on the back and just kind of shakes his head. James just kind of looks at me – like, this stare – and walks out. The management looked a little nervous,” he continued.
Naturally, a meeting came next as everyone drove 30 minutes to Metallica’s HQ.
“And sure enough, we sat around the table for hours,” Berlinger went on. “‘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.”
The co-director described Ulrich as “pretty chill” about the film and Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield began to change their mind after Berlinger and Sinofsky lobbied to keep things as they were and defended their choices.
The real turning point came when Hetfield, who openly battled alcoholism and anger issues in the film, acknowledged, per Berlinger, “‘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.'”
Instead, the frontman realized the band only had two choices and said, “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] Cocksucker 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.”
Berlinger also maintained absolute integrity behind the scenes depicted in Some Kind of Monster that there is nothing shown that the directors did not want to include and nothing was cut from the flick under Metallica’s discretion. “It is truly our film,” he said, “And that was a magic moment of just going full circle and James realizing … ‘Let’s put it out there.'”
Watch the complete interview below.
Joe Berlinger Talks Some Kind of Monster
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