Filmmakers Document Metallica Mayhem

By | March 4, 2002 at 12:00 AM

In what is shaping up to be a juicy documentary, hard rock band Metallica has been trailed by a camera crew since last April – a period covering fallout from the shock departure of bassist Jason Newsted and the rehab stint of singer James Hetfield.

Filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, the duo behind “Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills,” have been granted an all-access pass to document the making of Metallica’s new album as well as the personal lives of its members, the group said on its Web site (

They have shot hundreds of hours of footage, but consider the project only 30 to 40 percent complete. While there is no theme yet, the final cut will deal with the traumatic events that have shaken the band recently.

Newsted quit Metallica in January 2001 after 14 years, frustrated in part by his bandmates’ opposition to his side project. The band then announced in July that Hetfield had entered an undisclosed rehab facility for “alcoholism and other addictions.”

“Joe and I have dealt with some really difficult subject matter,” Sinofsky said on the site. “You don’t wish bad news on anyone, but it unquestionably makes for drama and you’re there to capture it. So the band going through some flux and some growing pains is the kind of material a filmmaker prays for. Of course, on a personal level you don’t want people to go through their tortures and dealing with their demons, but ultimately for the Metallica fan, they will see things they’ve never seen before.”

Berlinger and Sinofsky first met Metallica in the mid-1990s when they asked the band if they could license some music for “Paradise Lost,” an Emmy-winning 1996 film about three West Memphis teenagers who were controversially convicted of gruesome murders. To the duo’s surprise, Metallica not only agreed to give them some music, but waived its fee.

A little later, Berlinger and Sinofsky pitched Metallica on a documentary about the band. The group said it was not yet ready to be completely open, but would get back to them when they were.

Berlinger and Sinofsky followed up “Paradise Lost” with an HBO sequel in 2000, “Paradise Lost: Revelations.” They previously shot the 1992 documentary “Brother’s Keeper.”

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