‘Holy S— This Is Heavy': When Motley Crue First Saw ‘The Dirt’
Director Jeff Tremaine says he was nervous about showing The Dirt to Motley Crue for the first time, but the viewing ended with hugs and even some misty eyes.
"That's when it really hit me -- the responsibility I had for telling these guys' story, when I was bringing a cut out to Tommy Lee's house to show to him and Nikki [Sixx]," the Jackass co-creator tells UCR. "It hit me in the car: 'Holy shit, this is heavy. I hope I got this right.' So I watched them watch it. I was really just carefully watching them through each scene. Right at the beginning, Tommy was just super-stoked about seeing the old Motley house. And the Whiskey [A Go Go], he was cheering."
As the movie shifted from Motley Crue's joyful -- if chaotic and destructive -- early successes to the tragedies and struggles they endured in later years, the mood got more somber. "They both got quieter and quieter, and by the end I looked over and Nikki had a big tear running down his eye," Tremaine recalls. "And I got a big hug from both of them. It was a great feeling and a great relief, because it's a big responsibility to tell somebody's life story."
Sixx has already declared his satisfaction with the final version of The Dirt. "I am really fucking proud of him and the whole team," he said about Tremaine on Twitter, noting that "it's not as easy as you might think to let go and have someone else tell your life story."
Tremaine says he's extremely grateful for that trust. "They left me to do my thing," he explains. "Nikki and Tommy came out right before we were going to start shooting. They saw a lot of the props and a lot of the sets, and kinda signed off on a lot of the costumes and everything like that. They watched our actors do some of their rehearsals, but for the most part once we started rolling they left me alone and trusted me to get it right. God bless them for that."
The director also gained a higher regard for the band's music after repeated listens. "I didn't come into this as a super-fan, but I'm leaving it a super-fan of their music," he says. "As a filmmaker, I have to hear those songs so many goddamn times that I should be sick of them. But I'm not. I actually like them more than ever. Their music holds up."
So would Tremaine -- who also directed the ESPN documentaries Angry Sky and The Birth of Big Air -- consider making another rock 'n' roll movie? "I don't want that to be my next gig, I don't want to be the guy that just does rock biopics," he says. "But I do love music and love that world, so I'd do it again."
The Dirt premieres on Netflix March 22.