A biopic based on the memoirs of notorious rock band Motley Crüe has been in the pipeline for some time now and it finally arrives next month. We don’t know how it will stack up in the great history of rock films yet but we do have all the key info to get you ready for its release.
When’s it out?
You’ll be able to watch all the debauched action on Netflix from March 22.
Who plays the band?
Machine Gun Kelly as Tommy Lee
Texas native Colson Baker is probably better known as a rapper (and Eminem’s current arch-nemesis), but he’s also undertaken several acting jobs in the past. You might have seen him in the likes of the Emma Roberts-led crime movie Nerve, Netflix sensation Bird Box, or TV show Roadies, which followed a fictional rock band’s road crew over the course of a multi-city tour.
He’ll play drummer Tommy Lee – perhaps a fitting choice seeing as, outside of Motley Crüe, he also formed the rap-metal band Methods Of Mayhem. Lee wasn’t the kind of drummer who settled for keeping time at the back. He often performed from a drumkit that revolved on stage or seemed to be floating in the air, and he gained a reputation for mooning the band’s audiences at shows.
Iwan Rheon as Mick Mars
Best known for playing Ramsay Bolton in Game Of Thrones, Welsh actor Iwan Rheon has also appeared in the likes of Misfits, Our Girl, and Simon Amstell’s comedy series Grandma’s House. The Dirt, then, is a bit of a departure for him, although his GoT scenes will likely have prepared him for the chaos of the band’s story.
Rheon will portray guitarist Mick Mars, whose real name is Robert Deal. He changed it before joining Motley Crüe, dying his hair jet black at the same time, hoping a reinvention would help him find the right band for him. Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee got in touch with him after they saw his advert in an LA newspaper selling himself as a “loud, rude, and aggressive guitar player” for hire, and the rest is history.
The biopic will deal with Mars’ struggles with ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis that can be immobilising and painful. Eventually, it led to the guitarist needing a hip replacement, although, as that happened in 2004, it’s unlikely to be covered in the film.
Douglas Booth as Nikki Sixx
Londoner Douglas Booth has previously appeared in the likes of Loving Vincent, Great Expectations, and The Riot Club. In some ways, the latter, about an elite club at Oxford whose members indulge in hedonistic and immoral acts, doesn’t seem too far removed from The Dirt.
We’ll see Booth as bassist Nikki Sixx (real name Frank Carlton Serafino Ferrano Jr), a voracious fan of drugs and alcohol. He’s described heroin as his one true love and has suffered several overdoses in his life and other incidents while high, some of which will feature in the movie.
Daniel Webber as Vince Neil
Australian actor Daniel Webber’s first big acting role was in Home And Away but, since then, he’s made a name for himself with parts in mini-series 11.22.63, in which he played Lee Harvey Oswald, and Netflix’ Marvel show, The Punisher.
The Dirt will see him transform into Motley Crüe frontman Vince Neil, who was recommended to become the band’s singer by his old high school classmate Tommy Lee. Neil was involved in what will likely be one of the darkest moments of The Dirt – a fatal car crash that killed Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle. The frontman was drunk when he tried to drive himself, Razzle and two other passengers (they survived but suffered brain damage) to a liquor store and lost control of the car. He was sentenced to 30 days in prison, five years probation, 200 hours of community service and to pay $2.6 million to the victims of the crash.
Who else is in it?
Outside of the main cast, expect to see SNL comedian Pete Davidson playing record label exec Tom Zutaut and some less familiar faces playing big stars. Christian Gehring, whose filmography so far is mostly made up of bit parts on US TV shows, will play David Lee Roth, while Ozzy Osbourne will be depicted by Tony Cavalero, who appeared in the School Of Rock TV series.
Is there a trailer?
Yes, and it gives you a taste of the wild ride ahead. “I’ve managed The Scorpions, Bon Jovi, Skid Row, Kiss… but I have never been through what Motley Crue put me through,” says their manager Doc McGhee (David Costabile) as the chaos unfolds.
What happens in it?
If you’ve read The Dirt, Motley Crüe’s bestselling memoirs, then you’ll have some idea of the hedonistic things to expect. If you haven’t, then be prepared for a riot of rock’n’roll excess – we’re talking setting hotel rooms on fire, getting into brawls, and throwing TVs out of windows. The film will also touch on less throwaway moments in their history too, though, like Neil’s car crash that killed Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle and landed the frontman in jail, and Mars’ battle with bone disease Ankylosing Spondylitis.
Will the film replicate the style of the book?
The book version of The Dirt takes readers through the band’s journey with each of the four members as individual, unreliable narrators. Their recollections of events varied from each other’s – unsurprising, really, given how wasted they were a lot of the time – leaving readers to piece together whose version was the most accurate. The film will take much the same approach, which could make for a confusing but entertaining watch.
Will the band’s history be edited for the #MeToo generation?
While leaving out every controversial tale that would harm not help a band’s reputation in 2019 would probably leave producers with more material on the cutting room floor than on the final tape, you can expect the worst anecdotes from the book version of The Dirt to be erased. That means we should hopefully be spared having to watch horrific moments like Lee and Sixx raping a girl in a cupboard, or the band putting the receiver of a phone inside another girl and then making her call her mum. That said, the team behind the film could do with leaving some of the nastiness in, just to remind us Motley Crüe’s antics crossed the line from hedonistic to downright disgusting.
Will there be any new music on the soundtrack?
Oh yes. Motley Crüe might have been inactive since they quit touring in 2015 and last released an album in 2008 but they’ve confirmed that four new songs will feature on the soundtrack. In 2018, Sixx told fans on Twitter: “Fück can I just say it I’m listening to the roughs of the new @MotleyCrue and it feels real and raw. Everybody is playing like mad and the songs crush. Bob Rock brought the sounds. Plus we have a surprise that will confirm that we’re outta our minds.”
A clip of the first new song, ‘The Dirt (Est. 1981)’ was released on February 21. It appeared in a behind-the-scenes video of the band recording the new music in the studio, while the tracklist confirmed it would also feature contributions from cast member Machine Gun Kelly.
And what classic Crüe tracks are on the soundtrack?
In all, the OST will feature four new tracks and 14 golden oldies. It’s been confirmed that those classics will include some of their biggest and best songs. Expect to hear the likes of ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’, ‘Dr. Feelgood’, ‘Kickstart My Heart’, and ‘Looks That Kill’ amongst others.
The full tracklist is as follows:
‘The Dirt (Est. 1981)’ (feat. Machine Gun Kelly)
‘On With The Show’
‘Take Me To The Top’
‘Piece Of Your Action’
‘Shout At The Devil’
‘Looks That Kill’
‘Too Young To Fall In Love’
‘Home Sweet Home’
‘Girls, Girls, Girls’
‘Same Ol’ Situation (SOS)’
‘Kickstart My Heart’
‘Ride With The Devil’
‘Crash And Burn’
‘Like A Virgin’