Machine Gun Kelly Talks About the ‘Giant Nose Dive’ of Playing Tommy Lee
Rapper Machine Gun Kelly is set to star as Tommy Lee in Netflix's film version of Motley Crue's book The Dirt, which is arriving March 22. In a new interview, he discussed the challenges involved in playing the drummer.
Replicating Lee's tattoos was one issue, especially given that his own had to be covered up before the shoot. "Many of my tattoos took less time than those prosthetics took," he told Billboard. "I like his shitty Mighty Mouse tattoo -- the first one that he got. It’s just such a 'first tattoo.'"
Another part of the process was when, on the first night of shooting in New Orleans, director Jeff Tremaine insisted that the two of them go out drinking with Douglas Booth, who plays Nikki Sixx. "Within the first 30 minutes," Kelly added, "Doug was like, 'I’m Nikki Sixx, bitch!' and bit [Tremaine’s] shoulder so hard he still has bite marks and purple rings around the bite marks. As soon as Doug bit the director, we knew that it was going to be a ride."
Kelly, whose given name is Colson Baker, he had to audition six times over two-and-a-half years before he got the part, twice with Sixx and four times with Lee. He had read The Dirt when he was 13 -- "It was my Bible," he said, later adding, "I had the wrong idols growing up, for sure" -- which also meant that he didn't fully comprehend a lot of the debauchery contained in the book.
"It wasn’t until we were on set and doing these scenes that we were like, 'Whoa, this is dark. What are people going to think about this?'” he said. "But there’s something about the truth in that book -- the fact that you do fall in love with these people [who] then do this giant nose dive into this dark place."
But ultimately he came to realize what has been a key to Lee's appeal over the years. "Tommy is like the puppy dog of the group," he continued. "He makes mistakes, but you kind of love him more when he’s making mistakes."