Heavy Metal Dreaming: Is the World Ready for a Dave Mustaine Biopic?


25 Mar
25Mar

Adam Forsgren

Biopics about music superstars are a staple of Hollywood movie-making. You take a legendary musical figure, build a narrative encompassing his/her rise to fame, the burdens of stardom and their eventual downhill slide, topped with a triumphant return and you have a compelling story full of drama, conflict and, of course, great music. 

Everyone from Mozart to Ray Charles to N.W.A. to Queen has been the subject of a popular biopic. Such films tend to do well with audiences, get love from critics and even bring their stars awards buzz. 

All this is awesome, but I have one giant complaint: Where are the biopics about heavy metal luminaries? The closest thing we’ve gotten is Lords of Chaos and, if I’m honest, that movie was underwhelming. 

Now, I know mainstream tastemakers don’t respect metal and think it’s dumb, angry music for dumb, angry people. But take a look around. Pop-tarts like Miley Cyrus are wearing Iron Maiden shirts. Lady Gaga played the Grammys with Metallica. Metal has a proud history, full of iconic figures, like Ozzy Osborne and Lemmy Kilmister, who are beloved by millions. 

Now is the time for a major, big-budget heavy metal biopic, and while there are more famous artists in metal, I think I know who this movie should cover. 

We need a badass, full-on metal biopic about legendary Megadeth frontman, Dave Mustaine. 

There are a plethora of reasons why MegaDave is perfect biopic fodder. In fact, I can give you five reasons a Mustaine movie is an amazing idea and I don’t even have to mention his contributions to rock music. Check it out:

  1. Personality. Mustaine has an all-time great personality that makes you pay attention even if you aren’t a fan. He’s at once intelligent, thoughtful, witty, incisive, sarcastic, prickish and mean. Sometimes he’s all these things at the same time. Interviews with Dave have always been must-watch stuff and if a filmmaker and actor can capture that quality, you’ll have a protagonist you can’t take your eyes off of.
  2. Conflict. Mustaine’s life and career are full of beefs he has had with other musicians, struggles he had with addiction and even a search to find God. There’s more than enough conflict there to fuel a whole trilogy of movies. I bet millions of moviegoers would love seeing a cinematic representation of Dave’s beef with Metallica. I know I would.
  3. Spirituality. Mustaine’s battle with alcoholism led him to more deeply engage with his Christian faith, which, in turn, has impacted many aspects of his music. That life-long evolution could make for a fascinating tale of how spirituality changes people.
  4. Redemption & Rebirth. Over the course of his life, MegaDave has battled alcohol and drug addiction, radial neuropathy (which left him temporarily unable to play guitar), and throat cancer. He’s come out the other side each time, with a new collection of scars and stories. He even gained redemption for a lifetime of resenting Metallica when the two bands shared the stage during the The Big Four tour of 2010-2011. And he’s still standing now.
  5. The Scene. A Dave Mustaine biopic would give one lucky filmmaker a chance to cover one of the most fascinating subcultures in American history: the 80s thrash metal scene. You get to cover the energy of those shows, the chaos and motion of kids in the mosh pit. You’d have a very unique visual language to work with, one of denim and leather and wicked pointy guitars. This film would immediately stand out from the rest of the biopic pack by looking completely different. Who wouldn’t want that feather in their cap?

If there are any movie execs out there reading this, I have to tell you, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity. Not only is Dave’s story worth telling on film, but if you do it right, you’d earn the undying love (and money) of an audience that is underserved in today’s media. It’s been long enough that bands that were contemporaries with Megadeth, like Motley Crue and Guns n’ Roses, are being played on classic rock stations now. The time is right. Grow some gonads and give metal the same props you give country and hip-hop.

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