The film version of Mötley Crüe’s excellent 2001 autobiography The Dirt has been in the works almost since the book was published. After years of rumors and false starts, the film finally has its director, Jeff Tremaine. The director is fresh off a #1 movie, as his most recent film, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, debuted atop the box office last week. In fact, Tremaine has directed all four Jackass movies, with the most recent one the closest he’s come to filming a movie that has a plot. That doesn’t mean he’s not familiar with the source material, however.
“I’ve been offered a lot of scripts but Dirt is something I pursued with everything I had,” he tells Deadline. I’ve wanted to make this going back to 2001, when we were just planning the first Jackass movie and I found out that David Gale at MTV Films had just optioned the book. First of all, I had no idea how to make Jackass into a movie, but I said to him, let me direct that movie, too. He said, yeah, of course! He was being sarcastic, because he had the same level of confidence in me as a director as I did at that time. Luckily for me, the movie never got made, and when this project became available, I put everything I had into chasing it and convincing everyone that I am the right guy for it. I really feel I am.”
He also said the book connected with him on many levels:
“I connected with that book on so many levels. From a band of brothers that gets ripped apart and then pulls back together, or being part of a group that is expected to behave badly, and what happens to you when that becomes your expectation. What happens when everybody encourages you and gives you money to be the worst behaved you can be? You can do no wrong, and the worse you do, the more you’re celebrated. It is a story that is somehow familiar to me.”
Tremaine says that while the movie is going to have some comedy elements to it, “it’s pretty dark,” which will be important. While some portions of the book are unfilmable, it’s important that the tone of the film is right. The band was able to get the rights to the film back from Paramount, as well as the rights to all of their songs and publishing. Whether or not it will be Crüe singing or actors singing Vince Neil’s parts depends on the casting. It should be worth noting that at one point, Jackass star Johnny Knoxville was in the running to play Nikki Sixx in the film. The Dirt is set to begin filming early next year.