Brendan Malloy, who co-directed METALLICA's "St. Anger" video at San Quentin prison with his brother Emmett, recently spoke to MusicVideoWire.com about the experience of working with the biggest heavy metal band in the world on this highly unorthodox shoot.
"We tried to strip it down and make the video about them, really give it an organic feel," he said.
"We submitted a treatment, but the band's manager who we had worked with in the past approached us [about doing the video]. Shooting a METALLICA video in prison could easily look like an '80s rock video. We wanted to take more of a documentary approach and capture the emotion and grittiness of a prison.
"There were three different cameras going and a majority of the footage we used was shot on a bolex. Emmett and I and the camera man walked around and approached each prisoner one on one and shot them in their environment. For a lot of the prisoners in the video it was their first day there and you could really see that in their face, the fear and the anticipation of going somewhere like San Quentin. I don't think that we could have pulled off with any other band but METALLICA. There was a sense that you had to be accepted by the prisoners because we are going into their home. At first a lot of the prisoners were stand-offish to the crew almost as if we were their to exploit them, but when they heard it was a METALLICA video they were all lining up to be in it.
When asked if the band brought their own bodyguards, Malloy said, "for the entire band there was only one bodyguard. A lot of the time we were heavily outnumbered but we empowered the prisoners and a lot of them were even a part of the crew. I think because of that they were more accepting. There were situations we were in the cellblock with four hundred guys and something very easily could have happened. Make no mistake about it: everyone was scared at all times because these were guys that were life inmates who have nothing to lose. We didn't know how they were going to respond, we couldn't tell them what to do, if they wanted to be a part of it they could. We would go into the cell block and say 'If you want to be in the video stand over the edge and watch METALLICA, if you don't want to be in the video stay in your cell.' The guards were saying that we would get about fifty percent participation, but as they started playing every single person in the entire cell was watching! The inmates had so much respect for METALLICA that the band was taken by the prisoners and you could tell it was something very powerful for them. Never once throughout the entire day was there ever an incident or ever anyone saying anything derogatory. They were completely accepting and that's all due to the respect they have for METALLICA." Read more.