Machine Gun Kelly Details His 'Spot On' Portrayal of Tommy Lee in 'The Dirt' (Exclusive)
By Desiree Murphy
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When it comes to choosing film projects, it's never the "Same Ol' Situation" for Machine Gun Kelly.
In just the past year, the rapper and actor (whose real name is Colson Baker) has starred in everything from a popular horror-drama, Bird Box, to a comedy, Big Time Adolescence, and a sci-fi thriller, Captive State. Now, fans will get to see MGK in what's arguably his most fun role to date, as he stars in Netflix's The Dirt, a biopic of L.A. glam metal band Mötley Crüe and their rise to fame in the '80s.
MGK portrays co-founder/drummer Tommy Lee in the film, and while re-imagining all of the band's wild, hard-partying ways -- the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll -- he holds nothing back. He exclusively tells ET that one of his most memorable scenes to shoot was a reenactment of a time when Lee and the band raged through the hallways of a hotel and set parts of their room on fire.
"Yes, it really was like that," MGK says of Mötley Crüe's life on the road. "That scene happened in real life, where they set the fire in the hotel room. They were running from the cops and they blamed Mick [Mars for it]."
Starring alongside MGK is Douglas Booth as Nikki Sixx (the bassist who co-founded the band with Lee), Daniel Webber as lead vocalist Vince Neil and Game of Thrones star Iwan Rheon as lead guitarist Mick Mars. The guys tell ET they experienced plenty of their own shenanigans while going through "rock camp" and hanging out in New Orleans, where the movie was filmed.
"It was so fun!" Booth says of their time spent together both on and off set. "We got to New Orleans when Mardi Gras was happening, then St. Patrick's Day as well. So, there was no better way for us to get together."
MGK tells ET that while he and his co-stars were filming in NOLA, Lee and Sixx came to set to visit, an experience they'll never forget.
"I think the coolest thing is when Tommy would be on set and be like, 'Dude, it was just like that!'" he recalls. "Like, we did the intro scene at the Mötley Crüe house. It shows all four of us in this element. I guess it was spot-on with [what] the house [was really like]."
"I love how excited Tommy was watching the take," adds Rheon. "Yeah, that was pretty awesome."
Booth agreed, telling ET that Lee and Sixx were "so excited" to see the props and costumes that were used, which looked nearly identical to what the band actually wore on stage in the '80s and '90s.
"This era is so easy to make look phony, fake [especially with] the wigs," he explains. "The [crew] really put the time, the energy and the money into getting it exactly right."
The film is co-produced by the band and based on their collaborative, no-holds-barred autobiography, The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band, written with New York Times writer Neil Strauss. The book and movie detail everything from Neil's vehicular manslaughter charge to Lee's high-profile romance with his now-ex, Heather Locklear, to Sixx's near-fatal heroin overdose in 1987.
"I spent quite a lot of time in a dark room in a kind of very dark place," Booth says of getting into character as Sixx when he was at "rock bottom" of his life. "I lost quite a lot of weight for it because I was drinking faux broth without the noodles. I eat a lot of food, so I was very hangry."
"It was hard. I would literally eat salad leaves at lunch and broth at night and coffee in the morning. It was not fun," he continues. "But, yeah, that was a heavy part of this film and process. Nikki has really suffered with terrible addiction in his life and has amazingly come through that. Now he's a great advocate against opioid addiction."
While the book received raving reviews and landed a spot on the New York Times' Best Seller's list in 2001, getting it made into a movie has been no easy feat. It's been about 18 years in the making, but both the cast and the band agree that it couldn't have come at a better time.
"There's millions and millions of fans who have been waiting to see this," explains Booth. "They know the story inside out and wanted to see it for the very first time. We want to do the movie for them, and for the music as well."
The soundtrack for the film features classic Mötley Crüe hits like "Shout At the Devil," "Girls, Girls, Girls," and "Home Sweet Home," along with an ironic cover of Madonna's "Like a Virgin" and a new song, "The Dirt (Est. 1981)," that features MGK.
"Give me more sex, more tatts, more blood, more pain," MGK croons. "More threats, more theft, torn jeans, cocaine."
The new songs mark the band's first since signing a "cessation of touringagreement" and performing what they dubbed their final concert on New Year's Eve 2015.
Booth tells ET that the band was "so excited" by the movie, that they actually "got back together" and started "recording more music." All four of the original band members also reunited for the movie's Hollywood premiere earlier this week.
Looking back on all of their highs and lows together, Lee admits there's nothing they would have done differently.
"We accomplished everything that we set out to do," he tells Rolling Stone. "But it sure would be fun to start over knowing what I know now."
"I'm just happy to be part of something that was so impactful on so many people’s lives, musically and lifestyle-wise," he adds. "That’s pretty f**king insane."
As for MGK's portrayal? "I think everything was really spot on, which is frightening," Lee raves. "I still can’t believe [this movie] came out that well. I kept going, 'As a fan, would you freak out if you saw this?' And it’s like, 'Yes.'"
The Dirt premieres March 22 on Netflix. Watch the official trailer below: