Fresh off his awesome performance at The Big 4 Festival in Indio, Metallica frontman James Hetfield is scheduled to speak at Central Christian Church in Mesa on May 12.
Hetfield will be part of a Q & A following a screening of Absent, a documentary directed by Gilbert filmmaker Justin Hunt, known best for his 2008 documentary American Meth. Absent explores the "father wound" of absentee fathers and features Hetfield discussing his experiences growing up without a father present.
"Me going through lots of painful things in my life, and having to deal with them, is something I've learned is part of being that warrior, and stepping up in my life and taking responsibility for myself," says Hetfield in a recent interview he and Hunt did with Fox News.
A Metallica fan, Hunt was introduced to Hetfield through mutual friends in San Francisco.
"I knew about his childhood, [at least] as much as I could know as a fan," Hunt says. "I emailed him and said, 'What you've gone through fits with this project. Three months later, he said he would do it, and nine days after that, I was talking with him in front of the camera."
In addition to a 14-minute interview segment, Hetfield narrates parts of the film, and reads Metallica lyrics spoken word-style.
"When you hear 'Dyers Eve,' it's 1,000 miles an hour. But hearing it read, it's like a letter to his parents," says Hunt.
Though Hunt says his motivation came from a place of personal faith, he stresses that Absent is not a "religious film." The film screening in Mesa will take place at Hunt's home church, Central Christian in Mesa. Asked about the apparent weirdness of having the guy who wrote "The God That Failed" speak at a place of worship, Hunt says Hetfield is very accepting of the church, and that the church welcomes him.
"James has his spirituality, and it's important to him, but just as important is who we are doing it for, and what we have to say."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
In addition to Hetfield, the film features seven-time boxing champion Johnny Tapia, Christian authors John Eldredge and Richard Rohr, inner-city youth from Miami and prostitutes willing to discuss their father issues.
Hetfield's father left him at age 13, and his mother died three years later. "People have asked me why I didn't include discussions about absentee mothers. It's just as large a topic, but it's a different kind of wound, and I could only make one film at a time," says Hunt.
For ticket and time info for this event, visit here.