EXCLUSIVE: After knocking Gravity back to earth and capturing the top box office spot last weekend with Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, director Jeff Tremaine will next helm Dirt, a feature film that tells the decadent coming-of-age story of 1980s rock band Motley Crue. The film is based on the band’s bestselling autobiography The Dirt: Confessions Of The World’s Most Notorious Rock Band. The members of the band — Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee and Mick Mars — wrote the book with Neil Strauss. The logline? Big hair, big sound, big money, big brawls, scandals and debauchery, and the inevitable big problems caused by drugs, drink, and living and breathing the rock-and-roll lifestyle as the quartet rose from playing local clubs on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip to touring the world as global rock stars.
The film will be produced by LBI Entertainment’s Rick Yorn and Julie Yorn, along with 10th Street Entertainment and Erik Olsen. Amanda Adelson is co-producing. Californication scribe Tom Kapinos is polishing the script, and the film is being set up independently by CAA to shoot early next year, with the agency repping domestic distribution rights.
I guess it is not surprising that Tremaine would feel a kinship to Motley Crue. He has spent most of his career as the behind-the-scenes ringleader of the Jackass crew. The guys who’ve sacrificed their bodies and dignity for raucous comedy on the MTV series, and in three films that have been cheap to produce, and have been massively profitable both at the domestic box office and on video. Like Motley Crue, the Jackass success just kind of happened. Tremaine was running the skateboard magazine Big Brother back in the ’90s when Johnny Knoxville had the idea to write a first-person story of how it felt to get tasered, and, among other things, to be shot with a small caliber handgun while wearing a bulletproof vest. Tremaine wouldn’t attend what could have been Knoxville’s snuff reel, but he gave the future star a camera to preserve the experience. Back at Variety, I got hold of that tape when it was circulating around Hollywood. I was the first to write about Knoxville and this meld of extreme sports and humor. Much like South Park took root from the circulation of the bootleg tape The Spirit Of Christmas (which Trey Parker and Matt Stone did as a video holiday card), Knoxville’s crude reel became the basis for the Jackass TV series. Tremaine learned how to direct through that show.