ulrich filming

It’s not that often when metal creeps its way into mainstream pop culture. So when metal/hard rock acts do actually pop up in beloved sitcoms, dramatic films, cartoons or even reality series, it’s kind of awesome. So in the weekly column Remember When, Metal Insider recalls the most random instances of metal’s elite appearing in front of the camera.

We’ve previously noted Metallica’s long list of appearances on the big screen, from making cameos as themselves on TV shows and films or voicing random animated characters. However, there was a time when Lars Ulrich got the acting bug and was cast in HBO’s 2012 film about Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn’s romantic relationship… no, seriously.

Starring Nicole Kidman and Clive Owens as Gellhorn and Hemingway respectively, the film chronicles various periods of the literary couple’s romance, including the time Gellhorn and Hemingway spent in Spain working with Dutch documentarian Joris Ivens on his film The Spanish Earth. So who better to play a Dutch filmmaker than a Danish metal drummer… right?

In a feature with USA Today, the film’s director Philip Kaufman recalled meeting the Metallica drummer after Sean Penn (of all people) brought him along for a script reading years prior to filming Hemingway & Gellhorn. Ulrich left such an impression on Kaufman that the director ended up casting him in the made-for-TV movie, which for the drummer conveniently filmed in the Bay Area. “I don’t have big acting career aspirations, but I love dabbling in different processes,” Ulrich said in an interview with USA Today. “I wasn’t chasing this, but I couldn’t say no.”

Even four years after the film’s release, it seems odd to think that Ulrich actually acted alongside some of Hollywood’s elite actors. It’s even funnier to think that a member of Metallica appeared in a movie about the romance that supposedly inspired Hemingway’s classic novel For Whom The Bell Tolls

You can watch Hemingway & Gellhorn in its entirety if you have HBO Go or On Demand. However, you can also check out a scene featuring Ulrich as Joris Ivens and a trailer for the film (the guy in the trailer who says “People from all over the world are heading into Spain,” that’s Lars!) below.