Rock n' Roll with Daniel Webber
When we think of Rock n’ Roll there is only a few artists that come to mind. One of those artists is none other than rock legend Vince Neil and Mötley Crüe. Well we had the chance to sit down with young Aussie actor, Daniel Webber, and talk all about his leading role as Vince Neil in Mötley Crüe’s biopic ‘The Dirt’. This talented young actor told us how it was to work with such a cool group of actors and shared his experience playing a rock star and all that involves the world of Rock n’ Roll. But before we got to learn about his role as Vince Neil, we got to learn more about Daniel. Here is what he had to share:
MFP: What inspired you to get into acting?
Daniel: I just had such a strong passion for it during school as something I loved to do, something that was challenging and fun, that was as serious as was irreverent, as untethered as it was focused. It had endless possibility and such freedom of expression. I have always loved being able to create characters and weave an audience under a certain spell for the duration of a play or film - To take people completely away from their daily lives to experience something.
MFP: What has been the biggest eye opening moment in your career that has shaped you into the actor you are today?
Daniel: I would have to say getting the role of Lee Harvey Oswald, opposite James Franco in story based of a Stephen King novel as the first thing I ever shot in America was pretty extraordinary and eye opening. It was a massive challenge and one of the most amazing times in my life. It really set the tone for the variety and complexity of roles I have got to play since then.
MFP: What role models or talents do you look up to or aspire to be like?
Daniel: There as so many incredible people I look up to for their talent and ability, the first person that comes to mind is Heath Ledger. Next of the list would be Javier Bardem and then the list keeps going…I am usually drawn to actors who can surprise me constantly, with their ability to completely transform and recreate themselves for each new role.
MFP: As someone who has done so many diverse roles, which one has resonated with you the most? and why?
Daniel: Thats a hard question to answer as I am not sure entirely if one resonated more than another. In saying that there is nothing in life that can prepare you for the extraordinary experience of getting onstage and being the frontman of a band like the Motely Crue. I would say that the chance to be that outrageous, that showy, that confident up on stage is something that will live with me forever.
MFP: Similarly, which role has resonated with people/fans the most?
Daniel: I played a young man called Lewis Wilson suffering from PTSD on Marvels The Punisher and I had the most extraordinary experience of people coming up to me and going out of their way to thank me for portraying soldiers this way. It is very rare that you are “thanked” for a role, often you might be congratulated but getting thanks was something new. There was something about what that show said about our men and women coming back from service that really resonated with people and I would find myself some of the most compelling conversations with people about PTSD.
MFP: What director would you like to work with? What actors?
Daniel: Another hard question to answer but if someone were to twist my arm for an answer the first name I would probably shout is Martin Scorcsese…As for actors I will leave that one up to fate…anyone who is better than I am.
MFP: Favorite movie? why?
Daniel: My favorite film is Children of Men, because Cuaron gets nearly everything right, an amazing premise, great performances, the cinematography, the direction, the editing, music, its gets just about everything is as good as it can be and it is also just a wonderfully terrifying hypothetical; what happens to earth if women can no longer have children.
MFP: What a typical day for you? If there isn't, what would the ideal day for you be?
Daniel: I am filming at the moment, and that is the ideal day for me, working with talented people on something I love…
MFP: Fashion is our thing, what are your go-to style for a relaxed day vs. a more formal outing?
Daniel: On any given day give me a cool pair of jeans, boots, and a casual T-shirt - to go out I would probably change it up with a quirky/cool jacket. I like going to vintage stores and finding something fun…
MFP: Life can be quite unpredictable, what is exciting about your career and on the same token what can be intimidating?
Daniel: Each new role that comes my way is exciting because I have been blessed to be cast in roles that I find fascinating and am deeply intrigued by their stories…I am endlessly entertained by the process of expansion and learning that comes with each one.
MFP: How was the casting process for The Dirt? Did anything stand out that made you feel like this was going to happen?
Daniel: I had heard about the film months before but in the context of another person going in for a role on the film, I knew nothing about them as a band and so just went about my day. Fast forward another eight months or so and my agent sends me a message saying that they want me to look at this material and if I would be interested in auditioning I would go in the room with casting. Like I said, I didn’t know them as a band so I had to look them up and the first thing I came across was them in their most outrageous outfits during the Shout at the Devil tour and I remember thinking that I was a going in for the role of Nikki Sixx and that there was no way I would get it because I didn’t look anything like him. However I soon found out I would actually be reading for Vince Neil the lead singer - and going back through the images online, there was something about his cheekiness, his bravado and attitude that I felt I could pull off. A day later I went in with our amazing casting director Barbra Fiorentino and the first thing I noticed was she spent an unusual amount of time with me trying to get the scenes as good as they possibly could be, so I had a feeling that she was on my side (in the end she really fought for me to be a part of the film). Two days after that I was back in for the director Jeff Tramaine and the producers, I left the room feeling pretty happy with it but had no really idea whether it would go my way or not. About a week later I found out the good news.
MFP: Motley Crue's frontman Vince Neil along with the rest of the band mates are quite interesting people, how much did you know about them? and what did you do to prepare for the this role?
Daniel: Initially, didnt know anything about them. I had heard some of their songs, like Home Sweet Home and Girls Girls Girls but not much else.
There was a mountain of research online and then of course the books, The Dirt and Tattoos and Tequila (Vinces biography). To begin with I went out and bought all their music and began listening to them non stop, everywhere I went, with that came singing. I trained with a vocal coach and sung for hours and hours every day to prepare the songs but to also to just understand what it was to be a frontman and have to sing 7 or 8 shows a week. After two months on my own getting to know the role, researching, learning how he moved on stage and trying to capture his physicality I went down to New Orleans and began rehearsing with the other guys in the band. We spent a whole month down there as a band, singing for five hours a day, doing rehearsal, then would go out and in Crue fashion, have fun on the town…
MFP: How has your role as Vince changed the way you see the world (being a rock-star and all, even if it was all pretend)? Any interesting thoughts that rose from this experience?
Daniel: Shooting this film was the most decadent and wild experience of my life hands down, as it should be - we are telling the story about one of rocks most excessive and wild bands. It opened my eyes up to just how great it can get, but also how bad it can get. That this life style had serious consequences in every aspect of their lives. As far as being a rock star, I don’t know if I will ever feel anything quite like getting up on stage in front of a thousand people and entertaining in this way, I had many days I didn’t ever want to end, it was just a tremendous shoot and the best film experience of my career to date. On one hand it’s saddening to know you are not a rock star and you will probably never perform the way they did to packed arenas full of screaming fans, but in the same breath thinking, “thank god I am not a rock star,” this is a hard career path that demands lot from you. I think we got the best version of it, we got up, we rocked out, got wild and had an outrageous time doing it and then went back to our lives…
Jeff Tremaine has produced some of the most fun to watch films out there, how was it working with him? Is he as fun as his projects?
Daniel: More fun. More fun than I could imagine. Shooting this was like getting dropped in the middle of the worlds biggest party for three months. Jeff also put so much faith and trust in each of us to bring these iconic roles to life and made sure that we knew he wanted us to go for broke with the roles and to truly become the Crue. He really built up a world around us by getting the best people behind the scenes for costume, hair, make up, art design, all the departments were so dedicated and passionate in recreating this era in minute detail - which really allowed us as actors to trust the world we were stepping into and to focus on finding the essence of who they were individually and as a band. We really became a band down there, and it was because of him.
MFP: Similarly, how was it working with other young talents like Iwan Rheon, Machine Gun Kelly, Douglas Booth, Pete Davidson, amongst others? Do any memorable moments come to mind?
Daniel: Ah, We just had a blast shooting this together! They are all so bloody talented and you will see them completely disappear in their roles - I don’t think you could have asked for a better cast to play the guys. You won’t see Machine Gun Kelly, Douglas Booth, Iwan Rheon, up there - I had many days where I felt like I was with the actual Nikki or Tommy or Mick, it made playing Vince much easier. We were all so aware of the opportunity we had been given in putting the Crue’s story up on the silver screen and we put every ounce of ourselves into the roles and their story. Some of my favorite times were before shooting began collaborating in together Jeff Tremaine’s house, running around his lounge room riffing on the scenes, this was always after having played Crue’s songs together for about five hours that day. We did that for a full month before any cameras rolled so we were so ready when we got to filming and just hit ground running. Those guys are maniacs and brothers to me, and hopefully we left it all on the screen for audiences to see that.
MFP: Lastly, what should the viewers expect from this biopic?
Daniel: An all or nothing account of the one of rocks most notorious bands - We went into this saying we are going to put in everything possible to make sure the story isn’t watered down but that people truly get to experience life on the road with the guys. So expect it to be one of the wildest, fun, bizarre and shocking rides you will go on in 2019. Expect the Motely Crue!