Skip to main content

Why Netflix's Metal Lords Screenwriter D.B. Weiss Loved Following Game Of Thrones With A Smaller Passion Project

As just about anyone who lived through the past decade is aware, HBO's Game of Thrones was one of the biggest shows on TV, and its influence will be felt for years to come. (In part within spinoffs like House of the Dragon.) And while co-creator and co-showrunner D.B. Weiss reteamed with David Benioff to develop the upcoming Netflix series The Three-Body Problem, he first took a more modestly budgeted detour into the cross-pollenating worlds of high school and heavy metal fandom for the coming-of-age streaming feature Metal Lords.

As a passion project of D.B. Weiss' that has been riffing around his head since even before he started adapting George R.R. Martin's fantasy novels, Metal Lords taps into semi-biographical territory without being strictly based on the writer's teen years. And that's what Weiss brought up during an interview with CinemaBlend, when I asked how he felt about following Game of Thrones with the new Netflix movie. In his words:

It's something that's just so much fun, being able to make a movie about something that you love and the people who love it, and kids who are a little bit like the kid that you were, and the kids that you knew. And, you know, to be able to look back on that stuff with a little bit of distance, it just was a lot of fun.

Even though some Game of Thrones vets like Rory McCann, Kristofer Hivju, and Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson already looked primped and primed to be in metal bands themselves, and even though the band members from Mastadon enjoyed two separate cameos, D.B. Weiss obviously wasn't able to directly lean into his music fandom within the HBO series. (Cameos from other musicians like Ed Sheeran certainly didn't help.) But one can only imagine how quick he was to jump at the chance to bring Metal Lords to life once his GoT duties were completed.

Emily holding a cello in Metal Lords

(Image credit: Netflix)

Speaking of cast members, working with and watching Metal Lords' trio of stars created another huge positive for D.B. Weiss. The film stars Jaeden Martell and newcomer Adrian Greensmith as best friends Kevin and Hunter, and the latter's obsession with classic metal spawns their oft-disrupted attempt to form an official act to compete in their high school's Battle of the Bands. Meanwhile, Isis Hainsworth stars as the emotionally erratic Emily, whose cello skills are only partly welcomed into the group.

By and large, all three actors delivered winning performances that wouldn't have made them feel out of place in my own high school (all those years ago). And even coming off of a show with stellar actors such as Peter Dinklage and Gwendoline Christie, Weiss had nothing but kind words to share about Metal Lords' core trio.

The kids themselves - Jaeden, Isis and Adrian - were all just the best human beings on Earth, and such a privilege and a joy to work with. Watching them get into this music that they were not into before, watching them engage with it, and start to have fun with it and just start to get out there and completely destroy it when the time came - destroy it in the good, metal sense of the word; kill it in the metal sense of the word. They got up there and they just they slayed. It felt like I was watching a really great show when I was watching them perform, and that's more than I could have hoped for.

To the screenwriter's point, neither Jaeden Martell nor Isis Hainsworth had any experience playing their respective instruments before Metal Lords came into their lives. Martell reportedly spent a lot of his quarantine downtime learning how to play the drums, and then practicing incessantly, with Hainsworth going a somewhat similar route when it came to perfecting her cello skills, despite not having touched one prior. Learning something practical like how to jam is quite a bit different from, say, Emilia Clark learning how to ride a dragon for Game of Thrones

Metal Lords is available to stream now on Netflix (opens in new tab), with The Three-Body Problem presumably coming together in the near-ish future, assuming behind-the-scenes issues involving the novel's author don't disrupt things further.

Nick Venable
Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.