Metallica's TV and Film Cameos: From 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?' to 'Billions' on Super Bowl Night

Billions Lars Ulrich

Lars Ulrich of Metallica and Damian Lewis (as Bobby "Axe" Axelrod) are shown in this behind the scenes photo from the set of 'Billions.'

Metallica might not have made it to the Super Bowl, but the band has several consolation prizes. Not only will the group be featured on Showtime’s Billions on Super Bowl night, but the previous evening, Metallica's sold-out The Night Before concert was scheduled to stream in HD around the world, giving anyone with a Wi-Fi connection an opportunity to see the band christen its new stage production. But aside from the appearance on the Showtime drama, TV viewers and moviegoers have had more than a few opportunities to see (or hear) Metallica on the big and small screen, and we’re not just referring to the band's documentary (Some Kind of Monster) or concert (Through the Never) films. Just last week, James Hetfield was on TBS’ animated American Dad, continuing a run of cameos and appearances Metallica has made.

Showtime's 'Billions' Producers Dish on Getting Their Ultimate Musical Guest Stars -- Metallica

Billions (2016)
The band members play themselves in a scene shot at the Quebec Videotron in September that was filmed 40 minutes before they christened the new arena. Billions co-creator Brian Koppelman was once the band’s A&R rep at Elektra. He and Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote the episode with Metallica in mind.

American Dad (2016)
Metallica’s James Hetfield played water polo coach James Hetfield on the season 13 episode “The Life Aquatic With Steve Smith” that aired on Sunday, Jan. 31. Other than the fact that he looks and sounds like James Hetfield of Metallica (and has all of his guitars), it’s not him, he says.

ESPN commercial (2014)
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was nearly as well-known for the song he took the field to (“Enter Sandman”) as he was this ability to win games for the team. This fun Sports Center clip that aired the night of the Home Run Derby finds a despondent Metallica looking for work around the ESPN offices, attempting to get its music in golf clips and Kirk Hammett offering guitar lessons to an uninterested Stuart Scott.

Hemingway and Gellhorn (2012)
It’s not easy to imagine drummer Lars Ulrich in a two-and-a-half hour historical drama about Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn starring Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen. And while Ulrich doesn’t have a lot of screen time in the film, he did appear in it as a Dutch documentarian alongside Robert Duvall -- who had no idea who the drummer was.  

Get Him to the Greek (2010)
Ulrich plays himself as Russell Brand’s character Aldous Snow discovers that his ex-girlfriend and mother of his son has been sleeping with him. Ulrich steals the two short self-deprecating scenes he’s in.

Metalocalypse: Dethklok (2006, 2008)
Adult Swim’s animated series about a death metal band featured plenty of actual musicians’ voicework throughout it’s four-year run, including members of High on Fire, Mastodon, Nevermore and Devin Townsend. But Metallica’s Hetfield and Hammett were there from the beginning, appearing on the first episode of the show, lending their voices to four of the first five episodes in season one, with Hammett returning for three more episodes in the third.

The Simpsons (2006)
The first episode of The Simpsons’ 18th season begins with metalhead bus driver Otto picking Metallica up on the side of the road after the band's bus breaks down. He’s about to give them a ride until Bart drives off in the bus. After Hans Moleman, who used to sleep with Lars’ grandmother, gives them a ride, bassist Robert Trujillo tells Otto to never listen to their music again.

Dave the Barbarian (2004)
This Disney Channel series lasted only one season, but that was long enough to get Hetfield and Ulrich to appear as dragons in an episode. They give Faffy, a pet dragon that breathes lightning, pointers on what he needs to be (“a fierce, bloodthirsty creature”).

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (2001)
In 2001, Ulrich appeared on the celebrity edition of the popular game show, raising $32,000 for the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic. After making a Napster joke, the drummer incorrectly guessed that Sandra Bernhard’s one-woman show Without You I’m Nothing was Lily Tomlin’s.

Encino Man (1992)
Long before Robert Trujillo was in Metallica, he was in Infectious Grooves, the funk-metal side project of Suicidal Tendencies frontman Mike Muir. The band, who also boasted Jane’s Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins, featured in a scene at the end of Encino Man, the Paulie Shore and Brendan Fraser-starring film.