IMDb > What We Do Is Secret (2007)
What We Do Is Secret
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What We Do Is Secret (2007) More at IMDbPro »

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What We Do Is Secret -- The true-life story of Darby Crash, who became an L.A. punk icon before taking his own life in 1980. After getting kicked out of high school, Darby forms The Germs with a collection of friends who have little experience with their instruments or playing music; Pat Smear, Lorna Doom and Don Bolles. After a few disastrous gigs, the band begins to click and Darby and The Germs soon find themselves the talk of the L.A. punk scene. When hard drugs enter the picture, Darby starts alienating those closest to him and when The Germs collapse, he's at a loss to figure out what comes next.
What We Do Is Secret -- Open-ended Trailer from Peace Arch Entertainment Group
What We Do Is Secret -- Clip: You're not going to see this again
What We Do Is Secret -- Clip: It's my people
What We Do Is Secret -- Clip: Rodney on the rock


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Rodger Grossman (co-story writer)
Rodger Grossman (screenplay)
View company contact information for What We Do Is Secret on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
8 August 2008 (USA) See more »
A biopic of punk legend Darby Crash and his band, the Germs. | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
2 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Punk stardom: nasty, brutish, and short See more (24 total) »


  (in credits order)

Shane West ... Darby Crash

Bijou Phillips ... Lorna Doom

Rick Gonzalez ... Pat Smear

Noah Segan ... Don Bolles

Ashton Holmes ... Rob Henley

Tina Majorino ... Michelle

Lauren German ... Belinda

Keir O'Donnell ... Chris Ashford

Sebastian Roché ... Claude Kickboy Bessy

Azura Skye ... Casey Cola

Katharine Leonard ... Jena
Rachael Santhon ... Malissa
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Noah Abrams ... Audience Member #1
Daniel Alvarado ... Bar Patron
David Alvarado ... Bar Patron

Ozzy Benn ... Captain Sensible

Thom Bishops ... Tony the Hustler

Christopher Boyd ... Dave Vanian

Missy Doty ... Amber

Brian Gleason ... Regi Mental

Leslie Grossman

Amy Halloran ... Becky

Michele Hicks ... Penelope Spheeris
Kylan James ... Rat Scabies
Chad Liffmann ... Audience Member

J.P. Manoux ... Rodney Bingenheimer
Chandra McWhorter ... Farrah-Fawcett Minor
Greg McWhorter ... Eddie Subtitle
Lachlan McWhorter ... John Morris

Howard S. Miller ... Starwood Manager
Jonathan Milliken ... Young Darby Crash

Bru Muller ... Teacher

Randi Newton ... Gerber
David Nichols Jr. ... Skinhead

Paul Nygro ... Bob Biggs

Brian Oerly ... Bouncer

Ray Park ... Brendan Mullen
Trevor Parsons ... Billy Zoom

Chris Pontius ... Black Randy
Peter Prins ... Pogo Dancing Punk

Sara Rivas ... Shannon

Scott L. Schwartz ... Biker
Anna Waronker ... Joan Jett
John Westernoff ... Auditioning Drummer

Richard Wharton ... Whiskey Manager
Shane Finkenkeller ... HB Skinhead (uncredited)
Graham Hart ... Whiskey Douglas (uncredited)

Giddle Partridge ... Dinah Cancer (uncredited)

Justin Sandler ... Hippie Drummer (uncredited)
Christian Schmook ... Bartender (uncredited)
Genoveva Winsen ... Pat Burnette (uncredited)

Directed by
Rodger Grossman 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Michelle Baer Ghaffari  co-story writer
Rodger Grossman  co-story writer
Rodger Grossman  screenplay

Produced by
John W. Davidson .... associate producer
Michelle Baer Ghaffari .... co-producer
Bruce Wayne Gillies .... line producer
Rodger Grossman .... producer
Michael LaFetra .... executive producer
David G. Mack .... executive producer
Kevin Mann .... producer
Damon Martin .... executive producer
Stephen Nemeth .... producer
Matthew Perniciaro .... producer
Andre Relis .... co-executive producer
Lise Romanoff .... co-executive producer
Todd Traina .... producer
Andy Wombwell .... co-producer
Cinematography by
Andrew Huebscher 
Film Editing by
Ross Albert 
Joel Plotch (co-editor)
Casting by
Jay Scully 
Production Design by
John Mott 
Set Decoration by
Julieann Getman 
Costume Design by
Julia Caston 
Makeup Department
Matthew Kasten .... assistant hair stylist
Heather Mages .... makeup department head
Isabelle Murray .... assistant makeup artist
Elissa Prager .... hair stylist
Deborah Rutherford .... makeup designer (as Deborah Patino)
Yoi .... key hair stylist
Production Management
Christian Bevington .... unit production manager
Brian Buckland .... additional production manager
Minor Childers .... post-production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
David Clair .... second unit director
Morgan Elam .... additional first assistant director
David Mendoza .... first assistant director
Joe Moore .... additional second assistant director
Sam Nainoa .... second second assistant director: additional photography
Blake Perkinson .... second assistant director
Kyle Sherman .... assistant director: additional photography
Kyle Sherman .... second second assistant director
Austin Sipes .... second second assistant director
Matt Tulve .... second second assistant director
Art Department
Frederick Agnew .... lead scenic artist
Kalvar Antzon .... carpenter
Jen Fiedler .... on-set dresser
McJoel Hamilton .... assistant property master
Derrick Hinman .... property master
Lori Lee Korth .... set dresser
Frank Meroney .... construction coordinator
Mungai Nguku .... swing gang
Blake Sherman .... art department production assistant
Terrance Zdunich .... storyboard artist
Sound Department
Michael Brown .... foley artist
John Fairlamb .... foley mixer
Seann Flynn .... playback
Bill Jenkins .... location sound mixer
Yagmur Kaplan .... sound re-recording mixer
Sylvain Loiseau .... post-production audio manager
Sean O'Malley .... sound
Sergio Reyes .... sound re-recording mixer
Stacey A. Washer .... boom operator
Visual Effects by
Christopher Dusendschon .... digital imaging supervisor: iO FILM
Ron Althoff .... stunt performer
Shawn Crowder .... stunts
Christopher Doyle .... stunt coordinator
Zack Duhame .... stunts
T. Ryan Mooney .... stunts
Ryan Ryusaki .... stunts
Sam Situmorang .... stunts
Bryan Thompson .... stunts
Mickey Cassidy .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Darrick Akey .... assistant camera
Alexander Brown .... electrician
Brannon D. Brown .... second assistant camera (as Brannon Brown)
Jonathon Carmichael .... grip
Eddie San Chan .... additional gaffer
Michael Chateauneuf .... best boy electric: additional photography
Jason Cochard .... camera loader
Christian Grosselfinger .... gaffer
Matt Gulbin .... best boy grip
Michael Gulbin .... key grip
Matthew Heckerling .... director of photography: second unit
James Heywood .... key grip
Bryan Hong .... grip: additional photography
Erwin Landau .... Steadicam operator
Mareo-Ahmir Lawson .... grip
Kevin Mucha .... lighting console programmer
Michael O'Connor .... still photographer
John Orphan .... first assistant camera
Cass Rasmussen .... electrician
Nickolas Dylan Rossi .... assistant camera
Sonoko Shimoyama .... additional best boy electric
Andy Steinman .... camera operator: "b" camera
Sam Stewart .... electrician
Sam Stewart .... grip
Dwight Elliott Stone .... key grip: additional photgraphy
Reza Tabrizi .... additional second assistant camera
Raul Vasquez .... grip
Somsy Vejsiri .... best boy electric
Christopher Vinopal .... rigging best boy electric (as Chris Vinopal)
Erin Williams .... still photographer
Michael Witczak .... electrician
Bobby Woo .... lighting network technician
Casting Department
Carol Grant .... extras casting
Jennifer Rudolph .... casting: New York
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Monica Brazelton .... costumer
Amelia Buhrman .... assistant costume designer
Rebecca Fenton Brezovec .... set costumer (as Rebecca Fenton)
Moksha McPherrin .... additional costume designer
Jamie Redwood .... key costumer (as Jamie Bresnan)
Editorial Department
Gary Friedman .... first assistant editor
Zara Park .... digital intermediate post supervisor (as Zara Roberts)
Robb Porter .... post-production Coordinator: Modern VideoFilm
Eric Putz .... telecine dailies colorist
Elvio Sordoni .... assistant editor
Kathy Thomson .... digital intermediate colorist
Music Department
Dean Menta .... music editor
Howard Paar .... music supervisor
Karen Sidlow .... music assistant
Micki Stern .... music clearance
Genoveva Winsen .... soundtrack engineer (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Matthew Ballard .... transportation coordinator
Shay Morgan Brook .... driver
Other crew
Jonathan M. Abrams .... production assistant
Noor Ahmed .... production legal
Jill Becker .... pre-production coordinator
Matthew Bolin .... production assistant (as Matt Bolin)
N. Charlie Brown .... stand-in
Cameron Carlson .... production assistant
William Clark Coit III .... location manager
Jen Dougherty .... assistant to director: pre-production
Pat Fear .... technical advisor
Michael Goss .... assistant production coordinator
Rena Hanover .... production assistant
Kimberley A. Helms .... assistant production coordinator
Klara Jolesz .... assistant to director
Megan Kristen Lane .... production assistant (as Megan Lane)
Jenny Lens .... photography: original source
Sheila Louie .... set medic
Ian Menzies .... unit location manager
Lizz Morhaim .... production assistant
Lucy Ramirez-Ewart .... caterer (as Lucy Ramirez)
Mark Schaefer .... misc crew
Tracy Scott .... script supervisor
Mary Shellogg .... additional script supervisor
Rob Spence .... additional production coordinator
Sam Vlahovich .... technical advisor (uncredited)
Brandon Zinn .... location assistant
Jessica Hong .... production assistant (uncredited)
Jeff Alulis .... special thanks
Jill Ash .... special thanks
Karl R. Austen .... special thanks (as Karl Austen)
K.K. Barrett .... special thanks
Jeanine Basinger .... special thanks
Kristen Bell .... special thanks
Solange Bertet .... special thanks
Harold Bronson .... special thanks
Stephanie Bronson .... special thanks
Jeff Byron .... special thanks
Bambi Conway .... special thanks
John Doe .... special thanks
Shephard Fairey .... special thanks
Robbie Fields .... special thanks
Tamara Garfield .... special thanks
Earl Ghaffari .... special thanks
Isa Ghaffari .... special thanks
Mellie Ghaffari .... special thanks
Greg Ginn .... special thanks
Bill Gray .... special thanks
Marshall Grossman .... special thanks
Lukas Haas .... special thanks
Tony Hoffman .... special thanks
Carrie Holt .... special thanks
Amy Horton .... special thanks
Joan Jett .... special thanks
Hellin Killer .... special thanks
Michael Le Blanc .... special thanks
Chad Liffman .... special thanks
Ellen M. Mann .... special thanks
Jack Mann .... special thanks
Doug Mark .... special thanks
David Markey .... special thanks
Wendy Marmo .... thanks: Music Clearance
Alexis Martinez .... special thanks
Erin McPherson .... special thanks
Shannon 'Little Doggy' Mila .... special thanks
Jeff Morrone .... special thanks
Howie Pyro .... special thanks
Paul Roessler .... special thanks
Phil Rowland .... special thanks
Penelope Spheeris .... special thanks
Lincoln Stalmaster .... special thanks
Brooke Stites .... special thanks
Ricky Stoutland .... special thanks
Albert Sweet .... special thanks
Darren M. Trattner .... special thanks (as Darren Trattner)
Akiko Uchida .... special thanks
Adrian Velicescu .... special thanks
Lee Vin .... special thanks
Julie Warner .... special thanks
Mike Watt .... special thanks
Monica Weinger .... special thanks
Jeremy Weinstein .... special thanks
Mike White .... special thanks
Steven Wren .... special thanks
Geza X. .... special thanks
Gordon Zacks .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Rated R for drug use, language and brief sexuality
USA:92 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Because he was so good as Darby Crash, Shane West was hired as the new vocalist and The Germs reunited for a tour.See more »
Continuity: At the last scene at Okie-Dog, the lid on Casey's orange juice disappears between shots.See more »
Darby Crash:I love those who do not know how to live, except in perishing, for they are those that go beyond. I love the great despiser's, because they are the great adorers. They are arrows longing for the other shore. I love those who do not seek beyond the stars for a reason to parish and be sacrifice; but who sacrifice themselves to earth in order that earth may some day become...See more »
New Dawn FadesSee more »


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13 out of 22 people found the following review useful.
Punk stardom: nasty, brutish, and short, 2 September 2008
Author: Chris Knipp from Berkeley, California

Last year there was an accomplished little film called Control by Anton Corbijn starring Samantha Morton, Sam Riley, Alexandra Maria Lara, et al., with beautiful black and white images of England evoking the short life of Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division, an English rock group of the 80's. This is the same thing, only the singer and the group, "legendary" and "seminal" though they may be among followers of punk, are less remembered among music fans, and the extent of the legend hardly becomes clear in this version. The focus is a lead singer who runs a group called The Germs. The film-making, which mixes dramatized sequences with fake documentary interviews, seeks to evoke the LA punk scene of the late 70's and early 80's. The scene and the film are sloppier, the concert sequences are more violent and less musical, the characters are less defined, and the ending is sudden. Yet in the opinion of some fans, it's not violent or sloppy enough, and one can see their point.

The lead singer in question, played by the successful TV actor Shane West, is a professed Fascist, though anarchy seems more his style, who takes on the name Darby Crash. He has been expelled from a special high school whose teachers proclaim him ungovernable but brilliant. He gives other band members names like Lorna Doom (Bijou Phillips) and Pat Smear (Rick Gonzalez). Gonzales has wonderful cheekbones, but never seems like a punker. Darby tells a French interviewer that he has a five-year plan--indication of his ambition but also a hint that his days are intentionally numbered. He's giving himself that long to make it big; perhaps also that long to live? So it went, anyway. At some point he seems to have said to the band they'd be as big as the Beatles. Ironically, he offed himself the night John Lennon was shot. In a late sequence Darby's cohorts mourn Lennon as they watch reports on TV of his death, while the scene cuts back and forth to their lead singer, alone with a girl groupie pledged to go out with him, deliberately overdosing.

This movie may awaken nostalgia or longing in those who wish life were crazier than it is now. The LA punk scene was a time of true mayhem, which is conveyed here even if the styles and interactions don't always quite fit the period. The group is assembled haphazardly including two girls recruited on the basis that they should have no talent and not be able to play an instrument. The Germs began to play without knowledge of the rudiments of music or their axes and their energy grew out of the outrage of the audience, which itself seemed more in search of violence and anger than art from the stage. This was a time of "joke bands," set up with some gimmick, like a male lead singer wearing a dress, and wailing laments that were not taken seriously by the band. The Germs were more serious, insofar as their leader cut himself and bled in public. The aim was to risk everything, and The Germs got banned from one music venue after another. At one point they stage a comeback by changing their name to "GI," for "Germs Incognito." They have trouble finding a drummer and run through nine. The one who sticks is a guy from Arizona who calls himself Don Bolles (Noah Segan). Segan has a wide-eyed eagerness and energy that, faute de mieux, has to pass for Bolles' personality. A homosexual relationship seems to develop between a certain Robby Henley (Ashton Holmes), who hero-worships Darby, but maybe he just wants to be in the band. Later he replaces Bolles as drummer through a violent misunderstanding. A woman called Amber (Missy Doty) becomes manager, over someone else, by virtue of paying for Darby's and the others' drinks and drugs.

Briefly Penelope Spheeris becomes a character, shown working with a big movie camera on her film, The Decline of Western Civilization--a reminder that this is a scene that has been well documented. This is a fictionalized recreation, with documentary touches. In that respect more than Control it resembles Fulton and Pepe's 2005 Brothers of the Head, which cunningly presents multiple forms of fake footage for an invented Siamese twin punk band. But both of those deserve higher ratings than What We Do Is Secret, though some may value the raw crudity of the concert sequences here, rarely recreated with such ferocity.

The movie is less successful, indeed makes little effort, at showing how The Germs interacted with and influenced, or were influenced by, other punk bands of the time; and in detailing the personalities involved; or specific songs. Datelines indicate times and venues of main Germs concerts, and the making of an album is briefly sketched in. But concerts are represented by one partial, ill-defined song each. Contrast Control where some concerts get extended sequences, and songs come through to even an uninformed viewer. Here, the atmosphere outside of violent clashes between people, boasting by Darby, and the in-your-face nosh pit concert scenes, is not really that punk. The clothes and manners could be any beatnik hippie depressed young folk of the last fifty years, and the effort to define a moment through a key group and voice is a failure.

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