Full Metal Jacket's Matthew Modine on Working With Kubrick and Movie Conspiracy Theories

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O Cinema's mini-Kubrick Film Festival, "Stanley Kubrick: The Man & His Movies," has made a last-minute addition to its participants. Matthew Modine, the lead actor in the iconic director's 1987 Vietnam film Full Metal Jacket, and more recently seen in The Dark Knight Rises, will appear via Skype for a Q&A following the movie.

Though he is currently immersed in filming a movie at an undisclosed location, he had no problem putting aside some time to discuss one of the most important roles of his career after its rare theatrical revival tomorrow night at O Cinema's Wynwood location.

"Give, give, give. And when there is nothing left to give, give some more," the 54-year-old actor writes via email. "This was the advice of my acting teacher, Stella Adler. Her students learned about how life can beat you down and crush the soul. But art was the gift that reminds us that we have one."

See also:
- Room 237 's Best Theories, and a Very Kubrick Week at O Cinema

Only last year, Modine had a chance to look back at his two years making the film with Kubrick, when he released an app version of his comprehensive behind-the-scenes book, Full Metal Jacket Diary. "I don't feel that close to the 25-year-old young man that kept the diary," he states. "So, it was very subjective and funny to read about 'his' struggles and fears. What is revealed during the journey is that the ultimate discovery for an artist is the discovery of 'self.' The revelation and realization of your own uniqueness is what life is all about. The surprise is that Kubrick was -- at his age -- still discovering who he was. So he and I were on parallel journeys."

Modine in Full Metal Jacket.
But there was no doubt Kubrick was in charge on set, as he was well-known as a calculating director whose only equal was probably Orson Welles (and even then, Kubrick may have left behind the more impressive filmography had he not died of heart failure in 1999). Despite pervasive chatter that Kubrick had an eccentric personality (he had a fear of flying and did not like riding in fast cars, go some of the misconceptions), his charisma on set was magnetic for many actors who worked with him.

"Stanley was incredibly charismatic," says Modine. "He was one of those very rare people you meet that is both incredibly bright and an artist that is remarkably gifted. Creative genius is one of the most powerful gifts a human can possess. Da Vinci, Picasso, Beethoven, Brando, The Beatles -- history is peppered with creative geniuses, endlessly fascinating characters that change our perceptions and enlighten our existence."

"I cannot compare my experience with Stanley with any other director," continues Modine. "Not because I have not worked with equally wonderful, smart, powerful, creative directors, not at all. I cannot compare Stanley with others because of the amount of time we spent together making the film: Nearly two years. Most films are completed within two or three months. The time spent with Stanley is incomparable to the experiences I have had with other filmmakers, not to mention the mentorship and education about screenwriting, cameras, and most importantly, life lessons I garnered from the experience."

Location Info


O Cinema Wynwood

90 NW 29th St., Miami, FL

Category: Film

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Thanks for the response, guys. It seems no one here likes FMJ as much as I do. I think trying to accept a film as some sort of representation of reality is an exercise in futility. Kubrick was trying to do something beyond a straight representation of the Vietnam wall. Call it a Jungian thing and the duality of man. It's as brilliant as anything in this man's filmography and deserves a spot at the Kubrick retrospective. I hope some of you made it out to the screening. Modine's Q&A is bound to be insightful.

Erin Barber
Erin Barber

At least you didn't try to claim that sh*t movie, Scarface w/Pacino as the best.

Xaviant Haze
Xaviant Haze

yeah, not even close to being best movie ever lol..the first half os iconic the second half is wack

Tony Castaneira
Tony Castaneira

It was Kubrick's insistence on filming in the UK that prevents FMJ from being in the pantheon of the great movies. It looked like a movie set and not Vietnam.

Richard Melton
Richard Melton

The first half is. The second half is good but not great. It's not even Kubrick's best film though.

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