Film & TV

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

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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."

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."

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Hans Morgenstern has contributed to Miami New Times for too many decades, but he's grown to love Miami's arts and culture scene because of it. He is the chair of the Florida Film Critics Circle, and most of his film criticism can be found on Independent Ethos (indieethos.com) if not in New Times.