Matthew Modine – From Joker to Jesus – Part 1 0f 3
Several weeks ago I received an e-mail from a friend and former co-worker at KCRA asking if I could help out a filmmaker friend of hers. Her friend had a short film and wanted to know more about some of the northern California film festivals. Of course, I was glad to share my knowledge and experiences. Then I was told that her filmmaker friend was Matthew Modine.
Cutting to the chase, I am a total Stanley Kubrick fan. And to learn that I was being asked to share some film festival knowledge with a lead actor who spent two years working side-by-side with The Man on Full Metal Jacket was a huge thrill. In fact, only two weeks before we had watched Full Metal Jacket with Bonnie’s daughter Jenna, who had never seen it before. Needless to say, she loved it.
I was not aware that he was also a filmmaker, though I knew very well that he was a serious photographer. In 2005, he published Full Metal Jacket Diary, a book of photographs that he took on the set, which also included his journal, and was stunningly packaged in a metal hardcover jacket. On hearing about this in 2005, I was sure to buy a pre-order copy of the book so that UPS would deliver to my front door on the day of publication. What I wasn’t aware of, until I started e-mailing with Matthew, was that the book was a limited edition of only 20,000 copies and that he had no intention of ever doing another printing. I own #10,267 and it is a cherished book on my shelf alongside The Stanley Kubrick Archives.
Matthew was in Sacramento for a special screening of his film Jesus Was A Commie at the Crest Theatre. The film was given this intentionally controversial title to generate attention, which it certainly has. However, it’s message is far from controversial. It is wholly personal, humanist, and espouses the most fundamental teachings of Jesus.
[Author’s Note: I write this and must declare that I am not affiliated with any religious or spiritual group and am not in any way religious myself. But the purest forms of goodness and decency that Matthew Modine explores and expresses in his film are more universal and nondenominational. And his views provided nothing that I could see anyone wanting to disagree with.]
Jesus Was A Commie has been playing in film festivals and at special screenings across the country. It was playing here in Sacramento at the invitation of local people associated with Health Corps, Dr. Oz’s non-profit to promote healthier living through diet, exercise and being open to ideas.
I had no sooner started to e-mail with Matthew and his producer Adam Rackoff, that I learned that he was coming to Sacramento. I was immediately determined to do a story about him and his film. Then, of all things, I found out that he was going to be the guest on the KCRA morning news show. I wasn’t going to have to go to Matthew Modine–Matthew Modine was coming to me!
He was scheduled to appear on the news at 8:40 AM to be interviewed by KCRA anchor Deirdre Fitzpatrick. I was sure to arrive early so that I could get some footage of the interview (which, in the end–of course–I didn’t wind up using) and an interview with Matthew (which I did use).
My profile story on Matthew and Jesus Was A Commie will be appearing on KCRA 3’s Common Ground this Saturday, December 17, at 6:30 PM.
That story and more will be appearing on this website in coming days.
Matthew also told me, on-camera, a little bit about being a DSLR filmmaker on the streets of New York with his own Canon 5D and about how working with Stanley Kubrick influenced him. I’ll post this in coming days as well.