Matthew Modine – “You don’t need all that stuff” – Part 3 of 3

Published On December 19, 2011 | By Mike Carroll | Filmmakers, Matthew Modine, Stanley Kubrick

Matthew Modine relaxing on the set of “Full Metal Jacket,” from his book “Full Metal Jacket Diary.”

Here is a portion of my interview with Matthew Modine on 12-9-2011 where he discusses shooting his new short film Jesus Was A Commie on the streets of New York City with just a Canon 5D DSLR and a few friends. As well as the influence that the legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick had on him about how you don’t need a lot of gear to make a movie, just a good idea.

I spoke about Full Metal Jacket Diary.

Matthew Modine’s book of photographs he took on the set of Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, as well as the journal he kept during the nearly two years that it took to make the film.

I met Matthew when I got to KCRA at 8:20AM, in advance of his 8:40AM interview with KCRA anchor Deirdre Fitzpatrick (seen in the earlier blog). I just popped my head into the green room to say hi to Matthew and his local publicist Renee and Shawn with Health Corps, who was associated with the screening of Matthew’s film Jesus Was A Commie at The Crest Theatre the following evening. Matthew Modine was very relaxed, hanging out, easily approachable, and comes across as an American everyman — something like a contemporary reincarnation on James Stewart or the Gary Cooper from the Frank Capra film, Mr. Deeds Goes To Town.

“I just wanted to say hi. I don’t want to bother you before you go on to do your interview. I’ll just go and grab my gear now.”*

[*In order to shoot a taped interview with Matthew after his live interview.]

To which Matthew Modine said, “Oh, no, no, that’s fine. Come on in.”

My copy of Matthew Modine’s “Full Metal Jacket Diary.” Note: Even the book has a full metal jacket cover.

He’d already consented in an e-mail to me that he would be happy to sign my copy of his book Full Metal Jacket Diary, which I had with me in my back pack. There were a hundred and one questions about making the film and working with Stanley Kubrick, whom I am certain will go down in cinema history as the greatest and most influential filmmaker of the 20th century. Yet, I also knew that thousands of other people had already asked him everything I wanted to ask him a hundred times over, so I didn’t say anything. I figured that I had Matthew’s book and that everything that I was curious about was answered in that.

Stanley Kubrick, photographed by Matthew Modine, from the pages of his book “Full Metal Jacket Diary.”

Then he said, without any prompting from me, “You know, I’ve probably been asked 10,000 times over the years, what was it like to work with Stanley Kubrick? And I’ve got to tell you, it was like no other experience in my life. I almost was a basket case for two years after. It really left me exhausted.”

“I get the impression,” I then said, “that for the people who got the chance to work with him, it was like their lives before Stanley Kubrick and their lives lives after Stanley Kubrick, because they were never the same after that.”

“Oh yeah. Entirely.”

Then Matthew went into relating a story of how Kubrick was searching for a more compelling way to end the film, which is thoroughly related in his wonderful book, Full Metal Jacket Diary. I listened to Matthew, already knowing much of the story from his book. Yet he was now, without censors, able to tell the full unvarnished language that both he and Stanley Kubrick used with each other–language which was not in his book and that he said, “You can’t use in this country.”

It was one of those great moments in your life when someone’s telling a story and as they’re telling it, you’re thinking to yourself, “If only I could be recording this right now!”

In addition to Matthew’s film Jesus Was A Commie that is circulating around the country, he is also working with Adam Rackoff, who was producer on that film, on a revolutionary new project — adapting and converting Matthew’s Full Metal Jacket Diary into an iPad app.

The original book, published in 2005 in a limited edition of only 20,000 copies, was created with the intention that there would be no further editions printed after that–no softcover editions, no smaller size printings, nothing more. It was truly a collector’s art book. But that was before the advent of the iPad.

Adam and Matthew are currently collaborating on an total reinvention of the Full Metal Jacket Diary into something that has never before been seen in publishing–and totally new experience. Matthew is reading his journal as an audio book and Adam is working with ultra high-resolution scans of Matthew’s original 2 1/4 x 2 1/4″ negatives to create something closer to a cinematic experience of the making of the cinema classic Full Metal Jacket.

After Matthew had graciously signed my copy of the Diary, he flipped through a few pages to a photograph of Stanley Kubrick at his Arriflex camera. “When we did the book I was blown away at how good it looked,”Matthew told me. “But for the iPad app, Adam is having my original negatives re-scanned–and it’s costing $50 per negative–but the clarity is so amazing. You will now be able to blow up each of this picture and be able to read what Stanley Kubrick had written on the side of his camera.”

“When I made the book,” he said, speaking of the printed version of Full Metal Jacket Diary, “I wanted to make something that Stanley would be proud of.”

Based on the extraordinary wealth of Kubrick information in Matthew’s first book, and all the care and attention — not to mention, additional material that no one has ever seen before — I think it’s fair to say that as much as Stanley Kubrick protected his privacy, he was uncontrollably drawn to the next new thing in technology, and that he can feel very proud and very well-served by the new, breakthrough ull Metal Jacket Diary iPad app that Adam and Mattew are creating.

Creating the Full Metal Jacket Diary iPad app–from scratch, no less–is no small effort. To help fund the production process, Matthew is selling high-resolution museum-quality prints of some of his photographs from the set of the film. You can purchase one of these rare collector’s prints at the Full Metal Jacket Diary iPad app site, which are limited-edition prints numbered and signed by Matthew Modine and be a contributing part of this project by following the link.

I made a small contribution to the “Full Metal Jacket Diary” iPad app project by purchasing this signed & numbered 5″x5″ print.


Finally–Shameless Self Promotion:

After posting my first blog on Friday morning, I received this e-mail from Matthew Modine:

“this is awesome. we have tweeted the heck out of it.
hopefully your site will get some traffic from the tweets!”

So I went to and found this.

Thank you, Matthew, for promoting this site!

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About The Author

Mike Carroll joined the digital revolution in 1999 with a Sony TRV900 camcorder and Final Cut Pro, when it was only Final Cut Pro and not version 2, 4 or a Suite.

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