Despite the infamous reputation of the enigmatic Stanley Kubrick, Matthew Modine couldn’t refuse his offer. Faced with the prospects of a career-defining role and mentorship by a cinematic great, the 24-year-old Hollywood actor arrived in London armed with a large-format Roliflex camera–inspired by Kubrick’s early career as a Look photographer–and a notebook to record his own on-set reportage; preparation for his starring role as a Marine Corps journalist.
But expectations eroded as a strange, creeping sickness pervaded the set, a horrific accident sidelined a principal, and an unexpected rivalry arose with a co-star. And as the months dragged on, take-by-take, Modine realized he was falling victim to a manipulative mind-game of the Grand Master himself.
By the time his tour of duty ended a year and a half later, Modine had shot hundreds of photos and written countless entries. Only now–after two decades and the death of Kubrick–can Modine look back on his images and words. The result–a coming-of-age drama set against the backdrop of a seminal Vietnam saga.
A book like no other, Stanley Kubrick would have been the first in line to buy Full Metal Jacket Diary.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
What’s important about Matthew Modine’s unabridged reading of his FULL METAL JACKET DIARY is what was important about the illustrated book, released in 2005, bound in hardcover—very hardcover—in a numbered edition of 20,000. Modine’s book is the best personal accounting to date of working with one of the great masters of cinema. For such a chronicle, genius at writing is a plus but not a necessity. What’s required is an eyewitness author with intimate access, acute observational skills—and good notes. They also need to have known the importance of the position in which they were placed, and to have wanted to pass along the details of what they encountered—and, in some cases, suffered—in the company of a master. As the star of the film, Modine, who played Private Joker, was constantly on the set; he absorbed the lengthy process intensely; he kept a personal diary that is perceptive and honest; he took photographs with a...
This is a "must read" for fans of the classic film, "Full Metal Jacket". Actor Matthew Modine shared his personal insights in a humble and revealing manner, which made me appreciate the final product even more. Great anecdotes about the legendary Stanley Kubrick's process for creating and directing "FMJ", and how Kubrick obtained the best possible performances from his cast and crew. I especially liked the story behind R. Lee Ermey's iconic performance as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, the most authentic portrayal of a Marine Corps Drill Sergeant in any film to date.
By the way, I highly recommend reading "The Shorttimers" by Gustave Hasford, as a prelude to FMJ Diary. This is the novel upon which FMJ was based, and Modine makes frequent reference to its influence on him and Kubrick. It's a classic novel in its own right, and provides important context to the film.
Matthew Modine (who plays Joker in the movie) published the story of first meeting Stanley Kubrick to finishing the movie. The filming was pushed back due to R. Lee Ermey's car crash and Vincent D'Onofrio hurt knee. Plus the drama that ensued between the cast and crew. I would recommended this book for anyone who loved the movie.
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