Full Metal Jacket: Matthew Modine says he ‘wanted to kill’ Vincent D’Onofrio on set of Stanley Kubrick film

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Jacob Stolworthy
·2 min read
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 (Columbia-Cannon-Warner Distributors )
(Columbia-Cannon-Warner Distributors )

Matthew Modine has opened up about his behind-the-scenes rivalry with Vincent D’Onofrio on the set of Full Metal Jacket.

The actor, who played Private Joker in Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 Vietnam war film, locked heads with Private “Pyle” actor D’Onofrio while filming the famous boot-camp scenes.

In the film, Modine’s character is ordered by Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, the senior drill instructor played by R Lee Ermey, to assist “Pyle” with the basic training their platoon is put through.

Kubrick put Modine and D’Onofrio through boot camp for real, which led to hostility between the pair, especially due to the latter’s method acting style. In the film, the platoon is punished for every mistake the inept “Pyle” makes.

Matthew Modine in new film ‘Wrong Turn’Signature Entertainment
Matthew Modine in new film ‘Wrong Turn’Signature Entertainment

“I really wanted to [kill him],” Modine said in a new interview with The Independent. “In all those boot-camp scenes where I’m teaching him how to do up his top button, make his bed, lace his shoelaces… He just got weirder and weirder as he went into the world his character was entering into.”

He said there was some truth behind the scenes in which he hits a pinned down Pyle with a bar of soap wrapped in a knotted towel.

“In the film, I give him a couple of whacks, stop, and then give him a few more,” he said. “I often wonder if that was, ‘Here’s a couple for the movie, and here’s a couple more from me, you f***er.’”

READ MORE: Matthew Modine interview: ‘America has never dealt honestly with what its history is’

He added: “We obviously just used a knotted-up towel, but we were doing it take after take. Poor Vince was covered in bruises.”

Modine revealed that the hostility began after D’Onofrio taunted him for having a laugh with the film’s extras in between takes.

Vincent D’Onofrio’s method acting style caused friction with his co-star Matthew ModineColumbia-Cannon-Warner Distributors
Vincent D’Onofrio’s method acting style caused friction with his co-star Matthew ModineColumbia-Cannon-Warner Distributors

“I asked him: ‘What are you gonna do if I don’t stop joking around?” And Vince goes, ‘Well, I’m gonna kick your ass.’ I’m holding this M14 rifle that weighs about 30 pounds, and I just wanna crack it across his skull. All the extras were like [adopting a British accent] ‘Oooh, oooh, go on, Matty!’ That was the end of our friendship for the rest of the shoot. But it was good for the film.”

Despite their differences while starring in Kubrick’s film, the pair are close friends to this day.

Modine, who will next be seen in horror reboot Wrong Turn, also revealed which famous Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks movie roles he turned down in the 1980s. Read the full interview here.

Watch: Full Metal Jacket