Celebrate Full Metal Jacket's 25th anniversary with these fun facts
It was twenty-five years ago that Stanley Kubrick brought us one of the ultimate depictions of war. FULL METAL JACKET is one of those films that everyone should watch at least once. Many people recall the opening act of the film featuring R. Lee Ermey and little else (well, maybe the "me love you long time" scene). There is so much more to the film than just that classic opening that I urge everyone to go watch the film again.
Moviefone has compiled a cool list of 25 little known facts about the movie. Some I knew and others caught me completely by surprise. Whether you are a seasoned Kubrick fan or a newbie looking for a movie to watch, check our FULL METAL JACKET.
Here are the Top 10 Facts from the awesome folks over at Moviefone. Click on this link for the rest.
1. Kubrick developed the idea to do a Vietnam War movie out of his desire to collaborate with war correspondent Michael Herr, author of the celebrated Vietnam War memoir "Dispatches." At first, Kubrick wanted to make a movie about the Holocaust, but the pair soon settled on a novel about Vietnam that they both admired, Gustav Hasford's bestseller "The Short-Timers."
2. Like his protagonist, Private Joker, Hasford was a Marine who had also served as a combat correspondent during the war. Kubrick and Herr eventually enlisted him as a co-scripter of the screenplay. The collaboration was carried out over the phone; Hasford didn't even meet Kubrick in person until an ill-fated dinner party well into the writing process.
3. Kubrick changed the title to "Full Metal Jacket," inspired by the name of a kind of bullet commonly used by Marines in Vietnam.
4. Initially, Kubrick envisioned Anthony Michael Hall as Joker. According to Hall, negotiations between the director and the "Breakfast Club" Brat Packer went on for eight months before ultimately falling through. Instead, "Vision Quest" star Matthew Modine landed the role.
5. R. Lee Ermey had been a real-life Parris Island Marine drill sergeant during the war. He'd acted in other Vietnam films, including "The Boys in Company C" (where he played his first drill sergeant role) and "Apocalypse Now." Kubrick had hired him as a technical adviser, but Ermey wanted to play Hartman, the Parris Island drill sergeant who dominates the first half of the movie. So he made an audition reel in which he generated a sponataneous stream of foul-mouthed insults directed at a group of extras -- all while having oranges and tennis balls thrown at him -- that ran for 15 minutes. That got him the job.
6. Kubrick was notorious for his meticulous oversight of every last detail of his productions, but for the sake of authenticity, he allowed Ermey to write his own lines. Ermey ended up generating 150 pages of insults, many of which found their way into the movie. About half his dialogue in the finished film is self-penned.
7. What's the R. in R. Lee Ermey stand for? Ronald.
8. Tim Colceri had been Kubrick's choice to play Hartman before Ermey seized the role from him. But Colceri got a nice consolation prize: a role as the helicopter door gunner and an unforgettable scene where he talks remorselessly about how many women and children he's killed. His dialogue comes straight from Herr's "Dispatches."
9. A New York theater actor named Vincent D'Onofrio landed his first major film role in "Full Metal Jacket." To play the doughy Private Gomer Pyle, he packed 70 pounds onto his muscular frame, ballooning up to 280 pounds. That Method-acting stunt is believed to be the record-holder, exceeding the 60 pounds Robert De Niro gained to play Jake LaMotta in "Raging Bull." The extra weight caused torn ligaments in D'Onofrio's legs that had to be surgically repaired. After filming, it took nine months for him to return to his usual 210-pound physique.
10. Bruce Willis was offered a role in the film, but he had to turn it down, as the production would have cut into his contractual commitment to his TV series, "Moonlighting."