A prehistoric, early man, guttural grunt

Matthew Modine during production of Full Metal Jacket.
Photo courtesy of Matthew Modine.

In 1985, 25-year-old Hollywood actor Matthew Modine travelled to the UK to begin a job like no other: a year-long shoot on Full Metal Jacket, a Vietnam War movie from master filmmaker Stanley Kubrick in which Modine was to play the lead, Private J. T. “Joker” Davis. Throughout production, Modine took photographs with a Rolleiflex camera and kept a daily diary, of which this is a single entry. Following a falling out over the film’s ending that Modine explains here, it seemed Kubrick had given him a new nickname.

The Diary Entry

January 10, 1986

Stanley keeps calling me a “cunt.” This is a charming English expression that he’s adopted. A prehistoric, early man, guttural grunt. The sound a Cro-Magnon would make before he took a big bone and beat your head in. I think he’s calling me a cunt because I broke “the rule.” Because I insulted him. Worse, I did it in his Winnebago.

Further Reading

In 2005, Modine’s diary entries were reprinted in his book, Full Metal Jacket Diary, alongside many of the photographs he took during filming. That book was a limited edition, so the only way to get your hands on a physical copy right now is to find it secondhand. However, there are other options: there is the Full Metal Jacket Diary iPad app, and the audiobook narrated by Modine himself. Both are great and can be found here.

Reprinted with the kind permission of Matthew Modine and Adam Rackoff. FULL METAL JACKET DIARY (ISBN 1590710479), page 175, Rugged Land, September 2005.

www.fullmetaljacketdiary.com | Twitter: @FMJDiary

One response to “A prehistoric, early man, guttural grunt”

  1. Elizabeth O’Hare Avatar
    Elizabeth O’Hare

    These are even better than letters!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *