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Matthew Modine discusses the parallels between Christopher Nolan and Stanley Kubrick

These days, many people know Matthew Modine for his role as the villainous Dr. Martin Brenner in the hit Netflix show Stranger Things, and although his role in the show will certainly pass into the realm of the iconic, in reality, it will just be another one of the numerous memorable performances that the actor has delivered throughout his career. 

Modine has enjoyed a stellar career to date, one that has seen him play J.T. ‘Joker’ Davis in Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 war drama Full Metal Jacket and as Peter Foley in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, alongside many others.

Working with both Stanley Kubrick and Christopher Nolan is a remarkable feat, regardless of the critiques you may throw at the work of the latter auteur, as in the grand scheme of cinematic history, they remain two of the most prominent modern filmmakers. 

Concerning Stanley Kubrick, the effect he had on the development of cinema is so extensive that it becomes almost impossible to put into words. However, when you note some of the most significant films he created, such as Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, and Barry Lyndon, you get a sense of just how crucial his work is. 

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Although there are many differences between the work of Kubrick and Nolan, during a 2020 interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Modine revealed that there are also a number of similarities as well. According to Modine, the approaches of both directors place intimacy at the forefront, despite working on expansive projects. 

“Sometimes on Full Metal Jacket, there weren’t more than 10 or 15 people on the set,” he explained. “And as big as The Dark Knight Rises was, with all of the people that were working on it and the tremendous size of the cast and crew, it got smaller and smaller and smaller as you got closer and closer to the set where you were going to be filming. So there’s a similarity between Stanley and Chris.”

Kubrick and Nolan also share a similarity in the way that they are both unwavering perfectionists, but this wasn’t a bad thing for Modine. He believes that this cultivated a close bond between the crew and cast, helping the final product have a better quality than it would have done in another format. 

He said: “As you got to the epicentre of where the action was taking place, it was incredibly calm, quiet, focused and intimate. All of the noise and all of those other things were kept far, far away from the set, and there wasn’t any reason to have a chair or a video village because for what purpose? Everybody could see what was going on. It was a quiet environment where we were making the film.”

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