Matthew Modine on Acting: “This is not a job, it’s a passion”

Matthew Modine has worked with top-tier directors Stanley Kubrick, Jonathan Demme, Oliver Stone, and Robert Altman, so when he praises Christopher Nolan (he appears in Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises) on his filmmaking in a new interview, it’s coming from an actor who knows what it takes to be one of all-time great directors.

Of Nolan he says, “I believe that Christopher Nolan and his producing partner/wife cast everybody, from the catering to the teamsters to the camera crew and the actors.  They want a crew of people working on the film that want to be there. This is not a job, it’s a passion. It is the first film that I’ve worked on in so many years where everybody is excited to come to work and be at work, to create something that is extraordinary and unusual.”

Modine explains that he sees filmmaking as an opportunity to create something that can impact the world, hence why he seeks roles in films of such high-caliber directors.  He explains, “There’s a quote from Kahlil Gibran in the book ‘The Prophet’: ‘You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts, and I think that is a big motivator for me, as I am not at peace with the injustices that I see in the world, the global environmental problems we face. My mother and father taught me that we should always try to do the best that we can to leave the world a better place than when we inherited it. And there’s a lot to be done.”

He adds, “One of the frustrations I face, as an actor today, is finding material that reflects that.  I imagined, when I reached this stage of my career, that I would be making films that Gary Cooper, Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda made, stories about society and the struggle of humanity and goodness over evil. But they are not making those movies. So, as an actor, one of the things that I am trying to do is to find those directors that are passionate about making those kinds of films with that kind of material.”

Curiously, despite Modine’s passion on making movies with a message, his obsession with acting began with a movie that wasn’t particularly world-changing.  He confesses with a laugh, “It might sound crazy, but it was Sean Connery in a not-very-well-known movie called Darby O’Gill and the Little People. He was a working-class person. He punched people, but he also sang songs. Then I saw Sean Connery as James Bond, and I was like ‘Oh my God, it’s the same guy!’  As a young person it was very attractive to fantasize about being the person who takes care of the bad guys and gets the girl.”

via Reading Eagle

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