EXCLUSIVE: Matthew Modine Discusses THE DARK KNIGHT RISES & JESUS WAS A COMMIE

Veteran actor Matthew Modine (Full Metal Jacket) talks to us about Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, and his highly acclaimed short film Jesus Was A Commie.

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By nailbiter111 - 3/29/2012


Eric Roberts recently made this comment:
"What do you get out of a Batman movie? You get entertainment, that's true. But what do you get to take home with you in your heart or your mind? It's questionable for me. When a movie costs that much, so many movies don't get made that can educate, enlighten, move, comfort. Batman didn't do any of those things that I named, for me, anyway, even though I enjoyed watching it."


Would you say that Eric's comments make an apt indictment of the approach movie studios make toward selecting the promotions of films?
This of course is his opinion. Eric is a very interesting actor. Always has been. Has every movie he’s made educated, enlightened, moved, and or comforted people? I don’t know, I haven’t seen all of his films.


Is it fair to say that there can still be a level of artistry within big budget film such as The Dark Knight Rises?
Of course there is. Throughout Hollywood's history they have used “Big Budget” as a marketing tool. I’m sure it began in the circus. The “biggest tent” the “biggest elephant.” People like spectacle. Spectacle is its own artistry. Not a lot of people master it. Picasso mastered it. Barnum and Bailey mastered it.


Have you ever auditioned or been up for a part in a comic book movie prior to The Dark Knight Rises?
I met with the director, Louis Leterrier when he was casting THE HULK. It was a good script and I think its an interesting character study.


Some leaked set photos show you in possession of a pair of pink panties. Is it fair to say these are props, or is this something aside from the film?
Yes, It’s fair to say the pretty pink panties are props. They are interesting references, for me, to a line in Full Metal Jacket and a scene from Vision Quest.


In past interviews, you've gone so far as to call Christopher Nolan a "genius." In your mind, what qualities does he possess that separates him from other directors?
This may not mean anything to anyone reading this: Christopher doesn’t have chairs on the set. No director's chair. He also doesn’t have a “video village” meaning an area for everyone to sit (because there are no chairs) and watch the playback of scenes. Nolan stands beside the camera and listens and watches and when necessary give very specific directions. He also hires terrific artists to work beside him. He casts his crew with the same care he does his actors.


You've also compared Nolan to Kubrick. You said they both had a penchant for asking their actors the "right question." What is an example of the "right" type of question that Nolan asked of you?
Well, at this time, that would be telling too much.


While filming The Dark Knight Rises you were involved in scenes that included a large number of extras. As a professional does this type of scene present you with any type of security or safety concerns?
Contrary to what some imagine, film sets are very dangerous places. It’s wonderful when you work on a film of this scale and see so much care taken by the assistants to the director and the producers to insure that there are no accidents. With so many moving parts it is almost inevitable that there be some accident, but we all work to prevent them.


In preparing for the role, did you read any Batman comic books?
I am a fan of Batman. I have been since a boy. I like that he is a man. No magic powers, super powers, unearthly powers. Just a broken man hiding his fears behind a mask. And then, because he is insanely rich, he has all those awesome toys!


If you were to compare your role in The Dark Knight Rises to a character you previously portrayed on film, which one would it be?
Nope. This is totally new to me.


This is your first film acting with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. What is your professional opinion of his performance? Would you say he had a particularly difficult character to play?
First let me say that I really find Joseph to be a real talent. He has demonstrated his ability and craftsmanship for two decades and he’s still a young man. He is a professional and that kind of guy never lets you see him sweat. He shows up loaded for bear.

....................................................

Click the image below to watch the film. Password - jwac2012


What were some of the challenges that you encountered while making "Jesus Was A Commie?"
Adapting my article from the Finch Quarterly into a screenplay. Once I got the words and ideas right I was comfortable with the visual story telling. I had to get the words right because you are talking about such sensitive subjects and people are so frightful of some words and ideas. Putting the two words, Jesus and Communist in the same sentence was sure to make people panic.


Do you think your film would have gained as much awareness if it didn't have such an incendiary title?
No.


Does it bother you that some people have formed an opinion about the film based on the title alone?
Yes. But it doesn’t surprise me. I knew this would happen. I expected it. So if you know and expect it, its not really a surprise.


For me, the highlight of the film was when you used the imagery of the vast universe to drill home the point that we should be working together. What is your favorite moment in the film?
I like that moment a lot too. I was a boy when I saw the live shots of the earth from the moon. For some of us, it was very profound. For others it was kind of like “We did it!” and then their next sentence was “What’s for dinner? Pass the peas.” For me, after seeing earth from the moon, life would never be the same. I felt sad because I witnessed how much effort and energy it took to get to the moon. The next closet planet, Mars, was so far away and didn’t appear to offer any hope for life or reasonable possibility of traveling to. So that left our gorgeous blue ball all alone in an enormous field of empty space. All our problems were ours, man made, and there wasn’t a tooth fairy of a magical person up in the sky that was going to solve the problems we create and generate. It was up to each of us to strive to real humanity and peaceful solution to these problems we made and make.


What is your end goal for this film?
For every filmmaker the answer is the same. To reach an audience. To create something relevant. To have the people leave the theatre asking more questions about themselves than when the entered the theatre.


What inspired you to make the film?
I’m tired of wars. I’m tired of people killing and using their beliefs or faiths as a justification for killing. If this is all faith and governments can offer, more of the same, solving problems by murdering and enslaving the human spirit, then I want a revolution. It’s time to turn the tables over and look for a new way forward that doesn’t subjugate the mind and create impoverished unfair societies.


Communism as a word usually has a negative connotation. Were you attempting to strip the negative stigma attached to this word?
Well, not strip it, but expose it to an honest light. Communism is an idea. A utopian ideal. It doesn’t work and I’ll let your readers decide why. I am neither pro or anti communist. I am neither pro or anti capitalism. What I am is pro-integrity. Integrity is what is missing from the political and religious equation today.


Jesus Was a Commie Facebook
Jesus Was a Commie Twitter


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You took a role in Transporter 2 that could've been the usual boring, neglectful, workaholic dad, and infused it with a level of emotional sincerity that is usually reserved for character-driven films. How is it that you brought so much depth to the character? Is it hard not to fall into a stereotype, with a role like that?
Because it was written as a stereotype doesn’t mean you have to play it as such. Which can be difficult in a film where the audience expects cliche and stereotype.


In the movie Vision Quest, there is a fantastic scene in which your character tries to prove himself to his wrestling coach. He does this by pulling himself up a wall, peg by peg, until he finally reaches the top. Did you yourself perform this feat, or was this a trick of the camera?
Yes. The camera doesn’t lie. In this case anyway. I trained so hard and worked so long to master that peg board, which was actually two pegboards stacked one on top another. When the time came for me to climb it, I was so pumped and full of adrenaline, that I actually climbed it and it looked too easy. The director, Harold Becker, realized that he’d have to beat me down and so he kept filming, take after take, until I reached a point of absolute exhaustion.




You've recently written that Kubrick was much more improvisational than most people realize. Is there a scene from Full Metal Jacket that stands out as a testament to this fact?
I kept a diary while making the film which was published as a limited edition book. Because there were only 20,000 copies of the hand made, metal cover book, I was asked if I would make it into a app. I agreed under the conditions that this Full Metal Jacket Diary App be something that Stanley Kubrick would be proud of. The app is going to be amazing. You can learn more about the app, and even purchase prints from the book at www.fullmetaljacketdiary.com.




The Dark Knight Rises hits theaters July 20th 2012 and stars Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon, Tom Hardy as Bane, Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake and Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate.

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BillyBatson1000 - 3/29/2012, 10:34 AM
@Nomis - couldn't agree more. And a solid actor - good values - intelligent - rare these days - bet he gives a great performance in DKR.
Sanderman - 3/29/2012, 10:39 AM
Great read. Not sure if i've ever seen this guy in anything else but i'm sure he'll do great
Supes17 - 3/29/2012, 10:47 AM
@Sanderman: He was in Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket"
Sanderman - 3/29/2012, 10:50 AM
@supes17 never heard of it. any good?
ThaMessenger07 - 3/29/2012, 10:58 AM
Sanderman's comment is the funniest....
Greengo - 3/29/2012, 10:58 AM
I wonder if the sequel to "Jesus Was A Commie" will be
"Mohammad Was A Fascist"
ultimatefan1974 - 3/29/2012, 11:03 AM
That´s the difference between pretension and enlightenment. Roberts´ comment was pretentious. Modine´s one was enlightened.
JorL5150 - 3/29/2012, 11:05 AM
jesus, to whatever extant he existed, was not a commie.

just sayin'.

Greengo - 3/29/2012, 11:06 AM
Maybe "Buddha Was The 99%"
Greengo - 3/29/2012, 11:08 AM
"Zeus Was Cantankerous"
ThaMessenger07 - 3/29/2012, 11:12 AM
lol Greengo

"Lucifer Was Misunderstood"
MassExecutions - 3/29/2012, 11:22 AM
Greengo gets and LOL.
ralfinader - 3/29/2012, 11:33 AM
I thought Jesus was a Mexican...shows what I know.
grim22 - 3/29/2012, 12:12 PM
"This is your first film acting with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. What is your professional opinion of his performance? Would you say he had a particularly difficult character to play?" - Nice indirect way of asking "Who is he playing?"
MiracleMe - 3/29/2012, 12:25 PM
Nice, Greengo.

How about 'Vishnu was a carnivore'.
nailbiter111 - 3/29/2012, 12:55 PM
thanks everyone who complimented me on the interview. It was a thrill, I have been a fan of Matthew Modine for a long time. He was incredibly nice during the whole process.
Alexandre - 3/29/2012, 1:07 PM
jesus was a commie

that whole share the bread and wine is pure commie.
thewonderer - 3/29/2012, 1:23 PM
Nolan sounds very dedicated and hard working. All people should at least respect that
ThaMessenger07 - 3/29/2012, 1:31 PM
knossis.....I want to hug you....totally heterosexually!
ThaMessenger07 - 3/29/2012, 1:31 PM
And Nail, really good interview! You've been laying out some awesome shit recently!
blvdnoise - 3/29/2012, 1:48 PM
Good shit! Nice job Nail..
MassExecutions - 3/29/2012, 2:02 PM
You guys crack me up! Early christian societies SHARED everything because they wanted to. That's not communism, not in any governmental sense. Governmental communism has a strong central government that owns all property. you can't SHARE anything in communism because you don't OWN anything. The state does.

Christianity requires its followers to share THEIR wealth. It never talks about putting a government in place that redistributes EVERYONE'S wealth by force.
antonio - 3/29/2012, 2:12 PM
Great interview! Private Joker ftw!!
ThaMessenger07 - 3/29/2012, 2:17 PM
Mass Knossis Refers to a Socialist system which is quite Different then Communism.

"Socialism is an economic system characterised by social ownership and control of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy,and a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises, common ownership, direct public ownership or autonomous state enterprises."

"Communism is a revolutionary socialist movement to create a classless, moneyless, and stateless social order structured upon common ownership of the means of production, as well as a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of this social order."
MassExecutions - 3/29/2012, 2:26 PM
ThaMessenger07, yes, there are important distinctions, but I'd say the "control of the means of production" and its centralized management ("cooperative" or not) that part is the common factor that creates a lot of commonality between communism and most forms of socialism, and also the pitfalls of these systems.
RidiculousFanBoyDemands - 3/29/2012, 2:42 PM
Really well done Nailbiter.
Alexandre - 3/29/2012, 7:17 PM
true that elguason on that second pic

@knossis

i completely agree with you
Alexandre - 3/29/2012, 7:40 PM
the thing with communism, its good in theory but its not particle in actual use. it doesn't work but that doesn't mean its bad. example, peace is a good thing and as well doesn't work.

communism fails to do two things in particular, one, motivate and two, it fails to recognize human intentions.

its fails to recognize our greed. it expects us all to just ask for what we need and not for what we want.

there's nothing wrong about being greedy, you can work harder than others to achieve more. u can want just one car or ten but in a communist country, they expect you to just have what you need.

it expects everyone to be of good nature and that just doesn't work. we humans are meant to be bad and good, there has to be a balance there cant be just one.

and so, since it expects everyone to be good, what happens? you leave yourself vulnerable. and since its human nature to be bad as well, the bad takes advantage of the good. thats why a lot of these communist countries are easily corrupted.

but what we have to really understand is, that the real pure communism that Karl Marx wrote, as of yet has never really been put into practice.

Russia was more fascist than anything
china is capitalism. it so right to the extreme than left
and being cuban myself i can say its the same with cuba.
cuba has hints of communism but overall its a fascism country in the closet. at least it used to be, now cuba really all is just a country run by the people rather than the government. its more of a "slum dog" country more than anything else. the ppl are just trying to get by and have no intentions of forming something new
Alexandre - 3/29/2012, 8:19 PM
and as for our boy jesus, if he even did existed

i think he was a pure revolutionary and he did use force on occasions.
he wasnt down with the romans occupying his country and he thought that the jewish faith was becoming to corrupt.

remember, he never said that he came to change things, he simply said he came to fix what was broken. he never intended to form a new religion, he wanted to return to the old ways of keeping the jewish faith more holy.

he saw all the corruptions that was going on and he was just not down with it. thats why he threw that bitchy fit when he was in the temple. Was there really no retaliation? Did everyone simply stand back and allow an unarmed group to destroy their businesses without so much as blinking an eye? It doesn't sound plausible.

he was a pure hippy commie. he said he wanted to turn daughters against their mothers and sons against their fathers. "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:26)

Other disciples were known to carry knives and swords with with them. one of his disciples, Simon the Zealot. the Zealots were one of four Jewish sects. They rebelled in the Great Jewish Revolt of 66, and committed acts of terrorism against both the occupying Romans and other Jews.

They believed that Israel belonged only to a Jewish king, descended from David. Zealots became men, according to their beliefs, at the age of 30. That is when they become warriors. Is it simply a coincidence that Jesus, who had disappeared after his birth, reappears at the age of 30 and has a disciple named simon the zealot.
nailbiter111 - 3/29/2012, 10:08 PM
Remember, for a limited time you can watch Matthew's film "Jesus Was A Commie" by visiting http://jesuswasacommiefilm.com and entering the password, jwac2012.
Alexandre - 3/29/2012, 10:51 PM
@suspensesmith

i dont like rude people regardless of their race or religion

im more along the lines of what Carl Sagan said, "my country, Earth, my religion, science"

the jesus topic to began with, no one even knows if he existed so to know exactly who he was and what he said is kind of pointless, because we're just adding a background to something thats we dont know is there

so jesus himslef is a contradict. this topic is a contradict. he says one thing then says another. hes has more than just one attitude. i think he was maybe bipolar.

i think in the end its really more of a interpret thing then anything else. just hope that people interpret it in a good way and not in the bad way
Alexandre - 3/29/2012, 11:33 PM
yeah i get you.

thats why im not atheist. im agnostic and personally i really just dont care. love learning about it though, but im not searching for myself nor answers for anything.
im contempt with what i know and prefer to keep the mysteries of the world for entertainment use.

searching for answers rarely gets you anywhere. thats the thing with science that i like though. it doesnt necessarily answer questions like religion does it just asks the questions and presents a new route to take rather than staying on the same road. thats why all science is a theory and it recognizes that.

i think that people cant say that he exists and at the same time they cant say that he doesnt exist. being agnostic seems more suitable and fair.

but they shouldnt live their lives in a certain way just to be rewarded at the end. im more concern about living this one then the one that expects me.

and to leave off with a saying my mom says about death and the after world, "it mustn't be so bad since to one has returned"
MassExecutions - 3/30/2012, 7:16 AM
@knossis - Yes, everything ultimately belongs to God in Christian Theology, but got is perfect and therefore a perfect administrator. Christianity recognizes no human or group of humans can be perfect administrators. Christians had an organization, but not a government in the sense of a body that carries the force of law. That's the thing. You went out and worked, and then you got paid, and then they passed the plate, and you gave or you didn't. The choice was yours. In communism, you never get the money that reflects the labor you did in the first place. You get what the state allots you, regardless. Furthermore, if you did get the money, and they pass the plate, you put it all in or you go to jail. The early Christians never had that "or you go to jail" part. Christianity does not equal communist government.
MassExecutions - 3/30/2012, 7:20 AM
@Alexandre - You seem like a smart, reasonable guy, but I gotta ask, how do you pick and chose what to keep out of the various accounts regarding Jesus?
Next - 3/30/2012, 7:31 AM
To put Eric Roberts comments in context, The Detroit Free Press was interviewing him about his new movie Deadline, which is inspired by a true story of a civil rights murder. Roberts' point was that some movies (like TDK) are designed to entertain and some (like Deadline) seek to "educate, enlighten, move, comfort". See what he means at www.DeadlineFilm.com. Great article at http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/07/2678268/the-gift-of-justice.html
MassExecutions - 3/30/2012, 8:34 AM
knossis - I am not say you don't make some good points, God is neither communist or capitalist. God is right. Since people are not always right, but inclined toward evil, they need limited systems of government.

Anyway, I don't think the bible says "perfection is equated to be balanced in all things". Rather, perfection is to live within the will of God. Work is within the will of God and to say "any type of labor or hardship is sin" is not correct. Labor is good. Labor causes hardship because of sin. If we didn't live in a fallen world, labor wouldn't equal hardship. Nature does not bless all me equally, man is required to go and take in the harvest.

Genesis 2:15 - The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to WORK it and take care of it.

Exodus 20:8-10 - Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 24:19 - When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 - For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."

Also, the LOVE of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Money its self is not the root. Also, the Lord has no problem with wealth if a person has worked for it, and that is definitely more a of capitalist thing than a communist or socialist thing. He just also wants us to live generously. Look at like, 50% of proverbs.

Proverbs 12:11
He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.

Proverbs 12:14
From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.

Proverbs 13:11
Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.

Proverbs 14:23
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.

He even told the disciples to take the pay they had earned.

Luke 10:7 - Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

Finally, God may send the rain on the just and the unjust, but he ALSO rewards people according to their works. Sometimes while they're alive, definitely after.

Maybe we are just disagreeing on the definition of socialism. To me, socialism is forced redistribution by the state. If the force of the state isn't behind it, just individual giving of their free will, then its not socialism.

Yes, good discussion. Back at you.
MassExecutions - 3/30/2012, 10:26 AM
Goooood response. I still see labor, or at least responsibilities, in "dress and keep", but yeah, life was easy then. Also, even if you consider it predicated on the fact that we live in a fallen world, I'd say on the whole the bible says to work to support yourself is good, and if you don't work by choice, you shouldn't expect others to support you. Also, if you view work as the using of your gifts, regardless of whether it’s necessary for your survival, then work is definitely good and required.

Now, I totally agree that to WORRY about your material possessions and well-being is wrong, and to be more concerned about you material well-being than the well-being of others is wrong. Ultimately, while the Lord lets our work/labor correlate with the receipt of material gain most of the time, it’s in his hands. And, Capitalism/Communism/Socialism are ultimately systems developed to deal with the scarcity of resources, and if there were no scarcity of resources they wouldn't exist. The question is, since scarcity of resources does exist in this epoch, which model most fits with the other premises espoused by Christianity? If you’re talking about a group of people where there is no physical coercion and people can leave the group freely, than I'd say an argument can be made for "Socialism", but if you’re talking about a government exercising the capacity to use force, I'd say Capitalism.
Alexandre - 3/30/2012, 11:39 AM
socialism is forced redistribution by the state because most countries that have that certain type of government run things like that. but socialism and communism on paper is not supposed to be forced. its expects everyone to be good. it doesnt think people will have problems only accepting their needs and nothing else.

but thats why it doesnt work. people are meant to be greedy. we're meant to see and want not just need.
Alexandre - 3/30/2012, 11:51 AM
thats why pure communism has not been put into practice. we dont know if that form of government can actually work because its never been used in its pure state. and basically, we're not ready as humans for that form of governing. its not even meant to be a "governing" its more a way of life where we all respect each other and there's no class nor race separation. buts thats bullshit because we right now as people, i dont know about the future but right now we are meant to hate and love.

these countries that supposedly say they have that form of government are just lying. when you start to dissect their government you start to see that their is no communism inside them. it starts off by saying stuff that resembles communism but it ends of being a fascist in disguise.
Alexandre - 3/30/2012, 12:10 PM
@knossis

you're right of course its just science. it was there way of explaining the things they didnt understand. but its very easy to say, "it was god who did it" then to do the research and prove themselves wrong, to prove what they were taught as children was wrong. and especially at a time when information was extremely blank. and any form of knowledge gain was a scary thing.

but i get it and i like what you wrote, some very interesting stuff

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