Matthew Modine
Actor/Director
03:12

What Matthew Modine Learned From Brilliant Directors

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Matthew Modine has learned that it’s easier to tell the truth than to lie.

Matthew Modine

Matthew Modine is an actor who has starred in major films including Streamers, Full Metal Jacket, Married to the Mob, Pacific Heights, Any Given Sunday, and Notting Hill. His recent television work includes Showtime's hit, Weeds. And he recently wrote, directed and starred in the short film "I Think I Thought" about a man who cures himself of over-thinking. He lives in New York.
Transcript
Modine: The one truth from working with all these brilliant men, probably that it’s easier to tell the truth, you know? It’s much easier to tell the truth than to complicate our lives with lies. It’s dangerous, you know. And I think that what I learned from Robert Altman is that my truth is quite different than yours, and so that doesn’t necessarily make it the truth. It just makes it my truth. And what I learned from Oliver Stone is the ability to… When you’re listening, if you watch Oliver Stone when he’s talking, particularly when he’s listening, he’s always spinning it, like a Rubik’s Cube, you know, that he’s looking. So he’s listening to your truth, and then he’s trying to… Like if you’re talking about somebody, he’s imagining himself being that person that you’re listening, that’s listening, and trying to hear that person’s perspective of what you’re saying, and, you know… And I think that’s a really smart thing to do, is to try to understand the other person’s point of view. So, if you were talking about Fidel Castro, he may put himself in the shoes of Fidel Castro, being this man who lives on his island and go back in history and try to remember, try to understand why the revolution began. What were the Cubans fighting for? Who were they… What was the form of government that they felt needed to be overturned? Why did they think that a communistic society would be better than a democratic society? So, he’s not just listening passively. He’s listening actively, and trying to understand that point of view and that perspective, because it’s valid, you know. [In some ways] you’re not, you know, punching and killing somebody. What is that person’s perspective, you know? And I don’t know where Oliver Stone learned that. Maybe when he was in Vietnam and fighting the Vietnamese, that he really sat down and tried to understand the position of the North Vietnamese, you know. Why were we sent here? Why were we sent to this country to kill other human beings? Why were we sent to the Jewel of Southeast Asia, you know, to destroy such an ancient culture? You know, to destroy such a beautiful people? What are we doing here, you know? Why was I sent to kill these people? These are really important questions to ask. You know, not just because our government says that this is where we should send the army and go off and kill somebody. Why? We have to question the leaders. That’s going back again to that living in a free and democratic society, you know. The army and the marines, you know, they tell you not to ask questions. Don’t ask questions, you know. You’re that, you know, you’re on a need to know basis. But I think there comes a time when you have to question, question things. Question our military leaders and their intentions, you know.

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