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Matthew Avery Modine (born March 22, 1959) is an Americanmarker actor, perhaps most famous for playing Private Joker in Stanley Kubrick's 1987 film Full Metal Jacket and high school wrestler Louden Swain in Vision Quest.

Biography

Early life

Modine, the youngest of seven children, was born in Loma Linda, Californiamarker, the son of Dolores (née Warner), a bookkeeper, and Mark Alexander Modine, who managed drive-in theaters. His father moved the large family when necessary to keep them in food and clothing.

The first move for Modine was from his birthplace in Loma Linda to Imperial Beach, Californiamarker. The family lived in Imperial Beach for two years before Mark was transferred to Utahmarker. The family's first home was in Salt Lake Citymarker where his father became the District Manager for Sero Amusement Company. Mark was the manager of the Lyric Theater in downtown Salt Lake City. It was here that Matthew had his first brush with fame. He met Robert Redford when he visited the Lyric Theater doing publicity for the film Barefoot in the Park.

When Matthew was ten years old, he saw a documentary about the making of the film Oliver!. Inspired by the young actors and their performances, Modine decided to become an actor. At age 11, he found a dance school in Provo, Utahmarker and began taking tap dancing lessons. He also joined the junior high school Glee Club when his family moved to Midvale, Utahmarker.

When Matthew was fourteen, his father was transferred back to Imperial Beach and Matthew began eighth grade at Mar Vista Junior High. He spent sophomore year at Mar Vista High School and performed in a production of Our Town as George Gibbs. In his junior year, Matthew transferred to Southwest High School, but after the murder of a classmate, the school had fears of retaliation and gang violence, so Matthew convinced his parents to allow him to attend Marian Catholic High School. He later transferred and graduated from Mar Vista.

Modine moved to New York to pursue his acting career and struggled to get a foothold. His uncle, a Mormon, convinced Matthew to move to Provo and attend theater classes at Brigham Young Universitymarker. After a month he realized this was a mistake. Modine moved to Salt Lake City where he began working for United Concerts as a gopher, putting candy and alcohol in the dressing rooms of touring rock and roll bands. After several months he returned to Imperial Beach. The violence and drug and alcohol problems that plagued the border town had begun to take a toll on his friends and it was clear to Matthew that to remain in San Diego could prove disastrous.

Modine moved back to NYC to study acting. It was there that he began working with legendary acting teacher Stella Adler and where he has maintained his residence since 1980.

A classmate of Modine's was indeed murdered at the entrance to the school gym. However, it was a personal conflict and was not considered an act that would lead to retaliation or an increase in gang violence. Modine was a fine athlete at Southwest, participating in football and wrestling.

Career

His first film role was in John Sayles' Baby It's You. His performance caught the eye of director Harold Becker, who cast him in Vision Quest (Crazy for You) based on the novel by Terry Davis. The director Robert Altman propelled Modine to international stardom with his film adaptation of David Rabe's play Streamers. Modine and his fellow castmates won an unprecedented Best Actor prize from the Venice Film Festival for this tragic story of young American soldiers about to be shipped to Vietnam. Modine played Mel Gibson's brother in Mrs. Soffel and starred with Nicolas Cage in Alan Parker's Birdy. The film was awarded a prize at the Cannes Film Festivalmarker.
Modine might be best known for his role as "Private Joker," the main character of Stanley Kubrick's 1987 war movie Full Metal Jacket. Afterwards, he played the dangerous young criminal, Treat, in Alan Pakula's film version of the hugely successful play Orphans by writer Lyle Kessler; and the goofy, earnest FBI agent Mike Downey in Jonathan Demme's screwball comedy Married to the Mob opposite Michelle Pfeiffer. Modine was nominated for an Emmy Award for his performances in And the Band Played On and What the Deaf Man Heard.

In 1995, he worked opposite Geena Davis in Cutthroat Island. He made his feature directorial debut with If... Dog... Rabbit. This came after the success of three short films that debuted at the Sundance Film Festival: When I was a Boy (co-directed with Todd Field) Smoking written by David Sedaris, and Ecce Pirate.

His most recent films include The Go Go Tales, Have Dreams, Will Travel, Transporter 2, Opa!, and Mary, which won a prize at the Venice Film Festival.

In 2003, he guest starred on The West Wing in the episode "The Long Goodbye", as a foil to C. J. Cregg. He portrays the character Marco, who went to high school with Cregg, and helps her deal with her father's steady decline into Alzheimer's disease. He also guest starred in the Law and Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Rage" as a serial killer.

Modine plays a corrupt Majestic City developer named Sullivan Groff throughout Season 3 on Weeds. Groff has affairs with Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) and Celia Hodes (Elizabeth Perkins).

His theater roles include parts in Arthur Miller's Finishing the Picture in Chicagomarker, Miller's Resurrection Blues in Londonmarker, and an upcoming run as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird in Hartford, Connecticutmarker.

He can be seen next in the Greek romantic adventure OPA![59939] which opens in theatres October 16, 2009.

Other work

Full Metal Jacket Diary is a critically acclaimed book written by Modine. The book is a day-to-day account of his experience while working on Full Metal Jacket. In addition to the diary, the book is filled with photos Modine shot using a Rolleiflex camera.

Bicycle For a Day (BFAD) is an environmental initiative Modine created with Charles Finch. Modine directed the BFAD film for Young Global Leaders presented to an audience at the World Economic Forum in Davosmarker, Switzerlandmarker (2006). BFAD's goal is to raise awareness of the need to reduce carbon emissions and demonstrate simple things that each of us can do everyday to make a cleaner world. On September 20, 2008 BFAD had its first event at the South Street Seaport in New York City. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. spoke to the 14,000 people who attended the event. Ben Jellen and Lukas Haas sang and performed visitors learned about the two charities BFAD supports, Water Keeper Alliance and American Forests: Global ReLeaf.

Card Carrying Liberal (CCL) is a foundation that Modine started in 2007. The stated aim is to restore the meaning of the word "liberal". Modine believes the ideals of liberalism have been forced into disrepute because of a dishonest attempt to place them only in a political context. The foundation, which does not describe itself as a political entity, also has the objective of protecting the ideals of liberalism and supporting the liberties and human rights that liberal societies helped to establish.

Filmography





References

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