Matthew Modine first rose to prominence as Private Joker in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket but his latest role in the shark-based thriller 47 Metres Down is no laughing matter.
Chronicling the efforts of two women stranded in a rickety cage at the bottom of the ocean and surrounding by bloodthirsty sharks, Modine plays the shady seafaring boat captain responsible for their plight.
It’s just the latest in a string of memorable roles for Modine, who you probably recognise from his recent turn as Stranger Things villain, Dr. Martin Brenner.
To mark the release of 47 Metres Down, loaded spoke to the The Dark Knight Rises star about working on a shark movie, what inspired his fine turn in Stranger things and what fans can expect from his next movie, Soldado – the sequel to the hit thriller Sicario.
loaded: What was it that drew you to the role of Captain Taylor in 47 Meters Down?
Matthew: I love the ocean. So whenever I have an opportunity to spend time near it, on it, or in it, I’m in.
loaded: How do you feel about sharks?
Matthew: I think it’s important to point out that this is not an anti-shark movie. For me, it’s more about the stupidity humans are capable of. What happens when you have an ill kept boat and a captain that is illegally “chumming” for sharks, who then puts a woman, without any scuba diving training, into the now shark filled water! I have respect for all wild creatures and respect for their habitats. It’s estimated that a staggering 100 million sharks are killed each year for sport and shark fin soup. Humans are the most dangerous predators on earth.
loaded: What was the biggest challenge you faced on this movie?
Matthew: Whenever you work on the water, you have to respect the fact, that you are a terrestrial creature in a watery environment that has zero regard for you and is benign to your wishes.
loaded: Do you have a favourite scene or moment in 47 Metres down?
Matthew: Once we go underwater with the ladies, I’d argue that it’s the best thriller, shark or otherwise, film ever made. I saw the film with an audience of about 2500 people were terrified. It was as frightening as the first time I saw Psycho.
loaded: We’re living in the age of remakes – do you think any of your old movies are ripe for a reboot? A new version of Pacific Heights could definitely work.
Matthew: I like, what I’m told, Sir Michael Caine said about remakes. “Remake bad movies. Why remake something that works?”
loaded: You’re set to feature in Soldado next year. What can you tell us about that movie that fans might not know already?
Matthew: I believe Soldado could be even more thrilling and gut wrenching than Sicario. If that’s possible!
loaded: You’re excellent as Martin Brenner in Stranger Things – how did you land that role? Did you have to do anything interesting in the audition?
Matthew: Thank you. No. I was offered the role. I did turn it down several times before finally being talked into it by the Duffer brothers.
loaded: Stranger Things takes a lot of influence from the 1980s – what influenced your performance as Brenner? Any films or shows in particular?
Matthew: I knew I wanted to create a specific look for Doctor Brenner. He was, physically, described quite different in the script than what you now see. Jeans. A few days growth of beard. Flannel shirt. I spoke with the brothers about dying my hair white and wearing impeccably neat clothes. Clean shaved. I wanted the audience to be able to smell my aftershave. The Duffer’s agreed and there you have it.
loaded: We read that Val Kilmer may have inadvertently helped you get the part of Private Joker in Full Metal Jacket – is that true?
Matthew: Perhaps… The real story is in my book, Full Metal Jacket Diary. It’s also an award winning iPad app and audiobook. Good fun for fans of Kubrick and the film.
47 Metres Down is out now on DVD and download.