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Trivia / Full Metal Jacket

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  • AFI's 100 Years… 100 Thrills: #95
  • California Doubling: London for both Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and for Vietnam.
  • Cast the Expert: R. Lee Ermey was originally just a technician on the film, there to make a couple of films to advise the actor playing the Drill Sergeant Nasty on how it should be done. Then Kubrick saw his tapes... said tapes were of Ermey performing his Drill Sergeant Nasty speeches while being constantly pelted with rotten oranges for fifteen minutes. He never stopped, flubbed, or repeated himself throughout the whole thing.
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  • Cast the Runner-Up: R. Lee Ermey was originally going to be a technical advisor, with Gunnery Sergeant Hartman being played by an actor. When the role was given to R. Lee Ermey instead, the actor who was going to play Hartman played the helicopter door gunner instead.
  • Completely Different Title: While a few countries went for variations for "metal jacket", in South America (plus Portugal) went for the poster, translating Joker's "Born To Kill". Central America went for yet another scene, Cara de guerra, "War face".
  • Creator's Oddball: After Spartacus, this is second least Kubrickian film. Kubrick was brought in as a hired gun on the former (Spartacus belongs to Kirk Douglas and Kubrick does not consider it part of his filmography). But in Full Metal Jacket, in which Kubrick has full control, a lot of Kubrick trademarks are missing such as long silences, long distance character shots, the use of classical music in the film score, insistence on subdued performances, and a feeling of general detachment. It may be due to the subject matter. Also, R. Lee Ermey undoubtedly stole the show and his "up in your face" style is very out of character for characters in Kubrick films. Also, Ermey (a real drill sergeant) was allowed to ad-lib all of his own lines, definitely unusual for control freak Kubrick.
  • Deleted Scene:
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    • One scene cut from the movie showed a group of Marines playing soccer. The scene was cut because a shot revealed they were kicking a human head, not a soccer ball.
    • A sex scene with Pvt. Joker and the Vietnamese prostitute was cut. According to the actress, Stanley Kubrick cut the scene because it detracted from the cold mood of the film.
    • R. Lee Ermey claimed that a scene was cut in which Hartman breaks character and warmly expresses pride toward the recruits for having completed their training.
  • Dub Name Change: The German dub changed Private Pyle's nickname to "Private Paula", replacing the insult of being an incompetent Marine (as Gomer Pyle was on The Andy Griffith Show) with one of being a woman. "Private Snowball" became "Private Scheewittchen", which means "Private Snow White," keeping the Ironic Nickname and adding the additional insult of being like a fairy princess.
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  • Dyeing for Your Art: Vincent D'Onofrio gained so much weight for his role as Pvt. Gomer Pyle, that he tore ligaments in his knees during the obstacle course scene. He surpassed Robert De Niro's record (for Raging Bull) for most weight gained for a role, over 70 pounds. He would gain weight again for Wilson Fisk in Daredevil (2015), a version of Marvel's Kingpin that has some traits of Gomer Pyle.
  • Enforced Method Acting: To make the recruits' reactions to Gunnery Sgt. Hartman as realistic as possible, Stanley Kubrick made sure that R. Lee Ermey did not socialize with the actors playing recruits. They also didn't get to meet him prior to filming.
  • Fake American:
    • Both Rafterman and the gung-ho Colonel who asks Joker why he wears a helmet that says "Born to Kill" and a peace sign are played by Canadian actors (Kevyn Major Howard and Bruce Boa respectively).
    • Peter Edmund (Snowball), Marcus D'Amico (Hand Job), and Steve Hudson (Schanks) are all British.
  • Fake Nationality: The actress who plays the Vietnamese hooker is actually of British nationality and of Chinese and French descent.
  • Genre-Killer: The 80's had several Basic Training movies ranging from silly (Stripes, Private Benjamin) to semi-serious (Heartbreak Ridge, and many other forgotten movies.) Nobody bothered to make one again after this movie since it couldn't possibly be topped nor looked at in a lighthearted way again.
  • Name's the Same: Joker has no connection to Shin's chief lackey or the Clown Prince of Crime, or the pilot of the ''Normandy'' or the leader of the Phantom Thieves for that matter.
  • Real-Life Relative: Stanley Kubrick's daughter Vivienne Kubrick composed the original music, under the pseudonym Abigail Mead (adapted from the name of the family home, Abbot's Mead).
  • Star-Making Role: For R. Lee Ermey, Matthew Modine and Vincent D'Onofrio.
  • Throw It In!:
    • Many of R. Lee Ermey's lines as Hartman were ad-libbed. He was one of the few actors allowed to go Off the Rails in Stanley Kubrick's films, who is known for his meticulous control of every part of the story. When filming the scene where GySgt Hartman is berating new recruits, the "reach-around" comment was tossed in by Ermey, and not originally in the script. Kubrick stopped the filming to ask what that meant. After it was explained, he laughed, and decided to include it in the final film.
    • Ermey is also a notable subversion. Kubrick disliked improvisation as it usually played hell with his shooting schedules. Ermey, in a major role for the first time and eager to impress, spent so much time with the dialogue coach that he was able to finish his scripted material in very few takes, allowing him the time necessary to throw in his own flourishes —all added to the shooting script and delivered verbatim— with Kubrick's blessing.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Anthony Michael Hall was originally set to play Pvt. Joker. Hall spent eight months preparing for the role but could not reach an agreement with Stanley Kubrick regarding the salary and the schedule. He was replaced by Matthew Modine. Also Hall was fired for objecting to Kubrick's perfectionist style of directing. Val Kilmer auditioned for the role. According to Matthew Modine, Kilmer confronted Modine in a restaurant and challenged Modine to a fight because he believed that Modine had stolen the part from him. But Modine was not even aware of the film at the time. Modine later sent Kubrick footage from Vision Quest and won the part.
    • Arnold Schwarzenegger turned down the role of Animal Mother in order to star in The Running Man.
    • Bruce Willis was offered a role (either Joker or Cowboy), but turned it down due to scheduling conflicts with Moonlighting.
    • Denzel Washington was considered for Eightball and has said that it is a role that he regrets missing out on.
    • The door gunner's actor would've played Hartman, had R. Lee Ermey not been singled out by Kubrick after seeing his handiwork.
    • Mike Allred, the creator of the comicbook Mad Man and frequent Marvel Comics artist auditioned for the role of Joker.

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