NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 28: Matthew Modine visits the SiriusXM Studios on June 28, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Matthew Modine's Full Metal Jacket John Wayne Impression Came From Acting With Mel Gibson
Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 war film, “Full Metal Jacket,” is a critical examination of the Vietnam War filled with memorable lines. One recurring saying, “Is that you, John Wayne? Is this me?” was first uttered in a full-throated impression of the Western icon by J.T. Davis, played by Matthew Modine, who revealed he developed the imitation three years before joining the film.
Modine explained, “I’d done a movie with Mel Gibson called ‘Mrs. Soffel’ [...] And since Mel had quite a heavy Australian accent and had to speak like he was an American, the dialect coach would work with him in slowing him down.” The actors worked with the dialect coach together to sound like brothers, but Modine revealed Gibson often spoke like John Wayne.
“So I learned how to do a John Wayne impersonation when I was working on 'Mrs. Soffel,' working with the dialect coach and listening to Mel Gibson learn to speak like an American,” said Modine. When the actor came to star in “Full Metal Jacket,” he transformed the unintentional Wayne impersonation into an intentional one, with unforgettable results.