Matthew Modine has been referred to as “one of the best, most adaptable film actors of his generation” by legendary NY Times film critic Vincent Canby. The list of legendary directors who have worked with him speaks volumes for his prolific career. Only a few include Oliver Stone, Sir Alan Parker, Stanley Kubrick, Robert Altman, Alan J. Pakula, John Schlesinger, Sir Peter Hall, Spike Lee and Jonathan Demme.
Modesty aside, how would you describe yourself?
You have been very busy in the last couple of years, doing Netflix original series “Stranger Things”, several films and a series of short films that you wrote, directed and produced. How do you do them all?
One step at a time.
Your prolific and illustrious career includes working with such legendary directors as Stanley Kubrick, Robert Altman and Jonathan Demme. How do you reflect on that?
I am incredibly grateful to have worked with them, and all the other amazing artists I’ve worked beside. Each in their own way have shaped and educated me. You could say I’ve been to the best film school with the best teachers in the world.
You grew up in California but now live in New York City and ride your bicycle a lot. How is Los Angeles different from other major cities?
Los Angeles is filled with cool people. It’s the sprawl and inability to get from one place to another without an automobile that’s frustrating. This is a city that could be way more livable with car- sharing, self-driving, electric cars. You could be productive while riding, not ever have to worry about parking, and not have to pay insurance. A million Angelino’s would sign up for that today.
Name three (3) persons that you haven’t worked with but would like to do so.
Paul Thomas Anderson, Martin Scorsese, Alejandro González Iñárritu.
You are a renowned environmentalist. With the current climate, are you optimistic about the future and where we are headed?
Honestly, no. The human race is racing toward 8 billion. Knowing this, we continue to consume the earth’s resources as if they are infinite. We know they are finite. We know that up to 90% of the world’s fish stock are gone from the seas and we continue to rape the oceans of its gifts. Water is too often unfit to drink because of human waste and spilled chemicals. Fukushima continues to leak radiated material into the ocean. Millions of tons of plastics are drowning the oceans. While you’ve read this a million plastic bottles of water were filled adding to the 60 million bottles produced every hour. A hundred million sharks where killed this year for their fins and for sport. The problems we face are many. The problems of the past are already baked into the present and near future. To solve the problems our grandchildren will face require an investment that we living now will not be alive to experience. But if we don’t make the urgent and necessary investment, the world will be unrecognizable within a century.
There’s an old saying, “We don’t plant trees for ourselves. We plant them for our grandchildren.” It’s necessary for everyone alive today to make an investment in the future they will not be alive to see. With greed so rampant, and a US administration that has little empathy and regard for anything beyond their own personal pleasure, the future is very grim.
What’s your favorite charity or cause?
I don’t have one. I have several. Madison Square Garden’s Garden of Dreams, Wounded Warrior Project, God’s Love We Deliver, Innocence Project, Bicycle for a Day and the Do-One Campaign.
What living person do you most admire?
Caridad. Without her, I’d have long ago expired.
Tell me a secret-a good one.
If I did that, it wouldn’t be a good secret.