A quick Q&A with actor Matthew Modine
While doing some research on the 2019 America's Cup, I came across a mention of Wind's star Mathew Modine – well-known for his role in Full Metal Jacket and most recently as Dr. Martin Brenner in two of Netflix's biggest hits of 2016 and 2017, Stranger Things. The article referenced his upcoming cameo in Speed Kills with John Travolta, in which Travolta stars as speedboat racing champion and multimillionaire, Ben Aronoff – a thinly-veiled version of Cigarette founder Don Aronow. Like any sailor, I naturally had some questions about Mr. Modine's move from sail to power.
Dockwa: What was it like filming on cigarette boats in Puerto Rico?
MM: It was off season, most of the boats were out of the water, so I didn’t get the feeling of the local boating scene. Driving the cigarette was as thrilling as piloting a B-17 (which I had the extreme pleasure of flying while making Memphis Belle).
Dockwa: And when it comes to Wind? Did he have any idea that this film would have the cult following it has among sailors?
MM: Whenever you make a film you hope it will be appreciated. It’s a bonus when a film lives beyond it’s initial release. It’s a miracle when a movie gains a cult status.
Dockwa: Do people run up to you and yell 'Put up the Whomper!" ?
MM: Someone yelled it at me today! Not sure if she was a sailor or which “whomper” she may have been referring. ; - )
Dockwa: What from that production still resonates with you?
MM: You may have not noticed, but there is no branding, no advertising, in the film. Race boats are littered with advertisements today. The clothes the sailors wear are pasted with patches of all sorts of products. The films director, Carrol Ballard, didn’t want any of that. He’s a sailor, and a sailing purist. He didn’t want the distraction of any of the marketing that has permeated sports. I resonated with him on that.
Dockwa: What do you think of the new America’s Cup boats?
MM: I like them because they’re incredibly fast and light. But, if I were sailing, I’d prefer a classic.
Dockwa: Have you sailed since the film was released?
MM: Once in Tokyo harbor. I miss it. I’ve been on a lot of motor boats since making the film, but as you know, there’s nothing like being under the power of wind.
Dockwa: If a Wind reboot came about, how would you feel? Would you participate?
MM: I like what the actor Michael Caine said about remakes. It went something like, “If they want to remake a movie, they should remake bad movies. Not good ones.” No one sets out to make a bad movie. Everyone involved thinks, hopes, the project will turn out terrific. Sometimes the best intentions and efforts just don’t pan out. Not for lack of trying. Sometimes it just doesn’t work. So why not look at the reasons why, and try and make it better! And the truth is, a lot of remakes just don’t work.
Dockwa: If invited to race in Newport again, would you consider the offer? (I’m offering.)
....Stay tuned. :) Hopefully we'll see Mr. Modine on the water in Newport this summer!