Actor Matthew Modine is reaching a new generation of fans as the evil Dr. Martin Brenner in the Netflix Inc NFLX series “Stranger Things.” And while viewers look upon the character as the man they love to hate, Modine confessed that Brenner inspired nothing but disgust in him.
What Happened: In an interview with Men's Health, Modine acknowledged finding no common ground with his creation.
“It made me sick to my stomach, especially during the scene when I tortured him for having harmed Eleven,” he recalled. “It was very upsetting. It makes me sick to my stomach. I have a hard time separating, and I don’t like it.”
Modine added that getting into the character was a physical and emotional ordeal.
“Your body doesn’t know it’s acting,” he continued. “Even though I’m memorizing lines and I understand the physical aspects of acting, you put your body through whatever that character is going through. It can be very destructive to your body. I don’t ever want to get in the skin of someone like Dr. Brenner again.”
Why It Happened: Modine is no stranger to taking on strenuous roles. His most famous part, arguably, was Private Joker in the 1987 “Full Metal Jacket,” directed by Stanley Kubrick, a creative artist who was notorious for requiring that his actors push themselves in multiple takes.
Modine saw some degree of similarity between his “Full Metal Jacket” character’s gradual embrace of violence amid the carnage of the Vietnam War and Brenner’s unapologetically severe malpractice.
“There’s a real connection between Private Joker and Dr. Brenner, regarding objectivity and participation,” he said. “Brenner is objectively doing these experiments, but he crosses that line of encouraging and loving to punishing, and that’s a line you can’t cross. So, if anyone has a question about whether or not Brenner is a good person, just know he crosses the line and does what’s unacceptable.”
As for what to expect in the final season of “Stranger Things,” Modine was politely evasive.
“Whether it’s ‘Breaking Bad’ or ‘Game of Thrones,’ it’s unbelievably difficult to do a final season,” he said. “For one, people don’t want it to end. To find an end that is satisfactory for the audience is quite difficult. I felt that way about ‘Ozark.’ That ended with a bang. I was like, ‘What? There must be something more that’s going to come. This couldn’t be the final episode.’
“But it is,” he added. “I have great faith in the Duffer Brothers and their creative partners to do something extraordinary and satisfactory for the billions of 'Stranger Things' fans across the world.”
Photo: Matthew Modine and Millie Bobby Brown in “Stranger Things,” via Netflix
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