Ronald Lee Ermey served for 10 years in the US Marine Corps between 1961 and 1971 and held a rank of Staff Sergeant during his later active years in the Corps. His first hand experience with the US Marine Corps and the Vietnam War was a crucial part for his first movie roles (Sidney J. Furie’s war drama The Boys in Company C (1978) and Francis Ford Coppola’s war epic Apocalypse Now (1979)). From then on, Ermey has appeared in numerous war movies – and often cast as a drill instructor – but he quickly managed to convince film makers that he can do other stuff too and has subsequently appeared in dozens of television shows and films spanning a wide range of genres and roles.
His commanding presence landed him his probably best known role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket (1987). Legend has it that Kubrick hired him as an advisor and not as an actor but on the set he was so damn convincing that Kubrick ended up manning the role with him. Kudos to Kubrick for his decision to cast Ermey. Ermey’s role in Full Metal Jacket is pretty damned strong even by today’s standards and his character’s mean-spirited, demeaning, misogynistic, anticommunist, hate-filled ranting is nowadays not only remembered but has a left a permanent mark in popular culture.
Illustrated here is Ronald Lee Ermey as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Kubrick’s raw war movie Full Metal Jacket.
David Cronenberg is, of course, known to horror movie fans as the grandfather of the so called body horror sub-genre of films and his movies all the way from the 1970’s are rightfully revered by the horror movie aficionados. But – perhaps excepting The Fly (1986) – his main body of work is relatively unknown to the wider, more mainstream, audiences.
But when the film Spider came out in 2002, there was a noticeable change and while it certainly wasn’t an attraction for larger crowds, Croneberg’s next film was just that. A History of Violence came out in 2005 and it was a definite shift away from his former films being a dramatic thriller with nary a hint of horrific elements. While not a horror movie at all and rather commercial in how it was marketed, it still kind of works like Cronenberg’s former films: it is beautifully constructed and narrated, care has been taken on how the characters have been defined and most importantly it’s structural layers speak on many levels should the audience wish to listen. It turned out to be quite the little success story and since then Cronenberg has directed a few more internationally acclaimed dramas and thrillers which have been aimed toward more wider and commercial audiences than what made the man initially famous.
Illustrated here is Ed Harris, an actor I have always had a soft spot for, from the film A History of Violence (2005). In the film Ed Harris plays a tough gangster Carl Fogarty, who has come to seek retribution against the film’s protagonist Tom Stall played by Viggo Mortensen.
An illustration of Melissa George from the movie A Lonely Place to Die (2011) by Julian Gilbey. Melissa stars as Alison, a tough-as-nails mountain climber whose path happens to accidentally cross with some very dangerous individuals. A well made, nicely paced and criminally under appreciated British thriller.