John Jacob Niles (April 28, 1892—March 1, 1980)
We found out that [my wife] was going to have an emergency Cesarean. The baby wasn’t growing right in the womb. She was very early, seven months. … [Kubrick] finally showed up for work and I told him the situation. He said “What are you going to do? Are you going to stand in the operating room? You’ll faint as soon as they cut her open! You’ll see all that blood and you’ll pass out. You’re just going to be in the way of the doctors.”
I said, “No, I have to go. I have to be there with my wife.” And he started telling me all these really practical reasons why I didn’t need to be there. I had a pocket knife with me; I put it in my palm and I said “Look, I’m going to cut my hand open and I’m going to have to go to the hospital, or you can let me go to the hospital to be with my wife.” He moved away from me and he said “Okay, but come back immediately after it’s done.”
We talked to Matthew Modine about the making of Full Metal Jacket, as well as his terrific Full Metal Jacket Diary app for the iPad. Download the FMJ app here; you can also learn more about LACMA’s own Stanley Kubrick app.