Before Matthew Modine became an actor and starred in movies like Vision Quest and Memphis Belle, he dreamed of becoming a painter. It was the back-up career he never needed after a solid 30-year career of memorable roles on film, television, and the Broadway stage. But he never lost his artistic eye, which proved useful in other creative pursuits, beginning with his collaboration with Stanley Kubrick on 1987′s Full Metal Jacket. Modine documented that complicated production experience with still photography, and working with the esteemed director of 2001 and A Clockwork Orange inspired him to try his own hand behind the camera.
Modine has directed about a dozen short films, several of which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. Six of his favorites are part of a new collection from the Short Movie Channel, The Short Films of Matthew Modine, which becomes available for download tomorrow. The shorts, which were made between 1993 and 2011, include collaborations with director Todd Field (Little Children) and writer David Sedaris, and as a collection, they present a very personal insight into the worldview of the artist. “I like the way they fit together,” says Modine. “There’s a progression as a filmmaker, stylistically, and strength of cinematic storytelling. And if there’s something about them, it is about forgiveness and acceptance. That’s the one common thread that runs through each of them.”
Modine, who worked with Christopher Nolan on last year’s The Dark Knight Rises and co-stars opposite Ashton Kutcher on the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic Jobs, is currently working to bring the 1961 Civil War novel, Walk Like a Man, to the big screen. He recently chatted with EW about his short films.