Cutting The Trailers For Full Metal Jacket Became A Bitter Battle Against Stanley Kubrick

During his time with Stanley Kubrick, Kerry Shale would have to re-record lines that he claims the director would “rewrite slightly,” generally doing about 40 takes at a time “with no direction whatsoever.” Over multiple weeks, the actor says that Kubrick “broke [him] down, which was his way of working.” Once, Shale agreed to visit despite initially resisting due to his voice being tired after a day of work and an evening spent partying. According to the actor, Kubrick heard his worn voice and immediately sent him back home.

After that, Shale refused to return, but Kubrick insisted he be brought back to record for the “North American release.” For one last time, Shale traveled up to Hertfordshire — near the location where much of “Full Metal Jacket” was filmed — to provide his 40 takes and was told that he would soon be needed for the British trailers. As he recalls it:

“Three or four months later, Leon [Kubrick’s assistant] rang and left a message on my answerphone: ‘Stanley wants you to do the British trailers. It’s urgent. Please call back.’ I didn’t call. The next morning he rang again, but I was in the bath. My girlfriend answered, and Leon asked her to get me out of the bath. I refused, and said, ‘Tell him to call my agent.’ That was the last I ever heard.”

Some time after “Full Metal Jacket” debuted, Shale’s agent got a call from someone in Kubrick’s office who, according to John Baxter’s book, claimed Shale had “agreed to do all the recordings for his test fee alone,” and offered £120 a session. The actor considered launching a court battle but ended up begrudgingly taking a settlement of £1,000.

Leave a Comment