American director Stanley Kubrick (1928 - 1999) standing next to a movie camera, possibly on the set of 'Barry Lyndon', circa 1975. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Stanley Kubrick Used Full Metal Jacket's Casting Call As A Publicity Stunt
By the time Stanley Kubrick got to making his 1987 war drama “Full Metal Jacket,” he had already released masterpieces like “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Barry Lyndon.” So, when it came time to cast for “Full Metal Jacket,” the acclaimed director used his reputation and sent out an international call for new faces to play the marines.
As well as resulting in thousands of tapes to review, the stunt proved an effective marketing trick for his movie. As noted in John Baxter’s “Stanley Kubrick: A Biography,” “Kubrick played on his mystique” with the casting call and the resulting publicity for his war epic “was phenomenal. Everyone soon knew about ‘Full Metal Jacket.’”
Baxter also noted that video companies were offering to film the audition tapes, including one in Boston which, at the height of the search, was churning out “30 pitches a day.” The casting call obviously created significant buzz, but Kubrick also understood that audiences might be suffering from Vietnam War movie fatigue — and hyping the film was a way to overcome that obstacle.