Drop and Give Me 25, Scumbag! Part Two - Mania.com


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Drop and Give Me 25, Scumbag! Part Two

Former Marine and Kubrick refugee R. Lee Ermey discusses, among other things, life as an action figure

By Paul "Sir, YES SIR!" Zimmerman     November 20, 2001

A close-up of the new R. Lee Ermey 12-inch figure from Sideshow
© 2001 Sideshow Toy
Despite being eternally recognized as the bellowing Marine drill instructor in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, R. Lee Ermey - a former real life Marine himself - has carved out quite an impressive acting career since his days in the military. With roles in Apocalypse Now, The Boys in Company C, Mississippi Burning, Se7en and the Toy Story films, Ermey has even established enough pop culture carte blanche to merit an action figure being based on him. Sideshow Toy's 12-inch, talking "Gunnery Sgt. R. Lee Ermey" figure is a one of a kind to be sure, but then again so is the man on which it is based. In part two of our exclusive interview with Ermey, he continues to offer his unexpurgated thoughts on the world.

On what he thought about last year's TV show Boot Camp...

RLE: I didn't even

Stone Alexander (Michael York) shakes hands with President R. Benson (R. Lee Ermey) in MEGIDDO: OMEGA CODE 2.

bother to watch it. What upsets me about it is they yell at people, and I've seen the clips, they yell and scream and rant and rave and really for no purpose. Just simply so they can be ranting and raving and yelling. Marine Corps drill instructors, if they rant and rave, they have a very obvious reason to be doing so. And so as far as I'm concerned it's more like desecration of the drill instructor for him to go on TV, jump up and down, rant and rave and look like a ridiculous idiot. And he has no reason to be doing so other than he's being paid. So that bothers me about the whole thing, [because] drill instructors are honorable people.

On what would happen if his doll got into a fight we GI Joe...

RLE: One of the things I really think is neat about this doll is he's 12-inches - he can play with Barbie and Ken. You know he'd have Ken down doing pushups all the time and who knows what the hell he might be doing with Barbie? After all he is a Marine Gunnery Sergeant. But GI Joe? You know GI Joe is an icon. [laughs] I think GI Joe and I'd get along really good.

On how a screaming DI keeps his voice in shape...

RLE: You just scream constantly [laughs]. We had 125 in a platoon and three drill instructors. They're picking up like 50 and 60 privates right now, they're real nice easy platoons. The drill instructor never had a microphone or a way to enhance his voice so everyone could hear it with the exception of bringing it up from his gut. See, everything the drill instructor says to anybody, he wants it to be heard by 120 butts. Therefore he talks rather loudly. Extremely loud. But today the platoons aren't as big. These guys down there on the drill fields today are a bunch of wimps, huh? What do you think? [laughs] Don't tell them that. Like I say, I'm a charter member of the Drill Instructor's Association. These guys are still pretty tough birds.

On what he [IMG4L]thought about John Milius when he worked on the TNT movie Rough Riders...

RLE: He's a total military buff. I certainly know he's read every book on the subject. I thought he was great. He smokes a fine cigar, I know that. He hands out good cigars. We got together at the hotel bar a couple of times as a matter of fact. He's quite the history buff.

On what an old war bird does between films...

RLE: I go to bed at eight o'clock at night [and] I get up at 3am every morning, seven days a week. I go to my humble little office out here - my wife put me in the barn. My office is out in the barn. And I turn on the light and the coffee pot comes automatically and I sit down and I write every morning. And then 15 minutes before daybreak I saddle up, pack up the writing and jump into the pickup truck and drive to the golf course and play 18 holes of golf. We usually tee off at daybreak. Me and my boy. I'm in the high desert up west of Palmdale [California]. Live on a gravel road. It's pretty up here. It's nice.

On what the

A close-up of the new R. Lee Ermey 12-inch figure from Sideshow

Marines think about him today...

RLE: I can't drive on a Marine Corp base without them calling ahead and the next thing I know I've got an MP escort taking me to the PX. The guys are great. I'm doing three Marine Corps birthday balls this year. I've actually had a Huey gunship land up here in my pasture and take me to the birthday ball so I can talk to the troops.


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