Matthew Modine, Vincent D'Onofrio Pay Tribute to R. Lee Ermey, Their 'Full Metal Jacket' Tormentor

"Always faithful. Always loyal. Do not go gentle into that good night," the Pvt. Pyle actor wrote.
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Vincent D'Onofrio (left) and R. Lee Ermey in 'Full Metal Jacket' (1987)

Matthew Modine and Vincent D'Onofrio on Sunday remembered the man who made their lives a living hell — on the big screen, that is. 

Following the news of the death of R. Lee Ermey, Modine and D'Onofrio paid tribute to the iconic actor who broke them down when they all starred in Stanley Kubrick's 1987 war film, Full Metal Jacket.

"#SemperFidelis Always faithful. Always loyal. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. RIP amigo. PVT. Joker," Modine wrote. 

"Ermey was the real deal. The knowledge of him passing brings back wonderful memories of our time together. @RLeeErmey @StanleyKubrick @FMJDiary @MatthewModine @AdamBaldwin," D'Onofrio wrote. 

In Full Metal Jacket, Ermey played a no-nonsense drill sergeant, Gny. Sgt. Hartman, who constantly rode Pvt. Joker (Modine) and Pvt. Pyle (D'Onofrio).

The Hartman character especially had it out for Pyle because he was constantly messing up — that is, until his unit gave him a "Code Red," in which Joker also participated. The moment turns out to be Pyle's breaking point and, although he would straighten up, the tragic character would go on to kill Hartman and himself in front of Joker. 

The behind-the-scenes story goes that Ermey was originally hired to advise and train the actor who would play the Full Metal Jacket role, but Kubrick was so impressed by what he saw, he offered Ermey the part.

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