Before being cast in Stanley Kubrick`s ‘Full Metal Jacket,’ Vincent D`Onofrio was a trim, good-looking athlete, a rugged 6-feet-3 and--with his full head of curly dark hair--the kind of man who makes women`s heads turn.
But after winning the part of Leonard, the fat, inept and increasingly disturbed Marine recruit who serves as the dramatic fulcrum for the first half of the film, D`Onofrio was obliged to put on nearly 70 pounds and shave his head--a physical transformation that had a shocking effect.
“It changed my life,” he said. “Women didn`t look at me; most of the time I was looking at their backs as they were running away. People used to say things to me twice, because they thought I was stupid.”
The hard part was having to gain all that weight, which proved as difficult as losing it later.
“I gained weight everywhere,” D`Onofrio said. “My thighs were tremendous, my arms were tremendous, even my nose was fat. I had a tough time tying my shoelaces, but this was the only way I could play Leonard, because I had to be weak-minded in the same way. Because of the weight and the fact that he was totally out of his element, Leonard`s mind became weak.”
Inhabiting Leonard`s body had a profound effect on D`Onofrio`s perceptions. “It makes you realize all those typical things about beauty being deeper than what you would think,” he said.
(Source: Chicago Tribune)