Lee told me a story related to "The Fear Was Real"
that has a personal twist to it. I will start with the story.
Lee said that even though the lines were scripted, the
actors would blow their lines because they were so stressed
when Lee got in their face and laid on the intimidation. He
would get nose to nose with them and scream, "WHAT'S
YOUR NAME, SCUMBAG?!?" Their response would come out
a jumble of nonsense instead of what they were supposed to
say and they would have to stop the tense scene and start
over. He seemed to get a kick out of this story but here is
the funnier side of it.
As you can probably tell, I was more than a little star
struck talking to Lee. I kept standing there thinking that
I was talking to my hero and we were talking about the thing
that made him my hero. He was the nicest man with the same
southern accent but in a tone you never heard in the movie.
He enjoyed telling these stories as much as I enjoyed hearing
them. But at the part when he was telling that story and he
got to the part where he said "WHAT'S YOUR NAME, SCUMBAG?!?"
he took a step toward me to reiterate the point and for one
unexpected second, I was face to face, practically nose to
nose with Gunnery Sergeant Hartman. His eyes had instantly
turned into that wild-eyed look and his voice took on that
quality that struck terror in the hearts of millions of people.
As a Marine, this had a variety of effects on me. First,
my first reaction was like I was back in boot camp and I felt
that familiar tingle of fear for an instant. Here I was, a
Sergeant who had been to war and I still felt like a private
getting stressed. Additionally, it was like watching Full
Metal Jacket in 3-D. This kind, warm, friendly man had
instantly turned into the raving maniac you see in the movie
and the change was instantaneous. It left as quickly as it
came and he continued with the story. Of course I could hardly
pay attention to the rest of the story because I was a little
more than a little shaken after that and it was all I could
do to hide it. It was both scary and neat all in the same
instant, much like a roller coaster ride.