R. Lee Ermey’s Saltiest ‘Mail Call’ Bloopers
While we are familiar with R. Lee Ermey now, he almost never had his shot. The story goes, Ermey was hired onto Full Metal Jacket as a technical advisor. His job was to make all of the actors look like Marines. Given that he had the experience and knowledge, and the fact he was trying to break into acting himself, Lee Ermey decided to fight for this role through his craft.
On set, even though they had already cast a drill instructor, Ermey would show up, dress up, and bark orders at these actors in the name of prepping them. Method acting would be the term. Hardcore, brutal discipline. After the director saw some of the test footage featuring Ermey, they rewrote the script to feature him in the role he fought for. That's why the first half of the movie was so great, and the rest of it complete junk. If you were wondering what happened to the actor Lee Ermey successfully took his role from, he was recast into the odd, memorable door gunner.
He went on to act in a ton of other movies. Mostly supporting roles across Hollywood, some very unassuming. Sure, he had his share of military casting, but he also played other roles. From Toy Story to Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Seven to Saving Silverman, he even voiced small parts for Spongebob Squarepants.
Outside of Full Metal Jacket, I think most people universally know him for Mail Call. A show centered around military tech in a Q&A type format. It was one of the last truly educational shows on History Channel. As his popularity soared, he became more than just a typecast actor. His opinion started to matter, and having an opinion that differs from the Hollywood status-quo is why we stopped seeing R. Lee Ermey in so many roles. He alleged that he'd been blackballed for his personal views.
While we'll most likely never encounter another R. Lee Ermey in Hollywood, he definitely left a legacy of authenticity.