Monday, June 23, 2014

Matthew Modine Talks Full Metal Jacket Audiobook On The Today Show

Celebrities are the new rock stars of audiobooks. Just look at the big winners at last month's Audies, known as the Oscars of the audiobook industry: Billy Crystal and Pete Seeger, each of whom voiced their own publications. And they're not even the tip of the iceberg: Oprah Winfrey, Katy Perry, Kristen Bell and dozens of other stars are lending their talents to audiobook readings.

“It’s a combination of a couple of things,” says Publishers Weekly editorial director Jim Milliot. “A lot more books are available by digital download, because they’re cheaper to produce. They've got the knack of doing these at a much lower cost now, so in some ways it really is the golden age of audiobooks.” Revenue for audiobooks has grown 12 percent since 2008, according to a recent IBIS World Study, making it a $1.6 billion industry, and the Audio Publishing Association reported that the number of published titles has nearly doubled in 2013. But using a celebrity to provide the voice lends the production an extra boost.

Matthew Modine has read other peoples’ audiobooks before, but lately has been focusing on his own project: A reading of his collected diary entries from his time filming Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket.” Initially he’d thought about getting another actor with a younger-sounding voice to tell the tale (Modine is 55; he was in his mid-20s when he made the movie). But the audiobook’s producer, Adam Rackoff, convinced him otherwise.

“He thought it would be more compelling to the audience to have the person who wrote the diary bring those words to life,” Modine recalls. “And, hopefully, a greater selling point.” The audiobook is coming out through the Spectra Music Group.

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