Talking Shop...with Matthew Modine

Actor and director Matthew Modine recognizes the importance and power of the arts for young people. “The arts are an essential part of what it means to be human,” says Modine, who was honored at a March 1 benefit by Young Audiences New York at the New York Marriott Marquis. “It shouldn’t be necessary to ask for artistic funding for individuals and friendly organizations like Young Audiences New York to insure that our youth have these opportunities.” A huge supporter of the arts and arts education, Modine was awarded the 2004 Children’s Art Medal by Young Audiences for his exceptional dedication to the cause. Since 1952, Young Audiences has been dedicated to advancing the artistic and educational development of New York City public school students by bringing students of all grade levels together with professional artists of all arts disciplines to learn, create and participate in the arts. Young Audiences has received the National Medal of Arts, as well as the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America’s Medallion of Honor. In showbiz for over 20 years, Modine has appeared in over 40 films including Birdy, Vision Quest, Full Metal Jacket, Married to the Mob and Any Given Sunday. In 1993, he received the Venice Film Festival’s Volpi Cup and a Hollywood Foreign Press Golden Globe Award for Best Ensemble Cast in Robert Altman’s Short Cuts. That year he also received Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominations for his role in the Emmy Award winning drama, And the Band Played On. This spring, he can be seen in The Winning Season with Kristin Davis. Modine lives in the Village with his wife of 24 years, Cari (whom he met when both were working in a Manhattan restaurant), daughter, Ruby, 13, and son, Boman, 18.

Last activity the whole family participated in: We had a big Thanksgiving reunion. It’s our favorite holiday.

Favorite family vacation destination: Because my job takes me all over the world, I’ve had the opportunity to share many of those locations with my family. They’ve all been pretty great, so it’s hard to pick just one.

Best way to spend a Sunday: In the winter, it’s sitting by the woodstove and cooking. In the summer, it’s working outside.

Favorite TV show (even though you don't own a TV): That’s an old factoid! Now that the kids are older, it’s OK to have the powerful influence of television in our lives. Our favorite show is ‘The Simpsons’. Rude, irreverent, always topical, intelligent, and above all, hysterical. Favorite sports team: The New York Knickerbockers. Win or lose. I love going to the games with my wife. It’s always good to witness how hard work and team play results in winning games. It’s a secret to success.

Last woodworking project you completed: Chopping firewood. It’s woodworking. And it’s a hell of a project.

What do you do when you hang out with (country neighbor) Liam Neeson? The same things that all great friends do.

Most important thing to teach your kids: To be polite and have compassion. To be passionate. Laugh a lot. Dance when you feel like it.

Extravagancies: I like to go out for breakfast. A lot.