Stanley Kubrick Revealed
March 8, 2008 11:37 PM   Subscribe

The Hidden Stanley Kubrick. In the nine years following Stanley Kubrick's death on March 7, 1999, several of his collaborators have written and spoken about their experiences working with this notoriously reclusive filmmaker. Their reminiscences shed light on aspects of Kubrick’s family life, private thoughts and work habits, and make for fascinating reading and viewing. Those who've shared their reflections include Michael Herr (co-screenwriter, "Full Metal Jacket"); Leon Vitali (actor, "Barry Lyndon" and Kubrick's personal assistant for nearly 25 years); Ian Watson (credited with the "screen story" for "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence"); and Brian Aldiss (who helped to develop the story for "A.I."). Peter Bogdanovich gathered together the impressions of others who worked with Kubrick on various projects over the legendary director's career.

More reflections on Kubrick, this time from Arthur C. Clarke (co-screenwriter, "2001: A Space Odyssey"); Wendy Carlos (composer, "A Clockwork Orange" and "The Shining"); Stephen King (author, "The Shining"); Frederic Raphael (co-screenwriter, "Eyes Wide Shut"); Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise and Alan Cumming (actors, "Eyes Wide Shut"); as well as Steven Spielberg (director and screenwriter, "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence").
posted by New Frontier (21 comments total) 57 users marked this as a favorite

Or this recent great article at Reality Sandwich titled Kubrick Gaze.
posted by rmmcclay at 1:36 AM on March 9, 2008

Kirk Douglas, who did as much to boost Kubrick's early career as anyone, has a few choice bits about Kubrick in his autobiography The Ragman's Son. He calls him "a talented shit," for starters. After Douglas' production company pulled together the financing to do Paths of Glory, Douglas says Kubrick re-wrote Jim Thompson and Calder Willingham's script into a "catastrophe." He claims "the dialogue was atrocious" and that Kubrick added a happy ending (!) to make it commercial. Douglas hit the roof, threw the script across the room and told him they were going with the original script, "not this shit." Years later, Kubrick would annoy Douglas by telling people Douglas was only an employee on the film.

Also, during the discussion about what to do about the screenwriting credit for Spartacus, which belonged to the blacklisted Dalton Trumbo, Kubrick horrified Douglas by offering his own name as screenwriter. The next day, Douglas announced Trumbo publicly. Again, years later, Kubrick would annoy those involved by badmouthing the film.

There's a bit more, mostly unflattering stuff about Kubrick's ego while acknowledging his talent, but if you're a fan, it's definitely worth checking the index of The Ragman's Son for Kubrick's name.
posted by mediareport at 5:56 AM on March 9, 2008

Be sure to also check out "Citizen Kubrick", a terrific article about Kubrick's life and work at Childwickbury Manor, his home in Hertfordshire, outside London (previously discussed here). Kubrick's obsession with organizing his vast personal archive is described at length. And here are photos of Kubrick at his home in 1984 with one of his filing systems.
posted by New Frontier at 6:33 AM on March 9, 2008

Thank you, New Frontier.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:43 AM on March 9, 2008

It is okay, smoke some weed beforehand you should be okay. No really
posted by geoff. at 7:54 AM on March 9, 2008

Oh oops, that was to the Gnarls Barkley post. If you smoke weed during a Kubrick movie you should be fine too.
posted by geoff. at 7:58 AM on March 9, 2008

I don't think even weed would help "Eyes Wide Shut" geoff.
I did not feel okay after watching it.

Interesting to read that he didn't work with storyboards.
posted by Busithoth at 9:16 AM on March 9, 2008

Spielberg and the illustrator Chris Baker (a.k.a. "Fangorn") recall their experiences with Kubrick developing what eventually became "A.I.".
posted by New Frontier at 9:33 AM on March 9, 2008

Primo post, New Frontier. Matthew Modine's joke at the NYTimes link is precious.
posted by McLir at 9:52 AM on March 9, 2008

mediareport: According to the Jim Thompson bio Savage Art* that shit draft was apparently JT's first go at the script. Allegedly, Douglas was only aware of the second and third drafts at that time, and Kubrick resurrected the first - in which Dax was less prominent and noble - in an act of creative brinkmanship.

*Which, oddly enough, was right beside The Ragman's Son on my biography shelf!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:17 AM on March 9, 2008

Matthew Modine's joke at the NYTimes link is precious.

You should check out Modine's Full Metal Jacket Diary. Lots of stories like that from the making of the movie, plus a lot of beautiful pictures.
posted by Rangeboy at 10:36 AM on March 9, 2008

Gustav Hasford, the author of The Short-Timers and co-screenwriter of Full Metal Jacket, had a lot to say about Stanley Kubrick. He died in 1993. His life is summed up fairly well in Mangling Frail Civilian Sensibilities , an article published in 2002. has much more about the writing of the screenplay, Stanley Kubrick and Michael Herr scattered around in a number of interviews and letters. It also has the entire text of The Short-Timers and the sequel to it, as well as most of what he wrote.

Gus Hasford was Private Joker and life for Private Joker after he returned from Vietnam was not very pretty. If you are interested, it is there to read.
posted by Slacktastic at 12:27 PM on March 9, 2008

Heh. I've always found Ian Watsons story about Kubrick toying with the idea of doing a Warhammer 40K film super amusing.
posted by Artw at 6:33 PM on March 9, 2008

God bless you all. See you next Wednesday.
posted by Curry at 10:02 PM on March 9, 2008

Thanks for the interesting bit about Paths of Glory, Alvy. Always worth getting another reminder to read Hollywood bios with a grain of salt.
posted by mediareport at 12:02 AM on March 10, 2008

Dear god is that Gus Hasford bio sad. I just found out that the writer (I didnt't even know it was based on a book) of one of this century's great films had his life ruined and eventually drank himself to death because of overdue library books.
I'd like to go find that Blooper sequel sometime this week, the article says its out of print but I'm gonna search ... I feel like I should do something to commemorate.
posted by mannequito at 12:15 AM on March 10, 2008

On the flipside, I've had what I thought was a trashy pulp sci-fi book sitting on my shelf for the better part of a year. I was just getting ready to ditch it before reading this article and realising that Brian Aldiss worked on a script with Kubrick, and therefore may be worth reading.
posted by mannequito at 12:16 AM on March 10, 2008

That Herr piece is fantastic. Thanks for the links.
posted by digaman at 10:26 AM on March 10, 2008

>It also has the entire text of The Short-Timers and the sequel to it, as well as most of what he wrote.

Whoa. Thanks for that!
posted by damn dirty ape at 3:40 PM on March 10, 2008

What kickarse post.
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:50 AM on March 11, 2008

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