Stanley Kubrick’s Unfinished Work May Get Finished

Published 6 years ago by , Updated June 27th, 2013 at 3:08 pm,

stanley kubrick Stanley Kubricks Unfinished Work May Get Finished

Quick list of people that have continued to produce art, even after they’ve passed on: Elvis, Tupac, Jacko, Kurt Cobain, Bob Marely, Biggie, Heath Ledger. Each of these is famous for kicking the bucket and continuing to be productive, long after their passing.  Well, now you can add one more illustrious name to that list… maybe.

Stanley Kubrick’s research documents for his unfinished film The Aryan Papers, were recently displayed at an exhibition.  Artists Jane and Louise Wilson spent a great deal of time scouring Kubrick’s research for this film and put together a piece that not only builds on the late auteur’s efforts, but also the story of the main character, and the work of that character’s casted performer. As well, these documents were put on display at the Edinburgh Festival for attendees to see.

It is thought that in his research for The Aryan Papers – which is based on the novel Wartime by Louis Begley, about a woman who flees Nazi-occupied Poland with her nephew – Kubrick become despondent (thought there were other contributing factors) and as a result, abandoned the project. But not before he’d invested months and long hours researching in the obsessive, perfectionist fashion that made films like Spartacus, A Clockwork Orange, and Full Metal Jacket the seminal works they have become.  Recently, the family of Kubrick expressed their interest in finishing this long-abandoned project.

The Aryan Papers spent almost twenty years in development, and finally entered pre-production in the early 90s, when Kubrick invested eight months of his life obsessively trying to get the film right.  He wrote the screenplay, scouted possible locations in the Czech town of Brno, and even cast the Dutch actress, Johanna ter Steege as the lead character, Aunt Tania. The process went so far as to costume test the actress:

johannablacktest Stanley Kubricks Unfinished Work May Get Finished

clockforward Stanley Kubricks Unfinished Work May Get Finished

The film was set to be released in the early 90s, but with the release of Schindler’s List Kubrick felt that the public may not be prepared or able to handle another hard-hitting Holocaust movie, and pulled the plug.  Kubrick’s brother-in-law and sometimes-producer, Jan Halran, said: “ I regret it never got made but it was a decision made by Kubrick and Warner Bros, probably very wisely.”

However, he feels that now seems to be the appropriate time for another Holocaust film, potentially with Ang Lee at the helm.  But is this really the best idea?  While there isn’t an overwhelming shadow of Oscar potential to contend with like there was with Schindler’s List, the past year and a half or so has already seen a slew of Holocaust films, including The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas, Defiance, and Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Inglourious Basterds. However, a postmortem Kubrick piece hasn’t been seen since AI: Artificial Intelligence, which was co-captained by the director who originally sunk the project in the first place, Steven Speilberg. While AI was a Kubrick piece in spirit, it did NOT meet the expectations of so many of his fans.

And it turns out The Aryan Papers isn’t the only Kubrick piece in talks for reanimation. Rumors have circulated that Kubricks Lunatic at Large may be receiving some attention as well.  So what do you think?  Should Kubrick’s spirit be brought back, or should we leave cinematic history alone before mistakes are made and the memory of one of the art form’s greats is potentially tarnished?

Source:  Empire

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  1. I remember reading about AI years before Kubrick even died and I thought the Spielberg film was very good. Ang Lee would be a superb choice and I’d be interested in seeing it. Of course, I hope Lee will put his own signature on it.


  2. A.I. Was my favorite film the year it came out.
    A lot of people couldn’t grasp it.

    Personally I couldn’t care less about this Holocaust project. That subject doesn’t interest me.

  3. I agree with Heath that A.I. was a great film. Some said the ending was unbearably cheesy, but it reminded me of David Lynch, remember the scene in Blue Velvet, when Sandy talks about the Robins carrying love on their wings? Most of all, the heart-tearing love (or need to be loved) of David was explained as a “conditioning”, and nothing could be more thought-provoking and therefore Kubrick-like, imho.

    A director needs to have artistic freedom, that was Kubricks conviction. So, of course, Ang Lee should definitely make his own movie.

    Excuse my poor English.

  4. There was, and will for all time be, only one Kubrick. That’s it, the end. A.I. was a mawkish mess, and I doubt if it is anywhere near the movie the great man had in mind, with all due respect to Spielberg. Let’s leave it at that, ok? Certainly if there’s good source material then let someone have a go, but it will NEVER be a Kubrick movie. At best Kubrick’s involvement should amount to no more than a “Based on an idea by Stanley Kubrick” billing in the closing credits. To say this will be a “Kubrick” movie would be like taking a Vegas Elvis tribute act, record him singing some songs that maybe Elvis was considering recording before he died, and then saying that it is a new recording by the King!! No no no!!By all means make the movie, but it will NOT be a Stanley Kubrick production.

  5. Kubrick never had much luck with being beaten to the finishing line by other movies (even Full Metal Jacket had much of its thunder stolen by Platoon the previous year). I wouldn’t mind seeing what Kubrick was going to do with his movie about Napoleon, before he shelved it when Waterloo came out with Rod Steiger in the title role.

    Without Kubrick’s unique mind and filming methods, what’s the point, though? As Irishscribe says about Elvis, it’s like colouring in a Da Vinci sketch: might be vaguely pleasant to the eye, but what is it now, exactly? A coloured-in Da Vinci sketch.

  6. oh that would be awesome, shcindler’s list, defiance, pianist, boy in stryped pajamas and even inglorious basterd were great films

  7. Obviously the Crying Critic has never watched LEXX,,,

    790 was always negative. I’m trying to change that image. :-)

  8. LOL! You can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs…

  9. @irishscribe, Big Dentist.
    You are right, there won´t be another Kubrick. My observation is that among those who consider him not just a good film director but one of the greatest ever – the minority – are a few who don´t find a comparison to daVinci inappropriate (about as many as daVinci admirers who see the richness of his work to the proper extent). To us an “adaptation” can work like Gus van Sants “Psycho”, not anything remarkble if it wasn´t to prove (to us few) how mediocre 99% of films really are.

  10. I’m fine with the idea of Ang Lee adapting a seperate film adaptation of Wartime Lies. But leave the Kubrick material alone, it’s better off left to are imaginations.