Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Break The Law With This Gangster Movie Supercut Watch: Break The Law With This Gangster Movie Supercut Johnny Depp's Misfire 'Mortdecai' Given PG-13 Cut For VOD Release Johnny Depp's Misfire 'Mortdecai' Given PG-13 Cut For VOD Release Abel Ferrara Says Wild Bunch & IFC Films Are "Sidestepping" The Issue Of Releasing "An Unauthorized Version" Of His Film Abel Ferrara Says Wild Bunch & IFC Films Are "Sidestepping" The Issue Of Releasing "An Unauthorized Version" Of His Film Watch: Gorgeous Supercut Puts Together The First And Final Frames Of Films From Kubrick, Malick, Fincher, And More Watch: Gorgeous Supercut Puts Together The First And Final Frames Of Films From Kubrick, Malick, Fincher, And More SXSW Review: ‘Twinsters’ Is A Real-Life Doc About Siblings Separated At Birth SXSW Review: ‘Twinsters’ Is A Real-Life Doc About Siblings Separated At Birth Exclusive: Katherine Heigl Schedules Sex In Clip From 'Home Sweet Hell' Plus Watch The First 9 Minutes Of The Movie Exclusive: Katherine Heigl Schedules Sex In Clip From 'Home Sweet Hell' Plus Watch The First 9 Minutes Of The Movie What 'Blade Runner 2' Can Learn From Successful Sci-Fi Sequels What 'Blade Runner 2' Can Learn From Successful Sci-Fi Sequels Review: 'Focus' Starring Will Smith And Margot Robbie Review: 'Focus' Starring Will Smith And Margot Robbie Joaquin Phoenix Says 'Iron Man' Was "Fantastic," Sidesteps 'Doctor Strange' Rumors Joaquin Phoenix Says 'Iron Man' Was "Fantastic," Sidesteps 'Doctor Strange' Rumors Watch: Hydra Leaks Another Clip From 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Featuring Tony Stark & Steve Rogers Watch: Hydra Leaks Another Clip From 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Featuring Tony Stark & Steve Rogers BFI London Film Festival Review: 'Monsters: Dark Continent,' The Sequel To Gareth Edwards' Sci-Fi Breakout BFI London Film Festival Review: 'Monsters: Dark Continent,' The Sequel To Gareth Edwards' Sci-Fi Breakout TV: Bill Murray Reteams With Sofia Coppola For Christmas Special; Matt Damon & Ben Affleck Go To Syfy & More TV: Bill Murray Reteams With Sofia Coppola For Christmas Special; Matt Damon & Ben Affleck Go To Syfy & More Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... Ranked: All The ‘X-Men’ Movie Mutant Characters From Best To Worst Ranked: All The ‘X-Men’ Movie Mutant Characters From Best To Worst 15 Thematic Trilogies From 15 Directors 15 Thematic Trilogies From 15 Directors First Listen: Michael Fassbender Sings "I Love You All' From Offbeat Comedy 'Frank' First Listen: Michael Fassbender Sings "I Love You All' From Offbeat Comedy 'Frank' The 15 Best Documentaries Of 2013 The 15 Best Documentaries Of 2013 15 Of The Most Impressive Actor Transformations 15 Of The Most Impressive Actor Transformations 10 Songs From 'Batman' Soundtracks You Probably Forgot About 10 Songs From 'Batman' Soundtracks You Probably Forgot About

The Lost & Unmade Projects Of Stanley Kubrick

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist March 4, 2013 at 11:59AM

17

Wartime Lies
"Aryan Papers" (aka "Wartime Lies")
Another intensively researched project like “Napoleon,” this one actually very nearly happened, with casting in place and shooting practically imminent before Kubrick pulled the plug. One could write reams about this particular Holocaust tale, but we’ll try keep it simple.

Based on the book by Louis Begley Jr., Kubrick penned a script entitled “Aryan Papers,” set in Poland during the Nazi occupation of WWII, telling the story through the eyes of a ten-year-old who recalls how his Aunt protected him by passing them off as Catholics in order to survive. Development started in the early 1990s (though the subject matter was something Kubrick had long wanted to tackle), and according to “Kubrick: The Definitive Edition,” Joseph Mazzello (“Jurassic Park”) would be playing the young boy. And it seems at least two actresses were committed to lead the movie -- Uma Thurman and Johanna Ter Steege.

According to Thurman, "I was going to make a film with him -- for a long time I was scheduled to make a film with him," she told MTV about "Aryan Papers" in 2008. "I was contracted to do it and things happened and he shelved the film. He never made the film."

"It was devastating because it was an incredible part," she reflected. "It would have been the part of my career, the best part I ever had been offered or had written for me, or anything."

Meanwhile, the lesser known Steege (perhaps most familiar to audiences for her role in George Sluzier’s “The Vanishing”) revealed she was kept on the hook, with promises that cameras would roll. She declined other work all with the expectation that the movie would shoot, with continual confirmation from Kubrick and Harlan. But as Thurman noted, the movie was eventually canceled. "We know that [Kubrick] was a perfectionist. We also know the dangerous thing for a perfectionist is that, at a certain point, he comes to a zero," Steege told The Independent in 2009, while Christiane Kubrick, the filmmaker’s widow, noted that the filmmaker became depressed "because of all the research he did" about the Holocaust.

And indeed, the research had another effect on the movie. “We spent nearly two years, day in day out, researching that. And in that same period Spielberg got the idea for 'Schindler's List,' did the pre-production, made the film, released it, and we were still shuffling index cards,” Kubrick’s assistant Tony Frewin told Vice. Kubrick, who had seen "Platoon" come out around the same time as "Full Metal Jacket," was wary of having his Holocaust picture and Spielberg's come out around the same time, and ultimately shelved it.

"Eyes Wide Shut" co-writer Frederic Raphael has long spun an anecdote about Kubrick, that he had dismissed "Schindler's List" by saying (something to the effect that) it was about "success," while the Holocaust is actually about "six million people who get killed." Whether or not this is actually true is unclear, but one should also note that the Kubrick family have largely dismissed Raphael's memoir about working with Kubrick, "Eyes Wide Open."

Again, "Aryan Papers" didn't get made, but Warner Bros. still has the rights to the book, and in 2005 William Monahan ("The Departed") was hired to write a new draft of the script. Meanwhile, Harlan has tossed out the idea of another filmmaker taking it on. "It would have to be really a good director. In the wrong hands, this would become a very cheap movie. But if Ang Lee wanted to do it, I would jump to the ceiling!" he told The Independent.

This article is related to: Features, Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, Napoleon, Ridley Scott, Ang Lee


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates