Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Review: 'Deadpool' Starring Ryan Reynolds, T.J. Miller, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, And Gina Carano Review: 'Deadpool' Starring Ryan Reynolds, T.J. Miller, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, And Gina Carano How Quentin Tarantino & Robert Rodriguez Made Josh Brolin's 'No Country For Old Men' Audition Tape How Quentin Tarantino & Robert Rodriguez Made Josh Brolin's 'No Country For Old Men' Audition Tape 'MacGyver' Movie Reboot And New TV Series Pilot On The Way 'MacGyver' Movie Reboot And New TV Series Pilot On The Way Josh Brolin Says He's Starring With Jessica Chastain In A Movie About George Jones & Tammy Wynette Josh Brolin Says He's Starring With Jessica Chastain In A Movie About George Jones & Tammy Wynette Watch: Robert Richardson Explains Why He Took His Name Off 'World War Z' And More In 58-Minute Cinematographer Talk Watch: Robert Richardson Explains Why He Took His Name Off 'World War Z' And More In 58-Minute Cinematographer Talk George Miller Says He Originally Wanted The Music In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' To Only Come From The Doof Warrior George Miller Says He Originally Wanted The Music In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' To Only Come From The Doof Warrior Stephen King Says Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "Like A Big, Beautiful Cadillac With No Engine Inside It" Stephen King Says Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "Like A Big, Beautiful Cadillac With No Engine Inside It" Review: Coen Brothers' 'Hail, Caesar!' Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, And More Review: Coen Brothers' 'Hail, Caesar!' Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, And More Naomi Watts Confirmed For David Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks’ Revival; Tom Sizemore Joins Cast Naomi Watts Confirmed For David Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks’ Revival; Tom Sizemore Joins Cast Watch: Quentin Tarantino Talks 5 Movies To Watch Before 'The Hateful Eight' In 7-Minute Video Watch: Quentin Tarantino Talks 5 Movies To Watch Before 'The Hateful Eight' In 7-Minute Video SAG Award Winners: ‘Spotlight’ Wins Best Ensemble, Leonardo DiCaprio, Idris Elba & Brie Larson Also Score Big SAG Award Winners: ‘Spotlight’ Wins Best Ensemble, Leonardo DiCaprio, Idris Elba & Brie Larson Also Score Big The 25 Most Anticipated New TV Shows Of 2016 The 25 Most Anticipated New TV Shows Of 2016 The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 The 20 Best Films Of 2015 The 20 Best Films Of 2015 The 25 Best Action Movies Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Action Movies Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Sci-Fi Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Sci-Fi Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Terry Gilliam Talks The "Simplistic" Films Of Steven Spielberg, Dumbing Down Of Audiences, 'Don Quixote' Start Date & More Terry Gilliam Talks The "Simplistic" Films Of Steven Spielberg, Dumbing Down Of Audiences, 'Don Quixote' Start Date & More

The Lost & Unmade Projects Of Stanley Kubrick

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

17

Foucault's Pendulum Perfume
"Lunatic At Large”
Stanley Kubrick was always a big fan of pulp crime fiction author Jim Thompson. He called Thompson’s pulpy noir “The Killer Inside Me,” about a sadistic, psychopathic, Texas sheriff, "probably the most chilling and believable first-person story of a criminally warped mind I have ever encountered.” Kubrick loved the writer so much that he got him to adapt Lionel White's crime novel "Clean Break" (which became Kubrick's "The Killing”) and Thompson also penned “Paths Of Glory.” Though Thompson received little credit for either screenplay, they would work together once more on a from-scratch crime project called “Lunatic At Large.” 

Set in New York in 1956, ‘Lunatic’ tells the story of an an ex-carnival worker with serious anger-management issues, and the nervous, attractive barfly he picks up in a Hopper-esque tavern. The screenplay included a car chase over a railroad crossing with a train bearing down, and a romantic interlude in a spooky, deserted mountain lodge. One of the film’s biggest set pieces was a nighttime carnival sequence in which the lead female, lost and afraid, wanders among the tents and encounters a sideshow’s worth of familiar carnie types: the Alligator Man, the Mule-Faced Woman, the Midget Monkey Girl, the Human Blockhead.

Kubrick was pleased with the finished screenplay, but became sidetracked with “Spartacus” and never revisited it. Years later it was lost, but Kubrick still hoped to make it. “I remember Stanley talking about ‘Lunatic,’ ” his son-in-law Philip Hobbs told the The New York Times in 2006. “He was always saying he wished he knew where it was, because it was such a great idea.” The screenplay was discovered years later, and Stephen R. Clarke took a run at it. In 2010 it was announced that Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell were reportedly attached to star in the new iteration, but there has been zero movement since.

“The Passion Flower Hotel”/”Perfume”/”Colette”/”Foucault’s Pendulum”
Over the years there have been a number of other projects Kubrick eyed. While he only made two films with producer James B. Harris -- “The Killing” and “Lolita” -- they kept in touch, and from time to time talked about collaborating again. One such proposed project was “The Passion Flower Hotel” according to “Stanley Kubrick: A Biography.” It would return them to erotic territory, with the story centering a group of young women from an all-girls school who sell sexual services to the boys at an all-boys school down the road.

The book also notes that prior to tackling “Wartime Lies,” Kubrick briefly flirted with idea of helming an adaptation of Peter Suskind’s novel “Perfume.” Tom Tykwer would eventually direct the movie, with a screenplay by Andrew Birkin, who helmed “Burning Secret,” another book adaptation Kubrick had toyed with. Also in the pre-”Wartime Lies” phase, Kubrick was apparently considering a biopic on the life of the colorful French novelist Colette.

Finally, Kubrick had at one time inquired about turning Umberto Eco’s “Foucault’s Pendulum” into a movie. However, the author still felt stung over Jean Jaques-Annaud’s not-so-well-received 1986 movie “The Name Of The Rose,” and Kubrick’s request was rejected...but not by Eco directly. The word came from one of the writer’s associates, who figured Eco would have turned it down. But this wasn’t the case, and Eco’s efforts to reach Kubrick didn’t pan out. The author would later share his regret that the pair weren’t able to collaborate.

Other projects offered to Kubrick include "The Lord Of The Rings," which John Lennon approached the filmmaker with when The Beatles were attached. Kubrick turned it down, citing the enormity of the project. Kubrick also considered an adaptation of Robert Marshall's non-fiction, "All The King's Men," optioning the book that told the true story of the MI6's attempt to dismantle Winston Churchill's Special Operation's Executive.

Thoughts, opinions? Which of these Kubrick projects are you sad didn't get realized, and which do you hope get brought back to life? Let us know in the comments section below. --additional reporting by Rodrigo Perez


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.


E-Mail Updates