You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Back to IndieWire

Watch: Alan Cumming Says Stanley Kubrick “Did A Bad Thing” Marketing ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ In 12-Minute Talk

Watch: Alan Cumming Says Stanley Kubrick "Did A Bad Thing" Marketing 'Eyes Wide Shut' In 12-Minute Talk

Eyes Wide Shut” was Stanley Kubrick’s last film. It’s surreal, polarizing, somewhat perplexing, and incredibly cerebral. It’s also a total mindbender. So what was it like to work on the film, with one of cinema’s legends? Alan Cumming spoke about his experiences for a dozen minutes at the TIFF Bell Lightbox recently, and the truths he revealed shed a lot of light on Kubrick’s process.

“Don’t fall asleep, ‘cause you’ll miss me. Don’t blink too long; I’m in it for a very short time,” Cumming says. Despite the brief cameo he has as a desk clerk in the film, he claims his audition process stretched out over months. Cumming was called to try out for the part, but wasn’t presented with a script. Rather, he had to audition based on the general idea of the scene he would be in. And then he’d get a call back. And another later. And another. Finally, he was asked rather circuitously, if he happened to be cast and happened to be interested, would he happen to be available?

So how, with such a prolonged, carrot-dangling audition process, was Cumming available when production finally began? “Basically, I was like hanging out and doing a lot of drugs, so I had time to do Stanley’s film. Or to wait around for Stanley’s film to happen.”

It wasn’t until the actor actually appeared on set did he finally meet Kubrick, even after all the back and forth. Cumming says he refused to kowtow to Kubrick, who was known for being domineering over his cast and crew, especially if he felt he could wield power over them. In fact, rather than feel harangued, Cumming says he had so much fun on the film, he “guffawed for an entire week.”

Cumming offered an interesting take on the film’s reception, which left early viewers feeling confused and even cheated. “I think Stanley did a bad thing in the way that the trailer that was released before it came out. The whole world was so mesmerized by the idea that Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman were going to be having actual sex on film, and he kind of contributed to that.” Cumming continues, “I think, in a funny sort of way, people were disappointed when they saw it, because they had expectations for something else, which I think Stanley engendered by that trailer.”

Watch the entire discussion (which also includes an anecdote about “The Shining”) below, along with the original teaser for “Eyes Wide Shut.” 


This Article is related to: News and tagged ,