With the sudden splurge of interest in Stanley Kubrick’s work in the news — and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s complete retrospective of the director’s work screening throughout November and December — Nicole Kidman has added some teasing insight to the infamously reclusive filmmaker. The actress has the distinction of working closely with Kubrick during his final film, the erotic drama “Eyes Wide Shut,” which co-stars her then-husband Tom Cruise.
Recently speaking out to the Hollywood Reporter, Kidman paused from the promotion of her own current work to consider the Kubrick collaboration, the media’s insistence on connecting that film to the disintegration of her marriage to Cruise, her feelings on getting a chance to work with a “god-like” figure in the film world and her reaction to the film’s release being surrounded by death — Kubrick dying shortly after they wrapped and JFK Jr’s tragic plane crash the weekend of the film’s release. Ultimately, Kidman’s thoughts are an interesting dissection of a strange triangle between the married couple and this enigmatic and elusive directorial figure, which speaks volumes about the relationship between actor(s) and director itself.
“People thought that making the film was the beginning of the end of my marriage, but I don’t really think it was,” Kidman says in the piece. “Tom and I were close then, and it was very much the three of us. Onscreen, the husband and wife are at odds, and Stanley wanted to use our marriage as a supposed reality. That was Stanley: He used the movie as provocation, pretending it was our sex life — which we weren’t oblivious to, but obviously it wasn’t us. We both decided to dedicate ourselves to a great filmmaker and artist.”
Kubrick’s strong grip over both the blossoming film student and the seasoned and jaded cinema veteran has given him a cemented place in the history books as a consistent well of inspiration and influence. Even his many detractors admit to his often flawlessly executed composition and his effortless framing as being the backbone for some of the most stunningly portrait-like images in film, with contempories often trying to emulate them but rarely achieving the same raw and haunting effect.
Whether one holds him on a pedestal or finds his work tedious and self-indulgent there should be a collective excitement over the LACMA series, which covers “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “The Shining,” and “Barry Lyndon,” as well as his lesser-known early films, “Fear and Desire” and the noirs “Killer’s Kiss” and “The Killing,” which became included in The Criterion Collection just over a year ago. For those who want more, LACMA also extends its exhibit to include photographs Kubrick composed for Look Magazine, set models, costumes, props, annotated scripts and, most interestingly, looks at the two “lost” projects in his canon, “The Aryan Papers” and the much researched “Napoleon.”