Tom Cruise’s performance in Stanley Kubrick’s final feature “Eyes Wide Shut” is one of his most famous roles, but the A-list actor was far from the first name Kubrick considered for the part of Dr. William “Bill” Harford. David Mikics’ new biography “Stanley Kubrick: American Filmmaker” reveals the original wish list Kubrick dreamed up for casting his male lead in “Eyes Wide Shut” (via The Independent), and the names are as far from Cruise as possible. Mikics writes that Kubrick “fantasized about casting an actor who would have a comedian’s resilience.” For this reason, the list included Steve Martin, Woody Allen, Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty, Alan Alda, Albert Brooks, Bill Murray, Tom Hanks, and Sam Shepard.
Mikics discovered the original “Eyes Wide Shut” casting wish list “in a notebook from the Eighties,” years before Kubrick would go into development on the project. The author adds that Kubrick was thinking about casting “Eyes Wide Shut” as early as the 1970s. Mikics writes, “Significantly, when Kubrick finally made his version of [‘Eyes Wide Shut’], he cast an actor without a comic bone in his body, the earnest, highly deliberate Tom Cruise. Comedy would have been a weapon for the hero’s self-defense; Kubrick makes him, in the end, defenseless.”
Cruise was famously cast in “Eyes Wide Shut” opposite his then-wife Nicole Kidman, making the film an instant sensation with the press. Kubrick spent over a year filming the project and died less than a week after showing Cruise and Kidman his finished cut of the project. “Eyes Wide Shut” opened in July 1999 and was considered a moderate box office hit with $55 million in the U.S.
“Stanley Kubrick: American Filmmaker” is now available for pre-order. In a review published this week by The New York Times, critic Dwight Garner calls the biography “a cool, cerebral book about a cool, cerebral talent. This is not a full-dress biography — there have been several of Kubrick — but a brisk study of his films, with enough of the life tucked in to add context as well as brightness and bite.” The book will be released on August 18, courtesy of Yale University Press.