Unveiling the Mask: The Making of Kubrick's 'Eyes Wide Shut'

Eyes Wide Shut, directed by Stanley Kubrick, is hard to imagine without Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in the lead roles

by Sededin Dedovic
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Unveiling the Mask: The Making of Kubrick's 'Eyes Wide Shut'
© Theo Wargo / Getty Images

The iconic drama "Eyes Wide Shut", directed by the legendary Stanley Kubrick, is undoubtedly synonymous with the stellar roles of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in the lead roles. Released in the late 90s, the film revolves around a frustrated New York couple whose lives are thrown into disarray.

However, an intriguing aspect lies in the fact that when Kubrick initially embarked on the project, he envisioned another actor for the male lead. According to Collider, Kubrick's original choice for the role of Dr. William Harford was not Tom Cruise, but the famous comedian Steve Martin.

Unconventional choices of the legendary director

In the biography "Stanley Kubrick: American Filmmaker" by David Mikis, it is revealed that Kubrick, known for his unconventional choices, dreamed of casting someone with a sense of comedy in the lead role.

Steve Martin and Woody Allen were also considered but also some other actors. In the late 70s and early 80s, Kubrick approached Steve Martin, offering him a synopsis of the project that would later become Eyes Wide Shut. After a phone conversation, Martin was even invited to Kubrick's estate in England.

However, despite the meeting, cooperation was not achieved.
Actual filming of Eyes Wide Shut did not begin until 1996, with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman eventually securing the lead roles after visiting Kubrick's estate. Interestingly, before Cruise and Kidman, Kubrick considered offering roles to Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger.

The production of the film lasted almost 400 days, and after its completion there were rumors about the effect of the film on Cruise and Kidman's marriage. In addition, some fans believe in the haunting aura surrounding the film, as Kubrick passed away shortly after watching the final cut with his family and cast.

"Eyes Wide Shut" remains a fascinating exploration of Kubrick's creative choices and the enigmatic world of Dr. Harford. The enduring mystery and appeal of Kubrick's vision in this film leave an indelible mark on cinematography.

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