Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kubrick - Not, in fact, a meglomaniac.

It's quite refreshing to watch the making of The Shining (directed by Vivian Kubrick, his daughter). In contrast to the mythicism that surrounds it, Kubrick comes across as a very normal guy. A director focused on his film, yes, but not a meglomaniac. Not by a long shot. In fact, everyone on set is relatively normal- even the actors, surprisingly. Jack Nicholson doesn't swagger around set in character. He waits till just before the camera turns over to warm himself up- in one example, by jumping up and down with his axe and telling himself 'ok, you're an axe murderer'.

Not insane. Just concentrating.
I don't know why I had always imagined a Kubrick set as a something unique. I had some impression of an extremely arty space, with minimal crew and a ranting madman at the helm. But no, it comes across as a regular set, with all the problems of a regular set ('Less snow!'). Kubrick chats with his cast and crew. He even finds a couple of shots there and then - I always figured he'd have everything worked out already. He directs Danny mid-shot. Yes, he's occasionally abrupt with Shelley Duvall, but from what I can see she needed it.

That everything is so casual and normal almost makes it doubly impressive that his films ended up being such controlled masterpieces.

As for the rumours of manipulation on 'Eyes Wide Shut', perhaps these too are misinformed. Or perhaps he just became a bastard in old age. A genius bastard.

Bastard or not, he was undoubtedly a genius.

Ps. - Danny Loyd (the kid in the film) was last spotted as a science teacher. How weird would it be to be taught by him?