How awesome do NASA's new tailored Starliner astronaut suits look, right?! Designed by Boeing, to be worn by astronauts going to and from the International Space Station on their new Starliner transport ship beginning in 2018, i09 wasn't kidding around when they said the suits were "straight out of 2001: A Space Odyssey"! And they're not just stylish... they'll keep you alive! New features include an upgraded helmet, which is incorporated into the spacesuit, touchscreen-sensitive gloves, and built-in ventilation. Think they'll come in a size XXXXXXL?
Feast your eyes on this custom drum kit based on the carpet patterns in The Shining!
***If any of you Kubrick fanatics out there have some spare change burning a hole in your pockets, the man's French vacation house in the Dordogne valley, about five hours south of Paris, has been put up for sale at an eminently reasonable $1.6 million. Photos and other details are available at the link. If you're reading this and you do end up buying it, kindly invite me over, as I speak the language and am a pretty decent cook, and I've been told I'm not too bad of a conversationalist, to boot!
***Last month, Michael Moorcock--another man whose work I greatly admire--wrote an intriguing essay about Kubrick's relationship with Arthur C. Clark for the New Statesman. Entitled "The Odd Couple of Science Fiction", the piece gained some notoriety on social media over a passing mention about Clark being "brought to tears" at the film's premiere over some of the changes Kubrick had made to the story without telling him. Of course, in context, this betrayal comes across as a lot less dramatic than the online click-hunters would have us believe. Anyway, it's a great remembrance that every fan of both Clark and Kubrick owes it to themselves to read. It's full of great insights and interesting moments, and Moorcock even addresses the sordid rumors about Clark's sexual proclivities in as decisive and definitive a manner possible at this late (i.e. posthumous) date. There is one moment that Moorcock relates that I'd like to share with you all, and it comes from the essay's conclusion:
I have one other memory of that visit to the 2001 set. After being given a tour of the studio by the MGM publicist, I was led towards Kubrick's office just as the director entered the main building. I prepared to meet the man who had contacted me a year or so earlier. I had many questions. Perhaps he would confirm some of my guesses.Not very flattering to Stanley, for sure, but the authenticity of this account gives credence to everything that comes before.
Kubrick's eyes went straight to me and did not leave me as he spoke brusquely to the publicist.
"Get these people off the set," he said.
We were never face to face again.
***A short film, entitled Kubrick by Candlelight, aims to recreate the filming of Kubrick's Barry Lyndon in Ireland. Here's the film's Kickstarter, where you can learn more about the project. In this interview with the Irish Film and Television Network, director David O'Reilly--whose day job involves location scouting for such A-list projects as Star Wars: Rogue One--discusses all of the complexities and challenges of filming the project in the Irish midlands, as well as the lengths he and his crew went in order to be as true as possible to the source material. Finally, though there isn't much here of interest to Kubrick fans, here's a video of cast member Al Foran having fun impersonating various celebrities while in full costume and makeup:
***In this interview with the UK Independent, UNKLE's James Lavelle reminisces about his acclaimed project from last year, Daydreaming with... Stanley Kubrick, which saw more than 60 artists participate in a celebration of Kubrick's work, held at Somerset House. He also discusses his latest venture, Daydreaming with UNKLE presents... THE ROAD: SOHO. It looks pretty interesting. All my UK peeps, go check it out!
Okay, so I've finally seen Passengers, Morten Tyldum's morally problematic deep space romance flick, and I have to say, I kinda dug it. And not because of the much ballyhoo'd Kubrick references, which, to be honest, pretty much boiled down to just the somewhat ghostly robot bartender in the vast ship's Shining-like ballroom bar. In this interview with Deadline Hollywood, however, Passengers sound editor Will Files explains how Kubrick inspired both he and the director:
I’m a big fan of Stanley Kubrick, and as it turns out, Morten is also a big fan. I’ve always liked the way Kubrick uses sound, as well as the image. He tends to have a sparse soundtrack—they tend to not be very cluttered— so we really wanted to try to use that, not maybe as a point of reference for how the actual sounds would sound, but in terms of the approach to the sound, keeping it elegant in its simplicity. We wanted everything to sound effortless, and like it was really there. A real sense of reality. As opposed to a film like Star Wars, which is all about being stylized for the point of having fun, this movie was all about being stylized for the point of giving the audience a certain feeling about this ship. We wanted this ship to really have a character.So there you go. Personally, I thought Passengers was a somewhat intriguing story surrounded by an absolutely fantastic sensory spectacle, making it a very fitting second half of a double feature movie night alongside Prometheus. You can use the former to come down from the grisly exhaustion brought on by the latter, and also pretend that they take place in the same fictional universe!
Here's a great video of Kubrick nut Peter Jackson telling the story about how fellow Kubrick fanatic Adam Savage helped him to understand just exactly how awesome his HAL-9000 prop from 2001 really was. This Nerdist article goes into a bit more detail.
***Guess which films take the Number One and Number Two spots on this Cheat Sheet list of authors who hated the movies made from their books? I'll give you two hints: One didn't like the fact that the last chapter was left out of the movie, and the other has been whining about it to whoever will listen for the better part of
In this Telegraph UK account, Andrew Birkin describes going from being Stanley Kubrick's teaboy to being one his most trusted assistants.
Kubrick had a horror of flying, so 2001 was made at MGM studios in Borehamwood. I was 19 when I started work as a runner. I was soon barred from the set because I got so distracted: the production office would send me to get 20 boxes of envelopes from the store and I would pass the set and be totally mesmerised and not come back for hours.
One night, Kubrick was having a meeting about the Dawn of Man sequence and I was on hand to supply cups of tea. Kubrick said, ‘Gee, fellas, I can’t believe there isn’t a desert in England.’ The art department said there wasn’t, but I said, ‘I know where there’s one.’
And Kubrick said, ‘Who are you?’ ‘I’m the tea boy; here’s your cup of tea, sir.’ I vaguely remembered seeing a picture of Formby Sands in an old geography book. The next day they sent me off to photograph it with a Polaroid.
Unfortunately the picture in the book had been taken 40 years earlier when it was all sand and no trees – but if you ducked down low enough and avoided the nuclear reactor in one direction and the high-rise flats in another, it could still arguably look like a desert.
Somebody told me to bump up the photos with production ideas, so I stayed up all night in a Liverpool hotel, then caught the milk train back to the studio, put the lot on Kubrick’s desk – and then dashed back up to Liverpool because I wanted it to look like a miracle.
And indeed at 11am I got a phone call: ‘Come back to the studio – we’re getting you a union ticket [almost impossible to get at that time], and Stanley has doubled your pay.’ I arrived back and was summoned into the conference room.
There were the art department, looking sheepish, and Kubrick, who was really enjoying himself. ‘Hi,’ he said. ‘Andrew? Is that your name?’ Then he asked the art department why they’d spent £40,000 and many months looking for a desert when the tea boy had come up with one in 24 hours at a total cost of £10, six shillings and eight pence.Birkin went on to a very successful, Kubrick-influenced career as a producer, writer and sometime director. Among his films, the most Kubrickean are The Burning Secret and Cement Garden, both of which he directed, and Perfume, which he co-wrote. Kubrick had expressed interest in filming both The Burning Secret, based on a story by Stefan Zweig, and Perfume, based on the novel by Patrick Suskind.
***Speaking of long lost Kubrick stuff, Cinephilia And Beyond brings us an interview with Kubrick from 1980, conducted by Vincente Molina Foix, and reprinted for the first time ever in that must-have Taschen tome, The Kubrick Archives. Purchase from the link!
***Goddamnit, here's yet another book I'm going to have to pick up, read, and write a review for: Kubrick's Game, which the linked i09.com review compares favorably to Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code and Ernie Cline's Ready Player One. Compounding my misery over this is the fact that I, myself, have long wanted to tackle such a project. Thanks, procrastination--and also, most likely, a lack of the necessary talent and know-how--for ruining yet another life goal.
In this Cumberland Pennsylvania Sentinel "Senior Moment" op-ed piece, William Parkinson describes the time he and his navy shipmates watched Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb for the first time, the year it was released:
The audience was aghast. Moviegoers packing the theater at the U.S. Naval Facilities in Yokosuka, Japan, were literally stunned as Peter Sellers, playing the mentally deranged and physically crippled Dr. Strangelove, rose from his wheelchair to proclaim the benefits of global destruction — to the president of the United States — and shouting, “Mein Führer! I can walk!” There followed a cascade of nuclear explosions that blew the world to bits.
That evening in 1964, the crowd that slowly left the theater was strangely silent; obviously disturbed by what they had witnessed on the screen. They had expected a comedy, of sorts, but coming less than a year after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the growing concern — and involvement — in the war in Vietnam and increasing sabre rattling by the Soviet Union, the sailors, Marines and their families wandering into that night more than half a century ago had been shaken.
Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” played differently with a military and naval audience than it did with the critics back in the states or with the hometown movie house crowd. Those of us then in uniform had lived for years with the harshest of realities — that things could vanish in a nuclear instant. Such were the facts of the Cold War.
The rest of it is really great, too, comparing Kubrick's terrifyingly educational satiric take on the the technocratic Powers That Be to today's far more (apparently) chaotic situation, in the hope of finding either some answers, or a direction in which to look for them. The search goes on.
And finally for today's edition of the KNIB's, I present 2001's HAL-9000 and Her's Samantha, having an interesting chat about love, consciousness, and human nature. Enjoy!