A “lost” screenplay written by filmmaker Stanley Kubrick has been unearthed.
Long before his death in 1999, the Full Metal Jacket director had adapted Stefan Zweig’s 1913 novella Burning Secret into a script that is reportedly so close to being completed that it could find its way to the big screen.
Kubrick’s 100-page plus screenplay – co-written with novelist Calder Willingham in 1956 – follows a predatory man who befriends a young boy in order to seduce his married mother while residing in a spa resort.
It was found by Bangor University film professor Nathan Abrams who said: “Kubrick aficionados know he wanted to do it, [but] no one ever thought it was completed. We now have a copy and this proves that he had done a full screenplay.”
He added: “I couldn’t believe it. It’s so exciting. It was believed to have been lost.”
According to The Guardian, it’s marked with the stamp of MGM’s script department who may have cancelled the project when Kubrick breached his contract by signing up to WW1 classic Paths of Glory.
Abrams, however, believes the adultery storyline – which he describes as “the inverse of [Kubrick’s Nabokov adaptation] Lolita” – might have been too “risque” back in the Fifties, stating: “The child acts as an unwitting go-between for his mother and her would-be lover, making for a disturbing story with sexuality and child abuse churning beneath its surface.”
He adds that “it’s a full screenplay so could be completed by film-makers today.”
The script was discovered by Abrams during his research for book Eyes Wide Shut: Stanley Kubrick and the Making of His Final Film, which will be published next year. It is owned by the son of one of Kubrick’s former collaborators.
Kubrick, one of cinema’s most esteemed filmmakers, directed films including Spartacus, 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Shining. His death came months after he had completed work on Eyes Wide Shut – the source of the above book – which stars Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.[“Source-independent”]