Lost Worlds: The Films Kubrick Never Made

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The Independent Culture

Kubrick was obsessed with the French emperor and spent years planning a suitably epic film. The director constantly compared his method of film- making to the way the French emperor fought his battles in their strategy, planning and execution. Jack Nicholson was interested in playing the title role. Shooting was at one point scheduled for winter 1969, with MGM agreeing to back it, despite having suffered a number of expensive flops. However, it was dogged by delays and by 1974 was dead in the water.

Aryan Papers

In 1991, Kubrick bought the rights to a book, Wartime Lies, about a young Jewish boy who is forced to flee Poland when the Germans invade. He joins up with an aunt, and together they become involved in the black market. Kubrick sent out scouts to hunt down locations in Denmark for "Aryan Papers", as he called it, but his interest in the project gradually evaporated. Some say he abandoned it because of its similarities to Schindler's List, although that problem had never deterred him before; Vietnam epics Platoon and Hamburger Hill were both released before Full Metal Jacket.

2001: Part Two

Kubrick turned down an offer to direct the film of Arthur C Clarke's 2010: Odyssey Two in 1984, and the job instead went to Peter Hyams. There have been suggestions for years, though, that Kubrick had something special lined up for his fans when the year 2001 came around. One persistent rumour had him deep into a project which involved him shooting segments of the script for two months every five years, with the story following an actor as he aged in real life.


"AI" (Artificial Intelligence) was a fable set in the far future about an android searching for a way to become human (hence Kubrick's "Pinocchio" references). It was to be set in a flooded Manhattan, where the tops of the skyscrapers protruded from the waves. Kubrick had felt for a long time that special effects technology wasn't up to the job. In 1993, though, Jurassic Park convinced him the time had come. At one stage, Brian Aldiss, a writer Kubrick hired to work on the script, was sacked after breaching his contract by leaving the country without Kubrick's permission.