There are few Hollywood directors who are as well-regarded as Stanley Kubrick in terms of their cinematic output. And there are few directors with a more fearsome reputation for their working methods than Kubrick. The notoriously perfectionist director famously reduced his leading lady Shelley Duvall close to a mental breakdown on the sets of The Shining. Nicole Kidman also worked with Kubrick on the 1999 psychological drama Eyes Wide Shut. In an interview with The New York Times, Kidman revealed shooting a nude scene for Kubrick's film was not as stressful as the director's reputation had led her to expect:
"When I went to work with Stanley Kubrick, he was like, 'I'm going to want full frontal nudity', and I was like, 'Ahh, I don't know. So we came up with a great agreement, which was contractual. He would show me the scenes with the nudity before they made it into the film. Then I could feel completely safe. I didn't say no to any of it. I'd wanted to make sure that it wasn't going to be me standing there nude and everyone laughing at me. I was protected, so I got to explore a complicated marriage and the way in which Tom's character is having those jealous images."
At the time when Eyes Wide Shut was being made, the movie's leading stars, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, were a married couple. Given the taxing nature of working for Kubrick, and the fact that they were portraying a couple struggling with interpersonal issues, one would think the experience of filming Eyes Wide Shut would be a tortuous one. But according to Kidman, Kubrick's fearsome reputation does not do justice to the actual nature of the man in his private life.
"[Tom and I] had two kids and were living in a trailer on the lot primarily, making spaghetti because Stanley liked to eat with us sometimes. Stanley, he wasn't torturous. He was arduous in that he would shoot a lot. But I'd sit on the floor of his office and talk, and we'd watch animal videos. He said animals were so much nicer than human beings. Though I do remember we were watching a wildlife thing where you saw the lion going after an antelope, and he could hardly watch it. Interesting, isn't it?"
Eyes Wide Shut was an adaptation of the 1926 novella Traumnovelle (Dream Story) by Arthur Schnitzler. Kubrick wanted to adapt the novella because he was interested in making a film that explores the nature of modern sexual relations. The director was one of the hottest filmmakers in Hollywood thanks to his previous successes, particularly with The Shining.
Thus, the movie was set to be a Hollywood event project the likes of which are not seen much today, with an ace filmmaker teaming up with the biggest male and female stars of the day to make a prestige movie. Kubrick died a mere six days after showing the final cut of the film to Warner Bros. Pictures, making Eyes Wide Shut the last film he ever directed. This news comes from NYTimes.