And I’ve been trying for years to stamp out the legend that the word, that the letters HAL was derived from IBM by one letter displacement. And of course HAL actually stands for Heuristic Algorithmic, H. A. L. But that’s a myth that I can’t quite stamp out. I think that IBM are quite proud of it so I’ve given up the attempt.
– Arthur C. Clarke, the IBM story is “utter nonsense.”
I’ve got a very nice story about Stanley. I’d finished Blade Runner and it was a disaster. And my investors who were giving me a really hard time, said…’You can’t end the film with this picking up this piece of origami, looking at the girl, walking in the elevator, and nodding, that’s called a film noir.’
I said, ‘What’s a film noir.’…
‘We have to test this with an uplifting ending where they will go off into the wilderness together.’
I said, ‘Well if they can go off into the beautiful wilderness, why are they living in this dystopian environment?’
‘Allright, I’ll do it.’
So by then, I had talked to Stanley a few times. I called him up and said listen, ‘I know you shot the hell out of wherever it was in The Shining, and I know you’ve got four and a half months of helicopter stuff…[inaudible]. Can I have some of the stuff because it will suit me fine.’
The next day I had seventeen hours of helicopter footage, it was stunning. So the end of the film in Blade Runner, that’s Stanley Kubrick’s footage…
But he said,’You got a vehicle, what is it?’
‘Oh shit, every shot I have has a Volkswagen in it.’ Then he went, ‘Oh, what did you shoot?’
I said, ‘Anamorphic’
“Ah jolly good, when you project mine, it’ll look oblong. You’ll be fine.’
Then a day later he called me.
‘It’s Stanley. One other thing. I know you’re going through my footage right now. If there’s anything I used, you can’t have it. Got it?’
I went, ‘Okay cool.’
That was it. That was Kubrick.
– Ridley Scott
Stanley told me he didn’t understand actors. He had no actor friends — they were basically working associates, and he thought they were a little bit strange, totally spoiled and in most cases had to be begged to give him a decent performance. Half the time the actor would argue with him. Vince D’Onofrio didn’t like Stanley’s “craziness look.” He wanted to try it some other way. The problem with Vince was this was his first film, and he’s telling Stanley Kubrick how he thinks this look should be. They stand there arguing. Stanley finally said, “Look, do it my way and we’ll load back up and we’ll shoot it your way.” Well, when they shot it Vince’s way they didn’t have any film in the camera
– R. Lee Ermey
I was in my cutting room around 1 in the morning, and he strolls in smoking a cigarette and says, “Can I watch?” I said: “Yeah, you can watch. You wanna see a Jew go down? Stand there.” That was the night I coined the expression, “You cannot polish a turd.” And then Kubrick looked at me and said, “You can if you freeze it.”
– Jerry Lewis, who was editing a film at the same studio Kubrick was editing “2001”
He was obviously always a step ahead of me. He called me one, I remember I was at Warner’s, I think it was around the time he was getting ready to do Lyndon, and he said, ‘Do you have any of those special BNC cameras that we used for rear process?’ I said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘For sentimental reasons. I started out on them. I’d love to buy one from you if I could get one.’ So I called the camera department and I said, ‘Do you have any of those?’ And they said, ‘We’ve got a couple of those.’ I called Stanley back….He said, ‘I’d love to get those cameras. I admire the workmanship.’ I said, ‘Great,’ and sent him one of those, or maybe two of them, I can’t remember.
About six months later, Gottschalk, who ran Panavision for us, and who was a certified camera and optical genius, called and said: ‘Why are you sending those rear-projection cameras to Stanley Kubrick?’ I said, ‘Because he asked for them. I mean, they sit down there, we don’t use rear-projection anymore. We’re doing front-projection.’ He said, ‘They’re priceless, they are the most fantastic works ever put into a camera. They are brilliantly conceived and brilliantly executed camera works. You could never build a camera like it if your life depended on it. I want to get everyone I can, because I can’t duplicate the work that went into them.’
Stanley had anticipated it and acquired them and built his own cameras!
– John Calley, Former President of Warner Bros., CEO of Sony Pictures
He looked for the old-fashioned Mitchell BNC cameras for a very specific reason. These were the only cameras, to his knowledge, where he had a chance of fitting these big Zeiss lenses.
– Jan Harlan, Executive Producer
And Stanley sent me this lens and said, could I mount it on his BNC camera? I said it’s absolutely impossible because the BNC has two shutters, a thick aperture plate, and all that between the film plane and the rear element of the lens. And so I explained that to Stanley and said we’d have to damn near wreck your camera and make it purely dedicated to do this. And he said, ‘Fine, go ahead and do it.’
It was originally a lens designed, developed, and manufactured by Zeiss for NASA. NASA was planning to use it in satellite photography. For that reason, it’s an extremely fast lens. It’s an f0.7 which is two stops faster than lenses that are even available today. Of course Stanely’s intention for these lenses was to shoot the famous candlelit scenes in Barry Lyndon. That being the case, he shot with the lenses wide open, f0.7. The consequence of that, he had practically no depth of field at all. It was quite a chore to do it, but of course the images were absolutely gorgeous.
– Ed Di Giulio, Cinematographer
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