Author Topic: Lunatic At Large  (Read 3925 times)

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MacGuffin

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Lunatic At Large
« on: October 31, 2006, 09:10:24 PM »
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After Death, My Sweet: From an Idea by Kubrick, a New Film May Be Born
By CHARLES McGRATH; New York Times

Stanley Kubrick never threw anything away. On the other hand, he didn’t have much of a filing system, and when he moved — permanently, it turned out — from Hollywood to London in 1962, a great many things went astray. Among them was the sole copy of a film treatment called “Lunatic at Large,” which Mr. Kubrick had commissioned in the late ’50s from the noir pulp novelist Jim Thompson, with whom he had worked on “The Killing,” a 1956 bank-heist story that became his first successful feature, and then on 1957’s “Paths of Glory.”
 
The manuscript remained lost until after Mr. Kubrick’s death, in 1999, when his son-in-law, Philip Hobbs, working with an archivist, turned it up, along with a couple of other scripts, and set about trying to make it into a movie.

There were a couple of false starts. Mr. Hobbs originally approached the French company Pathé — partly because the French hold Jim Thompson in the same esteem as Edgar Allan Poe and Mickey Rourke — and after that arrangement fell through, he formed a partnership with Edward R. Pressman, a New York-based producer, and the London producers Finch & Partners. Mr. Pressman, who is expected to announce the completion of the deal today, said the film would be directed by Chris Palmer, from a finished script by Stephen R. Clarke.

“When Stanley died, he left behind lots of paperwork,” Mr. Hobbs said in a telephone interview. “We ended up going through trunks of it, and one day we came across ‘Lunatic at Large.’ I knew what it was right away, because I remember Stanley talking about ‘Lunatic.’ He was always saying he wished he knew where it was, because it was such a great idea.”

Speaking from her home in Britain, Mr. Kubrick’s widow, Christiane, said: “My husband always had a drawerful of ideas. There were always a lot of stories on the go, things he started, things he left lying around. It was like being in a waterfall. I remember he was very excited at the time about ‘Lunatic at Large,’ but then other things happened.” First, she explained, Mr. Kubrick was forced off “One-Eyed Jacks,” with Marlon Brando, and then he was hired to replace Anthony Mann on “Spartacus.”

“ ‘Spartacus’ changed his life,” she said. “And after that his imagination was held by ‘Lolita,’ which gave him the opportunity to film in England, where making movies cost so much less.”

The loss of his manuscript was a bitter disappointment to Mr. Thompson, who had a long and mostly hard-luck relationship with Hollywood. Like a lot of writers who seek their fortune there, he eventually drank too much and became his own worst enemy. He died in 1977, much too soon for the revival of interest that made him a cult writer in the ’90s, when four of his novels were made into films: “The Grifters,” “The Getaway,” “Hit Me” and “After Dark, My Sweet.”

Despite its title, “Lunatic at Large” is not a horror story. It’s a dark and surprising mystery of sorts, in which the greatest puzzle is who, among several plausible candidates, is the true escapee from a nearby mental hospital. Mr. Clarke, the screenwriter, said that the recovered treatment (a prose narrative dramatizing an idea by Mr. Kubrick) was a “gem” but also “pretty basic,” and that he expanded it a bit, adding a new subplot, among other things, to make the solution less obvious. Mr. Clarke’s experience consists mostly of writing for British television, so he prepared for his new task by rereading Mr. Thompson and studying old Bogart films.

His finished screenplay has the feel of authentic Thompsonian pulpiness. Set in New York in 1956, it tells the story of Johnnie Sheppard, an ex-carnival worker with serious anger-management issues, and Joyce, a nervous, attractive barfly he picks up in a Hopperesque tavern scene. There’s a newsboy who flashes a portentous headline, a car chase over a railroad crossing with a train bearing down, and a romantic interlude in a spooky, deserted mountain lodge.

The great set piece is a nighttime carnival sequence in which Joyce, lost and afraid, wanders among the tents and encounters a sideshow’s worth of familiar carnie types: the Alligator Man, the Mule-Faced Woman, the Midget Monkey Girl, the Human Blockhead, with the inevitable noggin full of nails.

Back when Mr. Kubrick and Mr. Thompson were working on it, this was probably cutting-edge stuff, and you can imagine that Mr. Kubrick might even have been tempted to film “Lunatic at Large” in noirish black and white. Today it feels like a period piece, but the filmmaking team has resisted the temptation to update it. “That’s the beauty of it — that it is such a period piece,” Mr. Clarke said.

Mr. Pressman agreed. “You just couldn’t make it any other way,” he said. “It wouldn’t work.”

“Post-Tarantino,” he added, “this kind of film has become new in a way. Things go in cycles.”

The director hired for “Lunatic at Large,” Mr. Palmer, is in roughly the position Ridley Scott was in before “The Duellists.” He’s an acclaimed London director of commercials, that is, who has never made a feature film.

But Mr. Hobbs is untroubled. “You have to remember that before he got his big chance, Stanley had only made one or two films,” he said. “And you can’t go to just anyone with a Kubrick idea; it does have a bit of provenance. A lot of people would be frightened to take it on.”
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B.C. Long

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Lunatic At Large
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2007, 03:21:44 PM »
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Todd Field should direct it. Also, I'm surprised Kubrick never considered adapting a Vonnegut novel. That would of been mind-blowing.

MacGuffin

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Re: Lunatic At Large
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2010, 03:17:36 PM »
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Rockwell, Johansson Signed to 'Lost' Kubrick Script
by Dawn Taylor; Cinematical

Like many of us, Stanley Kubrick was something of a pack rat, and not overly fond of organization. So it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that, amid the reportedly chaotic hodge-podge of the director's effects, undiscovered treasures are buried. One such treasure: a single copy of a film treatment titled Lunatic at Large, written in the late 1950's by the briliiant pulp author Jim Thompson at Kubrick's behest. And now that film is finally being produced, with Production Weekly reporting that Sam Rockwell and Scarlett Johansson are attached.

As reported in the New York Times in 2006, Kubrick's son-in-law, Philip Hobbs, found the 80-page treatment in 1999 -- described as a dark mystery about an escaped axe-murderer -- while archiving Kubrick's papers. "When Stanley died, he left behind lots of paperwork," Hobbs told the NYT. "We ended up going through trunks of it, and one day we came across 'Lunatic at Large.' I knew what it was right away, because I remember Stanley talking about 'Lunatic.' He was always saying he wished he knew where it was, because it was such a great idea."

Thompson, author of now-classic pulp works like The Grifters and The Killer Inside Me, worked with Kubrick on 1956's The Killing. The writer was deeply disappointed that the project fell apart due to Kubrick's firing from One-Eyed Jacks, followed by his involvement directing Spartacus and Lolita. Thompson died in 1977, never seeing the swell of interest in his work that came in the 1990's.

The 2006 script adaptation was described by the NYT:

His finished screenplay has the feel of authentic Thompsonian pulpiness. Set in New York in 1956, it tells the story of Johnnie Sheppard, a former carnival worker with serious anger-management issues, and Joyce, a nervous, attractive barfly he picks up in a Hopperesque tavern scene. There's a newsboy who flashes a portentous headline, a car chase over a railroad crossing with a train bearing down, and a romantic interlude in a spooky, deserted mountain lodge.
The great set piece is a nighttime carnival sequence in which Joyce, lost and afraid, wanders among the tents and encounters a sideshow's worth of familiar carnie types: the Alligator Man, the Mule-Faced Woman, the Midget Monkey Girl, the Human Blockhead, with the inevitable noggin full of nails.



No details are available right now as to how many hands have handled the screenplay since then, or the current director. But this is one project to keep an eye on.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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Pubrick

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Re: Lunatic At Large
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2010, 10:48:42 PM »
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Rockwell, Johansson Signed to 'Lost' Kubrick Script
by Dawn Taylor; Cinematical

Like many of us, Stanley Kubrick was something of a pack rat, and not overly fond of organization.

are you fucking kidding me?? invalidated in the first sentence.

anyway, i don't care if this gets made. as herzog would say, "it is not a significant script".
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Alexandro

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Re: Lunatic At Large
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2010, 02:22:40 AM »
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Rockwell, Johansson Signed to 'Lost' Kubrick Script
by Dawn Taylor; Cinematical

Like many of us, Stanley Kubrick was something of a pack rat, and not overly fond of organization.

are you fucking kidding me?? invalidated in the first sentence.


exactly what I thought...yet this is the first time i wonder if he was so thorough in his organization that even though he managed to organize a lot of his stuff through the years, maybe he didn't have enough time to organize it all and who knows how many things he lost track of...
or something.

Gold Trumpet

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Re: Lunatic At Large
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2010, 02:28:22 AM »
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The Fear and Desire wing of the Stanley Kubrick fan club is chomping at the bit for this movie, but I never even heard of it.

tpfkabi

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OrHowILearnedTo

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Re: Lunatic At Large
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2010, 04:32:21 PM »
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why is this the first i'm hearing of "God Fearing Man" and "The Down Slope?"

tpfkabi

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Re: Lunatic At Large
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2010, 02:31:13 PM »
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finally got to read through the article. i don't know about the casting, but this idea is pretty interesting to me. i actually was quite pleasantly surprised by Killer's Kiss, but have not seen Fear and Desire. hopefully this director takes his ques from the great classic noir films. surely this is being shot in black and white?
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Fernando

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Re: Lunatic At Large
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2010, 10:38:51 AM »
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finally got to read through the article. i don't know about the casting...

that article wants to be funny (and fails) when they suggest tom cruise for Napoleon because he's crazy, that automatically invalidates whatever seriousness they intended, their other suggestions are equally dumb.

for god fearing man psh is suggested because he once played a priest in doubt.

that blue movie rumor is and was dumb since the 70's, sk never intended to REALLY do it, he always wanted to make Traumnovelle.

aryan papers. k.winslet can play anything, but they just want kate on the other team because she just was a nazi. stupid.

down slope. don't know anything about this, only that michael moore is not an actor.

Pubrick

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Re: Lunatic At Large
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2010, 11:06:34 AM »
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i think bigideas was talking about the main Lunatic At Large article.

that other link is pretty worthless.

bigideas don't worry about kubrick's early films. the man himself said fear and desire is not worth watching, he wasn't too keen about killer's kiss either, and spoke of The Killing as a not very serious film with only adequate subject matter -- all this points to the significance of the Lunatic At Large project. it doesn't even deserve to be named in the same breath as his other actually important unfinished projects.
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tpfkabi

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Re: Lunatic At Large
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2010, 02:56:30 PM »
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i was talking about johansson as femme fatale - "sure she's got the looks, but does she have the touch?"

i haven't seen the guy's video work, but i'm hoping he borrows from film noir classics and doesn't cut it fast like a jason statham(sp?) movie.

i think i talked about Killer's Kiss in a thread on here - it has one of the most seemless cuts (or dissolves?) i've ever seen. blows bone/spaceship cut out of the water from a visual standpoint - probably meaningless from a mental/story standpoint. can't remember.

i really hope it's something special and not a straight to video thing in other words, regardless if it's lesser Kubrick, i hope it's treated with respect. i guess i always hope for a 'worthy' movie anytime a camera is picked up.

re:paste link - i linked it before even reading. other than seeing some project summaries i don't really remember at the time, it was pretty ridiculous.
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MacGuffin

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Re: Lunatic At Large
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2011, 01:49:42 PM »
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Financing Nears On ‘Lunatic At Large’; 2 More Unmade Kubrick Projects Continue Toward Production
Source: Playlist

Almost as legendary as the films Stanley Kubrick did complete in his lifetime are the numerous projects that went unmade, but a few of those are getting a new lease on life. As you might recall, last spring, word surfaced that “Lunatic At Large” was headed toward the big screen with Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell attached to star and Chris Palmer to direct. Not long after, “Downslope” and “God Fearing Man” joined ‘Lunatic’ on the production slate and then…nothing else was heard since.

Well, Thompson On Hollywood recently caught up with producer Steve Lanning who provided a brief update on “Lunatic At Large.” Firstly, if all goes according to plan, financing will be lined up in a matter of weeks with a production start being eyed in early 2012. Palmer is still attached to direct, however, Johansson and Rockwell at this point are “preferential” casting choices which more or less seems like code for “wishlist.” So if they don’t appear, don’t be shocked.

The film is based on a treatment by pulp author Jim Thompson (”The Grifters,” “The Killer Inside Me”) commissioned by Kubrick in the late 1950s, after working with the writer on “The Killing” and “Paths Of Glory.” Kubrick intended it to be his next project after “Spartacus” but at the time, the only copy of the manuscript was lost. After Kubrick’s death in 1999, his son-in-law and archivist Philip Hobbs found the manuscript among the director’s vast library (seriously, the guy never threw anything away).

Just one of many long lost Kubrick projects, the period set film is described as “a dark and surprising mystery” about which person among a group is “the true escapee from a nearby mental hospital.” Here’s are some details on the project from the NY Times from a 2006 article:

Set in New York in 1956, it tells the story of Johnnie Sheppard, an ex-carnival worker with serious anger-management issues, and Joyce, a nervous, attractive barfly he picks up in a Hopperesque tavern scene. There’s a newsboy who flashes a portentous headline, a car chase over a railroad crossing with a train bearing down, and a romantic interlude in a spooky, deserted mountain lodge.

The great set piece is a nighttime carnival sequence in which Joyce, lost and afraid, wanders among the tents and encounters a sideshow’s worth of familiar carnie types: the Alligator Man, the Mule-Faced Woman, the Midget Monkey Girl, the Human Blockhead, with the inevitable noggin full of nails.


As for the other two projects, they are still in the works. “Downslope” is being conceived as a massive $100m project set during the American Civil War following the activities of Mosby’s Rangers involving spies on both sides of the war. The anti-war film was written by Kubrick himself based on a short story by Civil War historian Shelby Foote. Though it was reported last year that A-list directors and talent were being sought for a European shoot this year, clearly, that hasn’t yet happened. Meanwhile, “God Fearing Man” also based on Kubrick script, is being fashioned into a TV series. The concept is based on the true story of a priest, Herbert Emerson Wilson, who became the biggest bank robber in America in the early 20th century. Again, like “Downslope,” reports last year suggested directors and cast were being sought for an imminent shoot, but that too hasn’t yet happened.

Brit screenwriter Stephen R. Clarke has been tapped to adapt all three screenplays and it remains unclear or closely (or not) they will follow Kubrick’s original treatments. While touting the words “unmade Kubrick” is a great way to attract attention to a project, as a commenter at Thompson On Hollywood rightly notes, an unmade Kubrick film by anybody else is still an unmade Kubrick film. These projects have all be in the works for years and while it’s tantalizing that they made get made giving us some idea of what Kubrick had in mind, we’re not exactly holding our breath that these will arrive anytime soon.
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Pubrick

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Re: Lunatic At Large
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2011, 11:30:33 PM »
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It seems that all these projects are from the Paths of Glory pre- Lolita era. They are minor Kubrick and so do not pose any threat to the canon. If someone tries to get Aryan Papers going or what Spielberg did with AI then I will be interested.

This stuff is as legitimate as Peter Hyams' 2010 debacle.
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