Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut was ahead of its time, just like many other of his projects. This tense thriller, featuring real-life couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, initially confused viewers despite high expectations. However, it eventually won over the hearts of millions of fans over the past two decades and emerged as Kubrick’s Magnum Opus.
Despite being one of the most controversial and thought-provoking movies of the past two decades, the film’s production was a rough journey. Here are some lesser-known facts about Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut!
1. The Actors Signed Open-Ended Contracts
Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman jumped into Eyes Wide Shut without a set end date in their contracts, making the filming drag on. These contracts bound them to be at Kubrick’s beck and call for as long as he wanted. To deal with Kubrick’s irregular schedule, Vincent D’Onofrio suggested to Cruise and Kidman that they set up shop in the UK, where all the action was happening.
2. Guinness World Record Holder
Kubrick’s crazy perfectionism and attention to detail meant that Eyes Wide Shut took 400 days to shoot, which earned it a Guinness Record for the Longest Constant Movie Shoot. This production from hell almost ruined Cruise and Kidman’s filming schedules for Mission: Impossible 2 and Practical Magic. But wait, if those 400 days were just the shooting phase, how long did it take them to edit it? The answer is almost another whole year. Talk about commitment!
3. Unique Masks
Remember that Venetian mask the main character gets from Rainbow Fashions? It’s a big deal in the movie, and as it turns out, it’s modeled after Ryan O’Neal’s face from an old Kubrick flick. If there’s one thing he loves doing, it’s referencing his own stuff. And guess who personally handpicked every single mask for the orgy scene? Of course, it was Kubrick. And he got to pick who wore them, where they’d stand, and even how long they’d be in the shot.
4. The Mansion Orgy Conspiracy
When the trailer and other promotional bits dropped, this whole orgy thing was nowhere to be seen. It was filmed at Mentmore Towers, owned by the Rothschild family. Using such a notorious spot and even more notorious family name led many people to believe there’s more to this scene than meets the eye. Was it really a reference to the powerful elite and the kind of wild stuff they’re doing in their mansions? Who knows?
5. Two Different Actresses Played Mandy
In the movie, there is a mysterious woman named Mandy who helps Bill escape the orgy. This is supposedly the same woman who died in the bathroom at the beginning of the film. So, two actresses played the same character in one single movie, huh? That 400-day-long shooting phase now starts to make sense. Julienne Davis played Mandy from the orgy scene, while Abigail Goode played the model.
6. The Movie Was Not Filmed In The US
It’s strange to think that the events that are supposedly unfolding in New York were not actually filmed anywhere near the Big Apple. In fact, the entire thing was shot in England, mainly due to Kubrick’s fear of flying.
7. The Final Cut
Kubrick’s sudden death struck just four days after he handed over the final cut of Eyes Wide Shut. Some wild theories suggest it was a hit for exposing elite orgies and sex rituals in the movie. Others think it was just exhaustion from the crazy production schedule. Fans theorize that he never got to complete his vision of the final cut, but official sources claim it only needed a few sound and music cues. Other than that, the cut was complete.
8. References To Previous Kubrick Movies
Above all else, Kubrick loves to sneak in little tidbits and references to all his past films. Eyes Wide Shut is a perfect example of that. There are a bunch of DVDs at Billy’s place, and one of them is none other than Full Metal Jacket. There’s also this creepy phone from Dr. Strangelove, an easter egg from The Shining, and, of course, the mask from Barry Lyndon. Did you catch any other references?