Okay, it’s not Die Zweite Heimat, the 25 1/2-hour German drama that took a history-making 557 days to shoot. But, at 11 months and counting, it looks like Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, the thriller starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, is gunning for the record.
Eyes, Kubrick’s first feature since 1987’s acclaimed Full Metal Jacket, began production at England’s Pinewood Studios in November ‘96 under the director’s trademark shroud of secrecy. All that’s known of the plot: Cruise and Kidman play married psychiatrists who become obsessed with two of their patients. (One high-ranking Warner official admits that the prickly Kubrick even made studio co-chairmen Bob Daly and Terry Semel return script pages after visiting the set last year.) Since then, cast and crew have stayed hidden; in fact, Cruise and Kidman’s appearances at the Oscars and at Princess Diana’s funeral were two of the rare times the couple has been seen in public since last fall.
As the shoot — originally scheduled to wrap in July — approaches its first birthday, the guessing game in Hollywood has become, When will it end? Says a producer close to Kubrick and Cruise, ”Probably the first week of December.” He adds that crew morale has been low during the marathon. ”They think it’s a nightmare. Everybody’s hoping to get fired.”
Still, both the studio and the stars tolerate Kubrick. ”Critics love him, so he gets to slide,” says the producer. ”He gets everybody to work for half their salary, and he runs their lives for the time he’s doing a movie. He got Tom and Nicole to not commit to another picture until his movie was out.” Indeed, publicist Pat Kingsley confirms that neither star has scheduled any new projects (though they’re set to host the Fire & Ice charity ball in L.A. Dec. 3). The official studio take? One exasperated Warner spokesman would only say, ”It’ll wrap when he’s done!”
— Dave Karger, with additional reporting by Judy Brennan