One of the most famous couples in Hollywood joined one of cinema’s legendary directors for a film that everyone was talking about before it even hit theaters. Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut celebrated its 15th anniversary this week. The film stars Tom Cruise as a restless doctor, Bill Harford, whose curiosity takes him on a nightlong sexual odyssey that threatens his life and marriage. Nicole Kidman — who was Cruise’s real-life spouse at the time — plays his wife, Alice, whose sexual fantasies and equally wandering eye rattle her husband’s deepest insecurities. Sex, marriage, and mystifying symbolism: a combination only Kubrick could make as compelling as he did. Here are 25 facts, details, and asides about Eyes Wide Shut you might have missed.
Kubrick was extremely happy with the way Eyes Wide Shut turned out and considered it his greatest film.
According to Kubrick’s daughter Katharina, the director had plans to adapt the movie from Arthur Schnitzler’s 1926 novella Dream Story for over 30 years:
He obviously thought that it was a subject matter close to anyone who’s ever been in a relationship of whatever persuasion. I don’t know what his intentions were, I know that he wanted to do it for over 30 years, and that when he first found the story he decided along with my mother that they weren’t old enough or wise enough to deal with such a powerful subject matter.
Kubrick has a cameo in the film. He’s sitting across from Bill’s table at the Sonata Café.
Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s love scene was shot on a closed set. “Stanley had to coax me into some of the sexuality in the film in the beginning, but we shot things that were a lot more extreme that didn’t end up in the movie,” Kidman told press in 2012. “I did feel safe — I never felt it was exploitive or unintelligent.” Cruise emphasized Kubrick’s focus of the film to Roger Ebert in 1999: “Sex itself wasn’t what interested Stanley. The movie’s about many things but especially the dynamic of a relationship that’s affected by the raw emotions of obsession and jealousy. About how one little event in your life can take you off into such debilitating emotions.”
The Guinness World Records recognized Eyes Wide Shut as the longest continual film shoot — over 15 months. Cruise and Kidman’s contract was open-ended. This meant they couldn’t be released from the project until Kubrick gave his word, however long the shoot lasted.