Stanley Kubrick's Crazy Space Lawsuit

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Stanley Kubrick tried to stop Space: 1999 with a lawsuit in 1975 because he felt its title was too similar to his 2001: A Space Odyssey. "The deliberate choice of a date only two years away from 2001 is not accidental and harms us," he wrote in one of many frenzied telexes. (Somewhat optimistically, he also predicted the show would be "important" and run for years.) Was he worried people might think the campy rubber-monsters show was a continuation of his ape/fetus acid-trip? Or did he just want a monopoly on titles with "space" and a near-future date? Crazy obsessions like the Space: 1999 lawsuit kept him from finishing several movie projects — including one intriguing science fiction movie.

A.I. wasn't the only movie Kubrick failed to complete in the 1990s. He was also working on a movie version of A Shadow On The Sun, a cheesy 1960s BBC radio drama about a meteorite that brings a deadly virus to Earth. He got copies of the scripts and annotated them for hours, adding notes like: "DOG FINDS METEORITE" and "THE DOG IS NOT WELL" as he sketched the movie in his head.

The meteorite's virus gives people an unstoppable sexual appetite, leading to Eyes Wide Shut-esque scenes of depravity. In the radio version, it ends with this speech:

There's been so much killing - friend against friend, neighbour against neighbour, but we all know nobody on this earth is to blame, Mrs Brighton. We've all had the compulsions. We'll just have to forgive each other our trespasses. I'll do my part. I'll grant a general amnesty - wipe the slate clean. Then perhaps we can begin to live again, as ordinary decent human beings, and forget the horror of the past few months.


But Kubrick made lots of notes to revise it, including establishing Mrs. Brighton's interest in extra-terrestrial lines. And giving Bill Murray some funny lines. Who wouldn't want to see Bill Murray in a movie about meteorite-induced sexual compulsiveness? [Guardian]