Excerpt from: The New York Times - 4 July 1999
Title: What They Say About Stanley Kubrick
Matthew Modine (actor; lead role in "Full Metal Jacket")
One day I said: "I got a joke for you. ... You're dead." He said, "It's not funny." I said: "Let me tell the joke. Steven Spielberg's dead, too." He said, "Steven's dead, oh, that's funny." And I said: "You're dead and you're up in heaven and Steven Spielberg has just died and he's being greeted at the gate by Gabriel and Gabriel says: 'God's really dug a lot of your movies and he wants to make sure that you're comfortable. If there's anything you need, you come to me, I'm your man.' And Steven says, 'Well, you know, I always wanted to meet Stanley Kubrick, do you think you could arrange that?' And Gabriel looks at him and says: 'You know, Steven, of all the things that you could ask for, why would you ask for that? You know that Stanley doesn't take meetings.' He says, 'Well, you said that if there was anything I wanted.' Gabriel says: 'I'm really sorry. I can't do that.' So now he's showing him around heaven and Steven sees this guy wearing an army jacket with a beard riding a bicycle. And Steven says to Gabriel: 'Oh, my God, look, over there, that's Stanley Kubrick. Couldn't we just stop him and say hello?' And Gabriel pulls Steven to the side and says, 'That's not Stanley Kubrick; that's God -- he just thinks he's Stanley Kubrick.' "Stanley liked that joke.
.... I once asked him why he so often did a lot of takes. He said it was because actors didn't know their lines. And he talked about Jack Nicholson: "Jack would come in during the blocking and he kind of fumbled through the lines. He'd be learning them while he was there. And then you'd start shooting and after take 3 or take 4 or take 5 you'd get the Jack Nicholson that everybody knows and most directors would be happy with. And then you'd go up to 10 or 15 and he'd be really awful and then he'd start to understand what the lines were, what the lines meant, and then he'd become unconscious about what he was saying. So by take 30 or take 40 the lines became something else." Stanley'd say: "I don't know how to do it. People don't do their homework, the only thing I can do is spend time doing multiple takes while the people are learning what their job is supposed to be."
.... There was a postponement, and my wife and I were invited to go to Malaga, Spain. He said, "Why do you want to go there?" I said, "This person invited me." He said: "Yeah, but you've come all this way -- have you seen anything in England?" He couldn't understand why anybody wanted to go anyplace. Why his children would want to go to university. "You could take home university classes. You don't have to go away to find something. Everything can be brought to you." He was crazy about that.
....At his funeral I was so happy to find that he was being buried in his garden, in the land that he loved so much. I was going to speak, but Tom Cruise and Nicole and Steven Spielberg had spoken before and there was sort of a program created for the funeral. I was surprised at how little they knew of him -- in my opinion -- from the things that were being said. The person I spent almost 18 months with was very different from the one being described. With the exception of Jan Harlan, who spoke really eloquently, and the one thing that his daughter Vivian said at the funeral. She'd read pieces of her father's diary and wanted to share something: That he had looked for a limit to caring -- some kind of summit -- and found that whenever he felt as if he'd reached that summit, there was always further you could go.
Photo taken by Matthew Modine