Excerpt from: The New York Times - 4 July 1999
Title: What They Say About Stanley Kubrick
Ken Adam (production designer; designed "Dr. Strangelove" and "Barry Lyndon")
I don't think I ever had such a close relationship with a director. There was a certain navete and charm about him, but you very quickly found out that there was an enormous brain functioning. I think the most difficult part was his questioning, almost computerlike, mind. He knew most of the technicians' work better than the technicians themselves. The only thing he really didn't know was design. So, obviously, he was fascinated by it, but I also found myself having to justify practically every line I drew, which wasn't always easy.
It was particularly so with the war room on "Dr. Strangelove" because I started doodling while we were talking about it, and he seemed to be very impressed by it, and I thought, "Well, this is an easy battle." After about three weeks, he decided to change his mind. Because the initial design was like an amphitheater with two levels, he suddenly said: "Well, what am I going to do with that second level? It's going to be full of extras, and I wouldn't know how to use them, so you'd better start thinking again." I started redesigning it, and he was practically standing behind me all the time. When I came up with the sort of triangular solution, he said he felt the triangle was the strongest geometric form. And so combat developed at this circular table, playing for the fate of the world like a poker game.
He very often changed his mind. After two days of shooting, for example, he wasn't happy with Peter Sellers playing the B-52 bomber-captain [in addition to his other roles] and he cast Slim Pickens instead and then decided to have him ride the atomic bomb bronco-fashion into the Russian missile complex. It was a very exciting experience, but at the same time, I felt, you know, one film would be enough. Being exposed to Stanley 16 hours a day, you lost your resistance, and the danger was you would lose your confidence.
....I think he had quite a shock from the violent reactions to "A Clockwork Orange"; even though it was at the time the most successful picture he had done.
.... Though he was a patriarch, he was really a kind patriarch and in many ways very insecure. Stanley said he's got this film for me [Barry Lyndon"] and he can't afford my money. So I said, "Stanley, it's not a good way to start talking to me, you know." So we had an argument. He said, "Well, I'll have to use the second-best production designer." And I was quite relieved at that time. Five weeks later, I got another phone call from him saying that the second-best production designer didn't seem to understand what he wanted, money is no problem and will I do the picture? Our relationship was almost like a marriage in a way, a love-hate relationship. I felt to go through another film, you know, life is too short. But I was stuck.
Eventually I became very ill. Utterly exhausted -- because he used to run dailies with me late at night. Stanley could really get away with four hours' sleep. Obviously, I couldn't. So I went back to London, and he was unbelievably concerned. His letters to me at the time were really quite touching. Then he wrote that he'd decided to shoot in Potsdam with the second unit and that I should direct it! The idea of that certainly didn't improve my health!
....His daughter Vivian was doing music for "Full Metal Jacket," and did a documentary of Stanley on "The Shining." But Stanley became overpowering to her and so Vivian decided about five years ago to make her own life in Los Angeles. She really adored Stanley but he tried to control every move she made. I think in a way she had the guts to say, "I can't deal with that."
....He was a family man and felt very secure in the family, and insecure even when Christiane came to a women's outing with my wife. Stanley used to ring up many times to find out how she was, when she was coming back.