An interview with Stanley Kubrick

By Vicente Molina Foix

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The following interview took place at Stanley Kubrick's home in early 1980.

Although you have been making films and living in England for quite a long time, you're still considered an American director. Are the reasons for you living in the UK only personal or are they related to the fact that filmmaking in England is cheaper than in America?
If you're going to make films in English, there are three places which are centers of production, Los Angeles, New York, and London, and since I spend so much time in the preparations and the cutting of a film, I have to live in one of those production centers, otherwise I'd never be home, I'd always be away. New York is not as well equipped as London, and Hollywood is slightly better equipped, but given the choice to live between Hollywood and London, I just like London much more, it's a more interesting city and I like living here. I probably would like living in New York, but New York simply is not a practical place to try to make pictures other than location films; if you're talking about a studio picture like The Shining or 2001, New York does not have big studio facilities or big set construction facilities. So England just seems the place to be.

But has your being in contact with a different reality and film industry had any influence on your work?
I don't think so. Because even living in America... if you live in New York, that is a completely different thing than living in Atlanta or Dallas or Minneapolis or the rest of the country. If you live in New York the most you can say is that you have a "New York sense of life." I think living in London I still have whatever American sense of life I would have living in New York. And certainly I have more sense of reality than living in Hollywood, which is the most unreal place. I read the New York Times every day, I read American magazines, I see American films, so I don't really feel that it makes any great difference to me. In fact, I don't feel that I'm not living in America. I don't feel isolated or cut off culturally in any way.

The other day you told me that you've always enjoyed going to the movies. Do you still go regularly?
I try to see every movie, I have projectors at home, so it's a little easier for me now; those pictures that I can borrow prints of I run at home, and those that I cannot, I go and see, but I try to see everything.

I would like to ask your preferences. What kind...?
I like good films. (Laughs.)

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The Stanley Kubrick Archives
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The Stanley Kubrick Archives

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Stanley Kubrick inside of HAL's logic center on the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)