Filmmaker Stanely Kubrick is known for his brilliance, work ethic, genius, thinking outside the box, etc., but his sense of humor is rarely glimpsed. When he died in March of 1999, The New York Times
published a collection of reminiscences
by friends and enemies alike, compiled by film director and critic/historian Peter Bogdanovich. Its a touching tribute, and a few of the anicdotes that showcase Kubricks sense of humor caught my eye:
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.
That's a funny one, but this one is my favourite:
Jerry Lewis (actor-director-writer; edited a film at same studio Kubrick was editing "2001"): He's in the cutting room and I'm watching this man investigate his work, and it was fascinating. He was intrigued with the fact that I did more than one thing. He was a very big fan of "hyphenates." I think he would have loved to have written "2001" without Arthur Clarke. But he did have a high regard for people who directed their own material.
I was in my cutting room around 1 in the morning, and he strolls in smoking a cigarette and says, "Can I watch?" I said: "Yeah, you can watch. You wanna see a Jew go down? Stand there." That was the night I coined the expression, "You cannot polish a turd."
And then Kubrick looked at me and said, "You can if you freeze it."
He was a genius. And he could kick Stephen Baldwin's ass in Chess. [special thanks to riverrun
fame for his writeup
on the subject]