According to The Guardian, a professor at Bangor University named Nathan Abrams says he has found a lost Stanley Kubrick screenplay called Burning Secret, and it sounds pretty darn creepy. Abrams, who The Guardian says is a “leading Kubrick expert,” describes it as “the inverse of Lolita,” and it centers on a “suave and predatory man” who befriends a young boy in hopes of seducing the boy’s mother. It’s based on Stefan Zweig’s 1913 novella of the same name, and Kubrick wrote it alongside novelist Calder Willingham in 1956.
Kubrick’s desire to work on Burning Secret has apparently been a big rumor among fans for a long time, but Abrams’ discovery is the first proof—assuming it’s legitimate—that a relatively complete screenplay actually exists. The script has a stamp from MGM, and the timing suggests that Kubrick was also working on Paths Of Glory at the same time, which may have convinced MGM to pull the plug on the project. Abrams also theorizes that “the adultery storyline”—as he puts it—would’ve been “too risqué” for Hollywood at the time.
As The Guardian notes, Andrew Birkin did make his own film based on the same source material as Kubrick’s script, but it used a different screenplay than the one Kubrick co-wrote.