Close your eyes... make a wish... and blow out the candle light... Okay, now open your eyes: Boo! It’s Woody Allen in Eyes Wide Shut. The sensation of transitioning rudely from the sensuousness of Boyz II Men to a version of Eyes Wide Shut starring Woody Allen, of all people, would be pretty jarring—almost as jarring as learning that Stanley Kubrick wanted to cast Allen in his film about one fuck-boy’s harrowing Christmastime odyssey through female desire. Allen wasn’t the only name on Kubrick’s wishlist, as revealed by The Independent, which obtained a copy of the upcoming biography Stanley Kubrick: American Filmmaker, by David Mikics. In the book, which hits shelves on October 13, Mikics shares Kubrick’s original casting ideas for his 1999 film, which he began developing back in the ’60s based on Arthur Schnitzler’s 1926 novella Dream Story.
As Mikics explains,“In the Seventies, [Kubrick] fantasized about casting an actor in Dream Story who would have a comedian’s resilience, imagining Steve Martin or Woody Allen in the leading role.” Steve Martin: Yes. Woody Allen: THE HORROR. In the ’80s, Mikics says Kubrick added more names to his list of “possible leading men, including Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty, Alan Alda, Albert Brooks, Bill Murray, Tom Hanks and Sam Shepherd.” Several compelling choices there, particularly Brooks and Beatty; Murray is impossible to envision in the role, and Hanks would never.
Of course, the role ultimately went to Tom Cruise, who starred opposite his then-wife Nicole Kidman, adding another layer of relational complexity to Eyes Wide Shut. Regarding this casting, Mikics writes, “Significantly, when Kubrick finally made his version of Dream Story, he cast an actor without a comic bone in his body, the earnest, highly deliberate Tom Cruise.” Damn, that’s rude.