Thursday, September 3, 2015


The Beatles almost starred in Lord of The Rings and the Rolling Stones almost made A Clockwork Orange. Stanley Kubrick was tapped by both.

Interesting new article covering Stanley Kubrick's almost-but-not-quite partnership(s) with rock's two biggest acts, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones (with a brief mention of his almost-but-not-quite partnership with, arguably, rock's third biggest act, Pink Floyd). The circuitous tale of juggled movie rights to two hot literary properties - The Lord of the Rings and A Clockwork Orange - really helps illustrate the huge role that chance plays in cinematic history. It reads, in part:
Like their albums, The Beatles wanted each of their films to be different from the one before. A Hard Day's Night was a mock-documentary. Help! was a James Bond spoof written by Marc Behm and Charles Wood. The Beatles again played versions of The Beatles. Their films’ producer Walter Shenson said the band wanted to play something other than themselves. Before J. R. R. Tolkien sold the film rights for The Lord of the Rings to United Artists, who produced A Hard Day’s Night, in 1969, The Beatles thought it might fulfill their contract nicely. Lennon, one of the best songwriters in music contacted Stanley Kubrick, one of the best directors in the movies, to make it. Lennon reportedly wanted to play Gollum. He cast Paul as Frodo, Ringo as Sam, and George as Gandalf.
J.R.R. Tolkien, who was an English professor at Oxford at the time, was initially in favor of the idea. ... Stanley Kubrick had not yet screwed Pink Floyd out of doing the music for his masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ever the perfectionist filmmaker, Kubrick told Lennon that he suspected the novel Lord of The Rings was too big to be filmed.

And then, coming in second as always, came The Rolling Stones, and their - or more specifically Mick Jagger's - attempts to bring Anthony Burgess' novel A Clockwork Orange to the silver screen. The article continues:
(Stones associate Andrew) Oldham discovered the novel while he lived with Jagger and Richards in London in 1964. He wanted to make the anti-A Hard Day’s Night
“I couldn’t get the rights to make A Clockwork Orange because Anthony Burgess thought that he had cancer and just wrote furiously and took money in from others,” Oldham told in 2007. 
In 1967, while the Rolling Stones were making Their Satanic Majesties Request, they reportedly started a collaboration with photographer Michael Cooper to produce a film adaptation A Clockwork Orange with Terry Southern. Southern wrote the novel Candy, which would be made into a soft porn movie with Ringo Starr. The Stones wanted Richard Lester to direct and wanted David Hemmings, the star of Blow Up and Barbarella, to play Alex. 
Terry Southern was the man who introduced Stanley Kubrick to A Clockwork Orange. He’d given a copy to the director when Kubrick was adapting his Dr. Strangelove.
More at the link. Not much... but more.

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