Saturday, February 3, 2018


An October New Statesman article about FilmWorker, the documentary exploring the intriguing life and times of former actor-turned-Stanley Kubrick's long-time right-hand man, Leon Vitali, begins:
In the early 1970s, Leon Vitali’s face, cherubic but with a hint of insolence, was forever popping up on British TV series like The Fenn Street Gang and Crown Court. Then he fell into Stanley Kubrick’s orbit and everything changed. Not his prospects or his level of celebrity or his skillset (though they changed too) but his entire existence — his purpose in life. 
Kubrick cast Vitali in his 1975 masterpiece Barry Lyndon as Lord Bullingdon, the justifiably enraged stepson of the 18th century cad and chancer played by Ryan O’Neal. Though Vitali was 26 when he played the role, he looks in many scenes like an overgrown child: plump-lipped and babyish. His performance is explosive and thrilling. Once shooting was finished, the actor told Kubrick he wanted to get more involved behind the scenes. Be careful what you wish for and all that.
I have yet to see the documentary myself, but I have long been intrigued by the idea that Kubrick had people in his life that, in a very real and important sense, helped him to be the best, most complete and uncompromising artist that he could be. As the New Statesman review makes clear in this review, Vitali was clearly one of those people, and his contribution to Kubrick's oeuvre--casting Danny both and the Grady twins in The Shining, for example--is vast and, quite possibly, unquantifiable.

More reviews can be found at The Film Stage website, The Daily Beast, and Variety. There doesn't appear to be a trailer yet, but here's a video of Leon and the film's director, Tony Zierra, on the red carpet at the AFI Film Festival:

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