For a director deceased since 1999, Stanley Kubrick’s a busy man.
Closer to Earth, we now have a “lost” screenplay by the acclaimed director that was recently discovered and is apparently close to a finished product — or at least close enough that it could be turned into a movie.
The script is called Burning Secret, an adaptation of a 1913 novella by Stefan Zweig about a “predatory man” who uses a 10-year old boy to seduce the child’s mother at a resort. The script, by Kubrick and writer Calder Willingham (who co-wrote Kubrick’s Paths of Glory), was finished in 1956.
And just because it was never filmed doesn’t mean the script was bad. According to the Guardian, the adultery storyline might have been too much for movie studio MGM at the time ... or Kubrick might have been in breach of contract, since he was working on Paths. Film professor Nathan Abrams, who discovered the Secret script, thinks the rediscovered script works as an “inverse of Lolita,” Kubrick’s masterful 1962 adaptation of the controversial Vladimir Nabokov novel (where a man uses a mother to seduce her daughter).
It should also be noted that this is a slightly different situation from A.I. Artificial Intelligence, a Kubrick project that was eventually handed off to Steven Spielberg. While developed for years by the late director, that movie did not feature a script by Kubrick.
And to further thicken the plot, Kubrick’s former location scout Andrew Birkin did make an adaptation of Burning Secret back in 1988 (with Klaus Maria Brandauer and Faye Dunaway), although he didn’t use the director’s script.