In the special features section, on the “Eyes Wide Shut” DVD, there are three interviews, labeled under “Cast & Crew”. Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Steven Spielberg. (Why is Spielberg listed as a crew member? Because he helped cut the missing 29 minutes.)
Contrary to what Warner Bros. execs said at the time, they were not “delighted” with the original version of “Eyes Wide Shut”. They didn’t like it, didn’t understand it and wanted cuts. Director Stanley Kubrick said “no,” (he had final authority), until he was found dead four days later from a heart attack.
Probably the most interesting sequence rumored to be cut is Alice Harford’s dream, which Nicole Kidman mentions indirectly. The interviewer asks her why did she laugh while sleeping? Kidman replies, “I was laughing at the imagery of the dream.” Apparently, her character is a victim of a secret society (the Illuminati) and she’s remembering her MK-Ultra programming thru the dream.
Warner Bros. were especially disturbed by whatever was in this scene.
Kidman said she’s seen the movie twice. Is this a hint, i.e., once the original, twice, the cut version?
Of the three interviewed, she’s the only one who cries, saying Kubrick’s death “seemed wrong” and “that he had more to say.”
Tom Cruise describes his director as a “magical, wonderful guy.”
“Eyes Wide Shut”, three years in the making, was wearing on Cruise, who both “dreaded and looked forward to ending” the Dr. Bill Harford character. Kubrick said, “Every scene, every moment, has to be earned.” Cruise asks, “Just tell me how long is this gonna take? Two years?” Kubrick laughed, saying, “Tom, if it took that long, then everything they say about us is true!” When asked about his death, Cruise replies that he had great concern for the movie – another indication that he was telling us something happened to “Eyes Wide Shut” after the director died.
The Salieri of the piece is Steven Spielberg, who doesn’t talk about “Eyes Wide Shut” at all. He mentions that he didn’t like “The Shining” at first, that Jack Nicholson’s performance was “Kabuki theater”; however, “Stanley’s films grow on you over time.” For him, Kubrick’s best gifts were “his friendship” and “his impeccable craft, his compositions, and his films.”
In another interview, not on this DVD, Spielberg claims that Kubrick wanted him to direct “A.I.” (Artificial Intelligence.) Kubrick would produce it. What most people aren’t aware of is that Spielberg completely rewrote the script Kubrick wrote. “A.I” (based on the short story “Summer Toys Last All Summer Long” by Brian Aldiss.) “A.I.” was headed for darker themes, something Steven Spielberg wanted no part of. Thus, with “A.I.” we have a Disneyized version of an unrealized Stanley Kubrick film.
As for any hope for the missing “Eyes Wide Shut” footage reappearing, it ain’t gonna happen. The cast, the crew and Kubrick’s family have been sworn to secrecy. Warners denies there ever were any major cuts.
A positive note: only Stanley Kubrick would’ve dared make this movie and there are still clues to what can be learned from it.