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#1
Old 01-03-2017, 09:57 PM
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Stanley Kubrick: Autistic...or Sociopath?

During the filming of The Shining, Kubrick basically terrorized Shelly Duvall into acting scared. On some other film, when an actor asked "What's my motivation", Stanley just walked away without answering.

IIRC, both auties and socios share an un-empathetic mindset.

In Your Humble Opinion, which was he?
#2
Old 01-03-2017, 10:19 PM
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Maybe better suited for Cafe but --------- like Piers Anthony I'm betting somewhere in the autism spectrum.
#3
Old 01-03-2017, 10:29 PM
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#4
Old 01-03-2017, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Enola Straight View Post
During the filming of The Shining, Kubrick basically terrorized Shelly Duvall into acting scared. On some other film, when an actor asked "What's my motivation", Stanley just walked away without answering.

IIRC, both auties and socios share an un-empathetic mindset.

In Your Humble Opinion, which was he?
Re-read his wiki. He was a hugely influential, towering creative intellect in movie making and you want to stamp him with some sort of simple minded psychological dysfunction label because he did not suffer fools gladly and was hard on actors?

My God.
#5
Old 01-03-2017, 11:14 PM
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Kubrick was not "hard on" actors, he was violently abusive and cruel.

I've seen no evidence that he was either autistic or sociopathic, though.
#6
Old 01-04-2017, 03:11 AM
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Wouldn't obsessive-compulsive be a better description of Kubrick? He often did large numbers of takes of shots. This became more common later in his life. The way he treated actors was just a part of his insistence of getting a scene to be exactly the way he wanted it to be, no matter how much it bothered other people.

Kubrick and Frank Sinatra died the same year, and both were shown in the montage of movie people who had died during the year at the Oscars in 2000. Sinatra was famous for refusing to do more than a few takes of each shot. I was at a party where members of the local film society watched the Oscars that year. As the tribute to recently dead movie people was being shown on the big screen TV that we watched, I said, "So Sinatra and Kubrick both arrive at the Pearly Gates at the same time. St. Peter says, "We held off Kubrick appearing before the Pearly Gates for two months so the two of you would arrive at the same time. You two are going to do a movie together here. Mr. Kubrick, you can do as many takes as you like for each shot. Mr. Sinatra, you have to allow him to do those takes. This is because you're going to be in heaven, Mr. Kubrick, and you're going to be in hell, Mr. Sinatra."
#7
Old 01-04-2017, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by friedo View Post
Kubrick was not "hard on" actors, he was violently abusive and cruel.
I'm not sure if this is a hijack, but aren't almost all Directors?
I'm not in that business at all but I thought that the gist of it was that Good Directors are Not Nice People.
(...and that Producers are generally Bullies and wanna-be Loan Sharks who want all their money back Now.)

Maybe thats just a bad movie stereotype though.
Maybe most good directors say, "Thats fine. Go with it and we'll edit later."
Maybe most Producers say, "The movie will be shot by the end of August? Cool. But I'd like a status report on where you are on this before The World Series... ok?"
#8
Old 01-04-2017, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Count Blucher View Post
I'm not sure if this is a hijack, but aren't almost all Directors?
No.
#9
Old 01-04-2017, 07:36 AM
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I never considered him to be either--just a misanthropic asshole.
#10
Old 01-04-2017, 07:50 AM
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I've never read any biographies about him or anything but he didn't seem to have any of the deficits as far as speech in his youth from what I have read, People with Asperger's don't have verbal delays like others with Autism but now they reclassified a lot of things in the DSM where everything is just lumped together as ASD. I think the guy definitely had OCD and had a stern, serious personality and took his work extremely seriously and was perfectionistic. I would vote that he doesn't merit an actual diagnosis of autism, merely certain traits like hyper focus and maybe difficulty with empathy for the actors he directed. His wiki article has a quote from someone that knew him saying that he was not the recluse he was made out to be and was quite gregarious.
#11
Old 01-04-2017, 07:52 AM
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There are plenty of great directors who treat their actors well; a good sample are those that had a "stock company" of actors they used over and over: John Ford, Preston Sturges, Woody Allen, Wes Anderson (do you really think Billy Murray would stick around if he's being abused?), Mel Brooks, Robert Altman, Ingemar Bergman, etc.
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#12
Old 01-04-2017, 07:57 AM
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Then there's James Cameron...
#13
Old 01-04-2017, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by astro View Post
Re-read his wiki. He was a hugely influential, towering creative intellect in movie making and you want to stamp him with some sort of simple minded psychological dysfunction label because he did not suffer fools gladly and was hard on actors?

My God.
just an aside, I find that people who profess that they "don't suffer fools" are usually complete arrogant jerks. Just like people who can't tell the difference between "being brutally honest" and "being an asshole."
#14
Old 01-04-2017, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
I never considered him to be either--just a misanthropic asshole.
Whose films were anything but....
#15
Old 01-04-2017, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by jz78817 View Post
just an aside, I find that people who profess that they "don't suffer fools" are usually complete arrogant jerks. Just like people who can't tell the difference between "being brutally honest" and "being an asshole."
This X1000. Usually, when people say they "don't suffer fools," their definition of "fools" is "anyone who's not me."
#16
Old 01-04-2017, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
There are plenty of great directors who treat their actors well; a good sample are those that had a "stock company" of actors they used over and over: John Ford, Preston Sturges, Woody Allen, Wes Anderson (do you really think Billy Murray would stick around if he's being abused?), Mel Brooks, Robert Altman, Ingemar Bergman, etc.
Steven Spielberg does has a good reputation as well. Other than Julia Roberts, he hardly has any complaints about working with actors.
#17
Old 01-04-2017, 11:20 AM
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If anything, I'd say he had OCD.
#18
Old 01-04-2017, 11:30 AM
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During the filming of The Shining, Kubrick basically terrorized Shelly Duvall into acting scared. On some other film, when an actor asked "What's my motivation", Stanley just walked away without answering.
Maybe that's what was needed, in both cases, to get the artistic results he wanted. Because you can't argue with the end results: The man was certainly a great director.
#19
Old 01-04-2017, 11:43 AM
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Kubrik was neither autistic nor a sociopath (as if these were the only options anyway). Some of the greatest directors have been hard on their actors, as witness that other cinematic genius Alfred Hitchcock.

It's notable that there was never a shortage of actors lining up to work with these two directors. They knew that both were capable of inspiring them to give their greatest performance.
#20
Old 01-04-2017, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Maybe that's what was needed, in both cases, to get the artistic results he wanted. Because you can't argue with the end results: The man was certainly a great director.
Sure, but if I said I needed to scream and mentally abuse my staff to get the results I desired out of them I'd be fired in a heartbeat.
#21
Old 01-04-2017, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Jonathan Chance View Post
Sure, but if I said I needed to scream and mentally abuse my staff to get the results I desired out of them I'd be fired in a heartbeat.
True, but drill sergeants, coaches, and chefs do it all the time, so I bet it's industry specific.
#22
Old 01-04-2017, 12:44 PM
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Thereís no question that Kubrick displayed some OCD tendencies. In one of the documentaries, a memory is shared how Kubrick once left explicit details on how to care for his animals whilst on holiday. It seems these directions go on for 15 pages. cite via 46 seconds of youtube

As to his treatment of Duvall during the filming of the Shining, in the style of actors staying in character, Kubrick evidently didnít think Shelly had the acting chops to pull off the needed sense of vulnerability, victimhood and terror so he took it upon himself to engrain these sentiments on to the actor. He would berate her work constantly and then applaud Nicholsonís effort with the two of them becoming fast buddies. Thereís the alleged world-record-of-takes with the staircase scene when Jack is menacing Wendy who meekly tries to defend herself with a baseball bat. It seems they did 127 takes of this scene. Iím thinking this was done more to break down the character and the actress at the same time rather than some elusive search for the perfect shot. Either that or Kubrick was a heartless prick.

Alas there doesnít seem to be a happy ending for Duvall.

The actress did a Dr. Phil episode relaying how she now suffers from mental illness. She is barely recognizable and in a word, looks terrible. I donít know if she blames Kubrick in anyway but Iím thinking the nightmare experience that was the Shining may have left a deep seated scar or two. clip
#23
Old 01-04-2017, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by astro View Post
Re-read his wiki. He was a hugely influential, towering creative intellect in movie making and you want to stamp him with some sort of simple minded psychological dysfunction label because he did not suffer fools gladly and was hard on actors?



My God.


Yes. Can we no longer just be satisfied by saying that So-and-So is a right bastard, without the need for tagging with some mental issue?
#24
Old 01-04-2017, 01:40 PM
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I wonder if it wasn't only Kubrick that was mean to Duvall but other crew as well. I watched The Shining once with the commentary on and one of the guys, a camera operator, makes this bizarre statement about Duvall having an "abuseable quality" about her I just thought that was a creep thing to say.

Kubrick also did one of those 100+ takes torture sessions on Scatman Crothers until the older actor literally burst into tears and Jack Nicholson intervened and told Kubrick to take it easy on him. So yeah Kubrick was an amazingly talented director and an asshole they aren't mutually exclusive or anything.
#25
Old 01-04-2017, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Jonathan Chance View Post
Sure, but if I said I needed to scream and mentally abuse my staff to get the results I desired out of them I'd be fired in a heartbeat.
I hear Ed Zotti gets away with it.
#26
Old 01-04-2017, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by pool View Post
I wonder if it wasn't only Kubrick that was mean to Duvall but other crew as well. I watched The Shining once with the commentary on and one of the guys, a camera operator, makes this bizarre statement about Duvall having an "abuseable quality" about her I just thought that was a creep thing to say.

Kubrick also did one of those 100+ takes torture sessions on Scatman Crothers until the older actor literally burst into tears and Jack Nicholson intervened and told Kubrick to take it easy on him. So yeah Kubrick was an amazingly talented director and an asshole they aren't mutually exclusive or anything.
Crothers couldn't remember his lines.
#27
Old 01-04-2017, 02:48 PM
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Right - but creating extreme mental stress is not likely to help someone remember their lines.
#28
Old 01-04-2017, 02:53 PM
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I tend to think he had a touch of spectrum-autism, because, for all the effort he put into his work, the acting is mostly shit. There is a great depth of flatness to his actors' performances, which really jumps out at the viewer in his final film. Take Alex de Large, for example: the character is nearly devoid of emotion throughout the film, except for moments of lust, confusion, terror. Or Bowman and Poole, who are close to the most uninteresting characters ever depicted in an epic film. Try to watch Barry Lyndon and you will see a movie made by someone who simply does not connect with the material on a human level.

Kubrick created some awesome artwork, but the lion's share of it feels like the participants themselves are spectators.
#29
Old 01-04-2017, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by minlokwat View Post
As to his treatment of Duvall during the filming of the Shining, in the style of actors staying in character, Kubrick evidently didnít think Shelly had the acting chops to pull off the needed sense of vulnerability, victimhood and terror so he took it upon himself to engrain these sentiments on to the actor. He would berate her work constantly and then applaud Nicholsonís effort with the two of them becoming fast buddies. Thereís the alleged world-record-of-takes with the staircase scene when Jack is menacing Wendy who meekly tries to defend herself with a baseball bat. It seems they did 127 takes of this scene. Iím thinking this was done more to break down the character and the actress at the same time rather than some elusive search for the perfect shot. Either that or Kubrick was a heartless prick.
It should be noted that the one director Duvall had worked with the most in the previous decade was Robert Altman, who could be seen as the anti-Kubrick: also a genius, but in a very loose, unstructured, improvisatory way. Not that he wasn't exacting, but he was famous for putting his actors front-and-center since as a storyteller, his movies were so often about human dynamics and the special energy that's created from large casts and huge narrative tapestries.

So Duvall was probably used to having a director that was more nurturing and a support system of fellow actors around to encourage and feed off of. And it shows, because she's brilliant in those films (especially 3 Women). Kubrick's genius was rooted in being a storyteller concerned with a far more meticulous canvas where actors played only one part. And for most of the shoot, she had only one other professional actor to bounce off of, which had to have been far more isolating and unusual for her.
#30
Old 01-04-2017, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by madsircool View Post
Crothers couldn't remember his lines.
Kubrick: "Okay, then Jack hits you in the back with an axe."

Crothers: "Line?"

Assistant: "AAAAGGGLLKkkkkkuuhhhhhh..."
#31
Old 01-04-2017, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner View Post
"So Sinatra and Kubrick both arrive at the Pearly Gates at the same time. St. Peter says, "We held off Kubrick appearing before the Pearly Gates for two months so the two of you would arrive at the same time. You two are going to do a movie together here. Mr. Kubrick, you can do as many takes as you like for each shot. Mr. Sinatra, you have to allow him to do those takes. This is because you're going to be in heaven, Mr. Kubrick, and you're going to be in hell, Mr. Sinatra."
I'd have made them do it the other way around.
#32
Old 01-04-2017, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Amateur Barbarian View Post
Then there's James Cameron...
Has he finally shut up about the Titanic?
#33
Old 01-04-2017, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by pool View Post
I wonder if it wasn't only Kubrick that was mean to Duvall but other crew as well. I watched The Shining once with the commentary on and one of the guys, a camera operator, makes this bizarre statement about Duvall having an "abuseable quality" about her I just thought that was a creep thing to say.
I always thought she projected a sense of fragility, which isn't quite the same thing, I hope. When she was cast in the live-action version of Popeye I thought she was born to play Olive Oyl.

I recently saw a documentary on the making of Dr. Strangelove. Contrary to Kubrick's reputation for repetition and perfectionism, he let Peter Sellers improvise much of his performance. Must have trusted that he'd get what he wanted.
#34
Old 01-04-2017, 10:40 PM
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I always thought she projected a sense of fragility, which isn't quite the same thing, I hope. When she was cast in the live-action version of Popeye I thought she was born to play Olive Oyl.

I recently saw a documentary on the making of Dr. Strangelove. Contrary to Kubrick's reputation for repetition and perfectionism, he let Peter Sellers improvise much of his performance. Must have trusted that he'd get what he wanted.
Peter Sellers might have been one of the few people on Earth who was enough of an asshole in his own right to intimidate Kubrick.
#35
Old 01-05-2017, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Robot Arm View Post
...I recently saw a documentary on the making of Dr. Strangelove. Contrary to Kubrick's reputation for repetition and perfectionism, he let Peter Sellers improvise much of his performance. Must have trusted that he'd get what he wanted.
He didn't do too many retakes on 2001, either, according to Keir Dullea: http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/...d.php?t=616628
#36
Old 01-05-2017, 01:22 PM
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Alas there doesnít seem to be a happy ending for Duvall.

The actress did a Dr. Phil episode relaying how she now suffers from mental illness. She is barely recognizable and in a word, looks terrible. I donít know if she blames Kubrick in anyway but Iím thinking the nightmare experience that was the Shining may have left a deep seated scar or two. clip
Wow, the poor woman is looking really rough. I hope she's getting some good care.
#37
Old 01-05-2017, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by IvoryTowerDenizen View Post
True, but drill sergeants, coaches, and chefs do it all the time, so I bet it's industry specific.
Drill sergeants are going for a specific thing and certainly don't scream at anyone outside the context of basic training. It is certainly not true that chefs and coaches commonly scream abuse at their employees, and I sincerely doubt screaming and yelling corresponds with success in those fields.

Another director known for being decent with his employees in Clint Eastwood. Eastwood has a reputation for being remarkably efficient and timely in his productions, and very quiet and kind with his staff. After working with him on "Sully," Tom Hanks commented that he found it kind of intimidating that Eastwood wouldn't even yell "Action!"

Last edited by RickJay; 01-05-2017 at 01:45 PM.
#38
Old 01-09-2017, 06:08 PM
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Wow, the poor woman is looking really rough. I hope she's getting some good care.
I just saw that clip. I had avoided watching anything about it because I thought it was just another January Body-Shaming show. That clip makes her look so around the bend and sad though.

****

Q: Did we (as fans) really need to see her destroyed that way on network TV?
She obviously had big and noticeable problems before they even set up camera tripods in the room.
Was there really NOBODY left to say,
"Hey! Dr. Phil! Grow A Fucking Soul and Don't Do This to someone who used to be Famous! Can you Do that? Can you Comprehend that? Are the words too damn hard to get? Is the Concept just too elusive? Do you NEED to buy a Vowel? If she was your mother, would you want that done to her?

Well then... Next Up On Dr Phil...WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG with Shiny Headed Power Mad Ratings Whore Talk Show Pricks....
#39
Old 01-09-2017, 06:54 PM
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Speaking of directors, Alfred Hitchcock was pretty strange.
#40
Old 01-10-2017, 08:14 AM
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I'm fine with calling Kubrick a sociopath. It takes more than being an asshole to what he did to actors. It takes depraved indifference.

Autism doesn't fit. He's too aware of the emotions he wants to elicit, and how to invoke them. Autism would only work if he were merely unaware of how his actions made others feel.You still have empathy; you're just bad at knowing how you make others feel.
#41
Old 01-10-2017, 08:25 AM
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Has he finally shut up about the Titanic?
He did, once, in 2012, for three hours.
#42
Old 01-10-2017, 09:11 AM
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He did, once, in 2012, for three hours.
Before he found out that one of the survivors was Sarah Conner's great grandmother?
#43
Old 01-10-2017, 10:29 AM
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I'm fine with calling Kubrick a sociopath. It takes more than being an asshole to what he did to actors. It takes depraved indifference.

Autism doesn't fit. He's too aware of the emotions he wants to elicit, and how to invoke them. Autism would only work if he were merely unaware of how his actions made others feel.You still have empathy; you're just bad at knowing how you make others feel.
Apart from what Shelly Duvall claimed, what other actor did he mistreat?
#44
Old 01-10-2017, 02:24 PM
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"It is certainly not true that chefs ... commonly scream abuse at their employees, "

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#45
Old 01-11-2017, 05:30 AM
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In "reality" shows, and even then in specific ones.
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