Kubrick & Clarke: The Letter That Resulted in 2001:A Space Odyssey
Another great find from Letters of Note, this time of the science-fiction variety. In March 1964, legendary film director Stanley Kubrick (who by ’64 already had Lolita, The Killing and Dr. Strangelove under his belt, among others) wrote to also-legendary science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke (who had already been Hugo-nominated by then), proposing a meeting to discuss possible collaboration on the ever-elusive “really good” science-fiction movie.
The result was a solid eight-hour talk, and the result of THAT was 2001: A Space Odyssey four years later. The novel and the film were developed concurrently, with the novel actually being released after the movie. The story was based partially upon previous works by Clarke, like the short story The Sentinel. Read on for the incredibly cool correspondence from Kubrick.
SOLARIS PRODUCTIONS, INC
March 31, 1964
Mr. Arthur C. Clarke
Dear Mr Clarke:
It’s a very interesting coincidence that our mutual friend Caras mentioned you in a conversation we were having about a Questar telescope. I had been a great admirer of your books for quite a time and had always wanted to discuss with you the possibility of doing the proverbial “really good” science-fiction movie.
My main interest lies along these broad areas, naturally assuming great plot and character:
The reasons for believing in the existence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life.
The impact (and perhaps even lack of impact in some quarters) such discovery would have on Earth in the near future.
A space probe with a landing and exploration of the Moon and Mars.
Roger tells me you are planning to come to New York this summer. Do you have an inflexible schedule? If not, would you consider coming sooner with a view to a meeting, the purpose of which would be to determine whether an idea might exist or arise which could sufficiently interest both of us enough to want to collaborate on a screenplay?
Incidentally, “Sky & Telescope” advertise a number of scopes. If one has the room for a medium size scope on a pedestal, say the size of a camera tripod, is there any particular model in a class by itself, as the Questar is for small portable scopes?