“Journey Beyond the Stars”

“Journey Beyond the Stars”
   “Journey Beyond the Stars” was the working title for STANLEY KUBRICK’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) initially described the project in a press release dated February 23, 1965, titled “STANLEY KUBRICK TO FILM ‘JOURNEY BEYOND THE STARS’ IN CINERAMA FOR MGM. ” The picture was to begin production on August 16th and to be filmed on location in Britain, Switzerland, Africa, Germany, and the United States. “Journey Beyond the Stars” was described as “an epic story of adventure and exploration, encompassing the Earth, the planets of our Solar System, and a journey light-years away to another part of the Galaxy. ”The screenplay “will be written by Kubrick and [Arthur C. ] Clarke. ” Kubrick quoted the biologist J. B. S. Haldane extensively: “The Universe is not only stranger than we imagine; it is stranger than we can imagine. ” Considering that “in our Galaxy there are a hundred billion stars, of which our Sun is a perfectly average specimen, and that present estimates put the number of Galaxies in the visible Universe at a hundred million, Haldane’s statement seems rather conservative,” Kubrick continued. “Space is one of the great themes of our age, yet,” Kubrick claimed, “it is one still almost untouched in serious art and literature. ” But now, with manned spaceships actually being built,“it is time to break away from the clichés of Monsters and Madmen. There will be dangers in space—but there also will be wonder, adventure, beauty, opportunity, and sources of knowledge that will transform our civilization, as the voyages of the Renaissance brought about the end of the Dark Ages. ”
   Kubrick goes on to pose basic questions the film will pursue:“Since we are about to explore space, has anyone already visited Earth? If so, did they come 100, 1,000, or 1,000,000 years ago? Does intelligent life exist on other planets of this Sun, such as Mars or Venus—or will we have to span the million-times greater distance to the other stars before we encounter intelligent things?” Kubrick explains that the story “opens in the year 2001, when permanent bases have been established on the moon, manned expeditions have visited Mars, and automatic probes have been sent to all the major planets of this Solar System. Then, unexpectedly, and from uncomfortably close at hand, comes the electrifying discovery of extra-terrestrial intelligence. ” Credentials are listed for ARTHUR C. CLARKE, “credited in official Communications Satellite Corporation histories as the first person to describe in detail, in Wireless World, October 1945, the communications satellite system. ” Clarke is identified as “President of the Ceylon Astronomical Society and Past Chairman of the British Interplanetary Society. ” The press release, reproduced in its entirety in PIERS BIZONY’s book 2001: Filming the Future (London: Aurum Press, 2000), provides a glimpse of what Kubrick had in mind when the 2001 project first got underway.
   J. M. W.

The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick. . 2002.

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