While the films he did make are some of the greatest we have in the medium, much has been discussed about the many Stanley Kubrick screenplays or unproduced projects that never saw the light of day. Around four years ago we got the news that we might see a few come to fruition under the approval of his estate, and after radio silence since then, it now looks like one is finally moving forward.
Written by Kubrick in 1956, the Civil War drama The Downslope was potentially going to be his follow-up to Fear and Desire, but instead he went on to direct a different anti-war film, Paths of Glory, and never revisited the project. Now, according to Variety, the drama has new life as Marc Forster (World War Z, Finding Neverland) has come aboard to write and direct the first film in a trilogy, of which he’ll produce the rest.
With full backing for the Kubrick family, the film follows “a series of Civil War battles in the Shenandoah Valley between Union General George Armstrong Custer and Confederate Colonel John Singleton Mosby, known as the Gray Ghost for his stealth and elusiveness. His cavalrymen, known as Mosby’s Rangers, continually outsmarted the much larger enemy forces in a sequence of raids, which enraged Custer and created a cycle of revenge between the two men.”
Forster and his team have access to the years of research Kubrick did for the “sweeping, historical action-drama,” including maps and extensive notes. “We’ve been given the unique privilege to produce a Stanley Kubrick script no one has had the opportunity to make,” producer Lauren Selig said. “The first installment of the planned trilogy, written by Kubrick, is an engrossing story illustrating a crucial moment in history toward the end of the American Civil War.” As for what to expect with the future installments in the trilogy, they will “expand upon Kubrick’s original story and journey west, as post-war Americans settled the new frontier.”
As any fan of the legendary late director would be, we’re deeply curious to see this material come to light, but considering the pick of someone whose work doesn’t exactly echo Kubrick, we’re doubtful his original vision will be met. While we ponder what might come of this trilogy, check out a 50-minute documentary on Kubrick below, along with an in-depth analysis of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
What do you think of the prospect of Kubrick’s unproduced screenplay getting new life by Forster?