ENGLAND -The first time I met Stanley Kubrick I was walking down a corridor at Shepperton and I saw the Master approaching from the coffee machine. ‘Hello, Mr. Kubrick,’ I said.
‘Come again.’ ‘Hi,’ I said. ‘One more time,’ he changed angle. ‘Good morning?’ I said. ‘Again.’ – The bastard kept me at it for another 59 takes and in the end he used the first one.
This was to be my relationship with the Stanley-oid, as he loved his friends to call him. It was close, intense, fiery and highly competitive. George C. Scott had already warned me that Stanley was a great chess player and had trounced him (and Scotty is no slouch) all the way through the making of Dr Strangelove.
Of course, I was not much good at the game but I knew I had somehow to keep in hand while we were making the 90 minute caper film The Silly Irish Sausage for Warners. So I brought along a game I knew he couldn’t resist Ker-Plunk. What I didn’t know was just how seriously Stan the man, would fall for the game even ringing Mattel and getting them to send over their best Ker-Plunk designer to talk about a movie version. Again and again we played while vital decisions about the progress of the film were often offered up as bets on the outcome.
And that is how The Silly Irish Sausage became Barry Lyndon.
(This extract was taken from the forthcoming book Lunches with Assholes: How Films Get Made due out for Xmas)