A Movie About Kubrick Faking the Moon Landing? Yes, Please.

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Dec. 17 2013 3:53 PM

A Movie About Kubrick Faking the Moon Landing? Yes, Please.

kubrick_filming
Conspiracy theories about Kubrick and the moon landing started circulating after the Apollo 11 mission, thanks to his film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Publicity shot for Barry Lyndon via Wikipedia

Yesterday, when I saw the latest “Black List” of unproduced screenplays beloved by Hollywood execs, one title leapt off my computer screen: 1969: A Space Odyssey, or How Kubrick Learned to Stop Worrying and Land on the Moon. As anyone who has seen Room 237 knows, there is a conspiracy theory of long standing that Stanley Kubrick helped fake the moon landing. Here, to judge from its title—which, of course, pays homage to two Kubrick classics—was a screenplay that took that crazy notion and ran with it. Sounds fun!

So I emailed the screenwriter, Stephany Folsom.

Advertisement

“The theory that Stanley Kubrick faked the moon landing started circulating right after we landed on the moon in 1969,” Folsom told me, adding that she has “always been fascinated by conspiracy theories”—but also noting that “fascination” is very different from “belief.” “I love the idea that a group of people could be so organized to orchestrate what essentially is a giant con job, but I just don’t buy that people are that competent to execute something on so large a scale without someone dropping the ball or spilling the secret.”

She began researching this particular theory after seeing the Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She had “just participated in a NASA Social event, where members of the public can meet with astronauts and NASA scientists to learn about the latest space missions,” and these two “seemingly unrelated events” got her going. She wrote the script as “an homage to Stanley Kubrick’s work and space exploration.”

The title led to me to assume that the movie would be a comedy, perhaps a Dr. Strangelove-esque satire. But Folsom says it’s “mostly a drama,” albeit one with “some comedic moments.” The main character is “a female public affairs assistant in the Nixon administration” named Barbara, who is a composite of several women that were hired “as part of Nixon’s Task Force on Women’s Rights. Kubrick is the driving force of the script,” Folsom adds, “but the movie is really Barbara’s journey.”

I asked Folsom if the Kubrick estate might pose an obstacle to getting such a movie made. She replied simply that the script is “a cinematic love letter to his work.” And while she couldn’t tell me too much about where the screenplay stood in the development process, she did say that “things are happening.”

I hope so. This is a movie I would like to see.

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.

TODAY IN SLATE

The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

Are the Attacks in Canada a Sign of ISIS on the Rise in the West?

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Watch Little Girls Swear for Feminism

Fascinating Maps Based on Reddit, Craigslist, and OkCupid Data

Culturebox

The Real Secret of Serial

What reporter Sarah Koenig actually believes.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Can Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu Pull Off One More Louisiana Miracle?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 23 2014 1:51 PM Is This the ISIS Backlash We've Been Waiting For?
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 23 2014 2:36 PM Take a Rare Peek Inside the Massive Data Centers That Power Google
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 23 2014 1:34 PM Leave Me Be Beneath a Tree: Trunyan Cemetery in Bali
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 23 2014 1:46 PM The Real Secret of Serial Has Sarah Koenig made up her mind yet? 
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 11:45 AM The United States of Reddit  How social media is redrawing our borders. 
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.