Cruise "Eyes" Ulcer

Actor says he became so involved with film, he became ill

By Daniel Frankel Jun 28, 1999 9:45 PMTags
You probably know that late director Stanley Kubrick put actor couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman through an extremely tough shoot while making the upcoming psycho-sexual drama Eyes Wide Shut.

Now you?ll find out just how intense, thanks to Time magazine.

Cruise tells the newsweekly that he developed ulcers at one point during the marathon year and a half on the London set. He says he kept the problem quiet because he didn't want to see tabloid headlines reading, "Kubrick gives Cruise Ulcer?"--and he didn't want to upset the taskmaster director, whom both he and his wife were growing increasingly close to.

"I didn't want to tell Stanley," Cruise says in the magazine. "He panicked. I wanted this to work, but you're playing with dynamite when you act. Emotions kick up. You try not to kick things up, but you go through things you can't help."

According to Kidman, tension was inevitable, given the star couple was working together on such close-to-home subject matter as jealousy and sexual boredom within a nine-year marriage. In the film, Cruise and Kidman play married shrinks set on a mission of sexual exploration--Kubrick reportedly forced them to get very involved in these roles.

"We were both dealing with jealousy and sex in a way that it was always lurking around," Kidman explains. "We shot for 10 and a half months, but we were there for a year and half. That's quite a strange thing to always have with you, day in and day out. You never quite walk away from it. Stanley as well."

Kubrick died unexpectedly in March, just days after his final edit.

When the film's climactic orgy scene threatened to bury the film with a dreaded NC-17 rating in America, many feared Warner Bros. would make cuts that the very-hands-on director wouldn't have approved of in life.

The film's producer, Jan Harlan, tells Time that even though Kubrick wasn't around once the Motion Picture Association of America rated the film, the master director knew all along that some edits would be necessary in order for Eyes Wide Shut to get its needed R rating.

Thus, rather than cut the film, Kubrick had planned to digitally add figures to the orgy scene to partly hide the most explicit 65 seconds. (Similar to the opening credits to Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, where Mike Myers prances around nude, but we never actually see his bits 'n' pieces.)

"There is nothing in the picture that Stanley didn't approve," vows Cruise, who once threatened to kick the ass of anyone who tampered with Kubrick's vision.

Still, while American audiences will see less, the rest of the world will see Eyes Wide Shut as Kubrick originally made it.