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2001 A Space Odyssey behind-the-scenes

Michel Van

some picture from production

Original design of Discovery
before Kubrick made last minute change

original Kubrick planned more realistic Hominids, but MGM had problems with nudity
so in end Kubrick went for hairy Apes.


Fabulous photos.
I'm glad I started this thread as its turning up things that have either never been seen before or just so interesting. After all these years its still one of my favourite films.
I always wonder what may have been in all those storage boxes that Kubrick kept on his films, there might be even more fascinating stuff hidden away.
Great find Michel

Michel Van

more stuff

for the Aliens, Kubrick try everything
even this mad idea: The Polka-dot man
his Idea a optical illusion, created by a dotted pattern somewhere, in front of a dotted-pattern background - and the result was something that was virtually invisible, yet somewhat visible just because it was on a different plane than the background.

so Stuart Freeborn glued hundreds black paper dots on actor Dan Richter
after weeks of preparation, film test were made in September 5, 1967
Kubrick look on result for 5 minutes and rejected it

IIRC the extremely thin attenuated beings seen at the end of film 'A.I.' were from an old 2001 alien concept. 'A.I.' was to be Kubrick's last film but after his passing Spielberg took the project over.

Michel Van

IIRC the extremely thin attenuated beings seen at the end of film 'A.I.' were from an old 2001 alien concept. 'A.I.' was to be Kubrick's last film but after his passing Spielberg took the project over.

that is this concept art

Kubrick wanted vague thin humanoid figure based on work of a Italian sculptor.

Brian Johnson had on this idea, similar to The Polka-dot man.
Actor in a black velvet body suit with five thousand tiny bulbs wired onto it!
film with special lenses it would give wanted effect show on concept art.

but Kubrick was not interested ...
Call me old-fashioned....

....that's because I am. See, all these good folk, years ago, tried all kinds of things that simply hadn't been done before, nor repeated since. So much of the ingenuity came from men with pipes and rolled up shirt sleeves (and ladies, without the pipes), labouring away with materials which made life an awful lot more difficult - standard light bulbs, conventional wiring, traditional fabrics and plywood sets, and so on - and yet they broke new ground in special effects, cinematography and costume design.

Look at the floating pen shot on the Orion shuttle: still one of my favourite scenes, achieved by a pen stuck to a pane of glass gently moved by two stagehands in front of the camera. Genius, sheer genius. It's little wonder Brian Johnson and his peers in the early stages of their careers learned so much, so quickly. I watch the swooping, soaring, spinning, exploding vehicles in massive dogfights in today's productions and, well, it just doesn't mean as much, wonderful though it may be to watch - sometimes.

Pictures like Michel's are just fantastic - a real window on a world long gone, on an age where a hundred daft ideas threw up a couple of truly brilliant end-results. More, please, if you have them Michel - they'll always be welcome here.

Kindest regards


Michel Van

here comes more

Douglas Trumbull try for Aliens
the mechanical effect: "gargoyles"

The Optical effect: the video-feedback alien

The 'jellyfish' alien

source: the Douglas Trumbull archive


Found some more pics if anyone is interested.
I also found a website that has 100 behind the scenes photos from 2001, some of them are amazing.
The first picture has Dan Richter on the left with Stuart Freeborn.


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Michel Van

Probably Alberto Giacometti


yes that the guy but there also this Possibly: Reddy Killowatt

a branding character that acted in TV commercial for electricity generation in the US in that time

I try to post some photos
but Flickr play crazy with super new layout of there page
that make me impossible to post my picture here…


Here is another photo of the Moon Bus miniature with Doug Trumbell looking on.


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Michel Van

posting Flickr picture is become complex edit work :thumbdown:

here more picture of orginal realistic Hominids make up
i found those picture over the years in the Internet.



More behind the scenes from 2001, I don't know about anyone else but I find them all fascinating.
I wonder what ever happened to the 2001 car?


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Yet even more photos.
Just look at the size of the Discovery compared to the guy standing next to it, amazing.


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