A masked Tom Cruise in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut | Image: Warner Bros.
Fans of legendary film director Stanley Kubrick are likely aware of his extremely exacting process of filmmaking. Famously perfectionistic and demanding of not only himself, but everyone on his sets, it was a challenge for even the most talented and disciplined of professional actors and crew to work with him. Kubrick always did multiple takes of each scene; it wasn't unusual for him to do fifty or more. Actress Vinessa Shaw, who played Domino in Eyes Wide Shut, said in an interview about the shoot,
"At first I thought, is he trying to wear me down as an actor? I thought like all the preconceived notions I have of this character, is he trying to get me to the basest of level with this scene? Because I would pick up a glass and move it and he, 30 or 40 takes later would say,
'Did you do that before?' and I’m like, 'I’ve been doing it every single time' and he was like ok keep doing that.” And then I started noticing how he was setting up every other shot and I noticed what he was he would look at; he looked first at the lighting, then the cameras, then the actors and it was multiple takes until it was perfect for each subject he was looking at. And so I was thinking, “Oh my god, he’s not even paying attention to anything I do until the 40th take” because he’s really just trying to get everything surrounding the actual actors and then he goes into that scene so it was- again he was a perfectionist at every bit of the filmmaking process and the actors happened to just be one of the later parts that he was paying attention to."
Shaw's quote lends insight as to Kubrick's obsession with so many takes. It also may explain number nine on Mental Floss' list of facts about Eyes Wide Shut:
9. CRUISE DEVELOPED ULCERS WHILE SHOOTING THE FILM
“I didn't want to tell Stanley," Cruise told TIME. “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.”