Hollywood funnyman Steve Martin
was the surprising original choice to play the lead in Stanley Kubrick
's Eyes Wide Shut
. The comic star was the great director's favorite to play the role of Doctor William Harford - ultimately taken by Tom Cruise
- opposite Nicole Kidman
when Kubrick first thought about developing Arthur Schnitzler
's novel Traumnovelle
. Martin still remembers his trip to England to discuss the part with the late mogul in 1979 - 20 years before Kubrick completed what was to be his last film. Martin says, "I went to his house. We had lunch and played chess. He was an eccentric guy, a nice guy. He took me into the rooms of his house. He was still screening prints of 2001 [A Space Odyssey] to make sure they were right. In fact he said, `I just screened a print of 2001, ' which means he had sat and watched the entire movie to see if the color was right. And it's 1979 and that film was made in what, 1966 or something. Truly amazing guy."