GENIUS AT WORK
. YOU'VE HEARD OF HIM? Made a couple of movies that earned a few bucks. Most filmmakers would dance the Macarena on a bed of flaming coals to get him. Not Stanley Kubrick, 68, the reclusive—and at times eccentric—screenwriter and director behind Dr. Strangelove (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), The Shining (1980) and other classics. When Cruise expressed interest in Kubrick's latest project, the Frederic Raphael-scripted Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick offered him an unusual deal: The actor had to to come to The Bronx-born auteur's 172-acre Child-wickbury estate north of London, where he lives with third wife Christiana. While at Kubrick's house—the director isn't much for traveling, and he refuses to fax scripts or send them through the mail—Cruise would, says Kubrick pal and London Evening Standard film critic Alexander Walker, "decide then and there if he wanted to commit."
He came, he read, he committed—and his wife, Nicole Kidman
, agreed to costar. Now the couple, along with Jennifer Jason Leigh and Harvey Keitel, are outside London filming Kubrick's first effort since 1987's Full Metal Jacket. Eyes Wide Shut is due next year. But what's it about? Good question. Although everyone on the set had to swear an oath of secrecy, rumor has it that Cruise and Kidman play married shrinks and in one scene Tom wears a dress.