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Wednesday, 15 March, 2000, 12:31 GMT
Spielberg to wrap Kubrick project
Steven Spielberg
Directors Spielberg and Kubrick were old friends
Steven Spielberg's next film will be AI - the project Stanley Kubrick was working on before his death a year ago.

The Oscar-winning director will begin work on the film in July, and is hoping to complete it for release in the summer of 2001.

Spielberg has often described Kubrick, who died in March 1999 aged 70, as a valued mentor. He had been working on AI, which stands for "artificial intelligence", for nearly two decades before his death.

Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick had been working on AI since the early 1970s
"Stanley had a vision of this project that was evolving over 18 years," Spielberg said.

"I am intent on bringing to the screen as much of that vision as possible along with elements of my own."

Kubrick's brother-in-law, Jan Harlan, will act as executive producer on AI for Spielberg. He fulfilled the same role for Kubrick's films Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut, the director's last film, which starred Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise.

Steven Spielberg arriving at Kubrick's funeral
Steven Spielberg arriving at Kubrick's funeral
Harlan said Kubrick and Spielberg had discussed AI at length before his death, and that Kubrick "came to realise that Steven would actually be the ideal director for the project".

Kubrick had been working on AI for nearly 30 years. He first set about adapting British author Brian Aldiss' 1969 short story Super-Toys Last All Summer Long in the early 1970s.

The story is about a boy who is unaware he is a robot. Aldiss said it was set in a future when scientists have "found a way to link computer circuitry with synthetic flesh".

Labour of love

Aldiss has said that Kubrick was turned off the idea by George Lucas' Star Wars in 1977, and abandoned it to make The Shining.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park 2
Spielberg's Jurassic Park convinced Kubrick AI could be made
Spielberg's ET inspired him to return to Super-Toys in 1982 - but then he dropped that project for Full Metal Jacket.

In 1989 work restarted on Super-Toys - but Kubrick decided that special effects technologies were not advanced enough at the time.

But - once more inspired by a Spielberg film, Jurassic Park - he returned to the idea, now re-titled AI, in 1993. He recruited two of the team who had worked on Jurassic Park - Dennis Muren and Ned Gorman to assist him.

Tom Cruise with Nicole Kidman
Tom Cruise with Nicole Kidman in Eyes Wide Shut
Eyes Wide Shut then took up his time, but he died before that was completed in 1999.

Spielberg's announcement ends speculation in Hollywood as to his next step. Recently he said he would not be producing a film based on British author JK Rowling's Harry Potter novels.

Work on a further Spielberg film, Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise, has been delayed until April 2001 to allow Spielberg to complete AI.

AI will be distributed by Warner Brothers - which holds the rights to Kubrick's films - in the US, and by Spielberg's DreamWorks outfit in the rest of the world.

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See also:

14 Mar 00 | Entertainment
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09 Mar 99 | UK
Kubrick: A film odyssey
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Spielberg has kidney removed
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