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Classics corner: Why London became New York in ‘Eyes Wide Shut’

Director Stanley Kubrick wanted to film his Manhattan epic entirely in London

Nicole Kidman in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut
Photograph: Warner Bros.
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If things had worked out as intended, Londoners would have spent part of the late ’90s sharing the city’s streets with Stanley Kubrick, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman as the bearded film genius conducted his marathon (and Guinness World Record-breaking) 15-month shoot for ‘Eyes Wide Shut’.

Stanley Kubrick and Tom Cruise on the set of ‘Eyes Wide Shut’. Photograph: Warner Bros Pictures International.

Morbidly afraid of flying and ensconced in his Hertfordshire country pile at the time, Kubrick planned to film the New York-set erotic drama entirely on location in London. As the pre-production map below shows, he’d earmarked a range of locations to stand in for Greenwich Village. In the end, only two – Worship Street and Hatton Garden – were used, with the rest filmed at Pinewood Studios. Presumably, London simply doesn’t look inappropriate enough. 

The production map from ‘Eyes Wide Shut’. Photograph: With thanks to the Stanley Kubrick Film Archive LLC, Warner Bros, and University of the Arts London.

Click here to see the map in high quality

‘Eyes Wide Shut’ is back in cinemas for its twentieth anniversary on Fri Nov 29. Read our short review here

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