The Letter from Stanley Kubrick to Arthur C. Clarke that Sparked 2001: A Space Odyssey

Illustration for article titled The Letter from Stanley Kubrick to Arthur C. Clarke that Sparked 2001: A Space Odyssey

Behold the first letter from Stanley Kubrick to science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke asking for his help penning a "really good science-fiction movie." Five years later, the result was 2001: A Space Odyssey. Amazing.


Here's the most interesting part:

I had been a great admirer of your books for quite a time and had always wanted to discuss with you the possibility of doing the proverbial "really good" science-fiction movie.

My main interest lies along these broad areas, naturally assuming great plot and character:

The reasons for believing in the existence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life.

The impact (and perhaps even lack of impact in some quarters) such discovery would have on Earth in the near future.

A space probe with a landing and exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Roger tells me you are planning to come to New York this summer. Do you have an inflexible schedule? If not, would you consider coming sooner with a view to a meeting, the purpose of which would be to determine whether an idea might exist or arise which could sufficiently interest both of us enough to want to collaborate on a screenplay?

Discovered by the folks over at Letters of Note (a treasure trove of beautiful past letters).


I have this in Greek translation along with 2001, which I found it sweet (which is a rather old one, the 1976 edition). I also have the 2010 foreward from Arthur C. Clarke which explains why he decided to write 2010 (it was all because of the movie success), which reminded me a little bit of an archaic Matrix. I was disappointed though with the discovery of the monolith's real function (in 3001).