Though the details of the short story were fairly different than what we see in the film, the overall idea is reflected in the Floyd sequence. There is no mention of HAL 9000, the Astronauts Dave Bowman and Frank Poole, or their mission to Jupiter, and yet, the Jupiter Mission sequence is arguably what most think of when they think of the story of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
This sequence was the main reason why they decided to use the year 2001 in the title. Fred Ordway explains:
Fred Ordway: “How did we get that title? Stanley and I sat for many… He said, “Fred…” It was originally called “Journey Beyond the Stars,” the novel and the screenplay was using that title. And he wanted something more contemporary and that’s… you know, Journey Beyond the Stars—he was fascinated with the idea of something that could happen at the beginning of the next century, that’s, for us, thirty-five years in the future. And we had firmly projected a round trip to Mars in 1985, something that’s still a dream, using NERVA, which had made a lot of progress—nuclear energy for which we would add a Mars mission module with a crew and it would be launched by Saturn. And I said, “if we could do that with a maximum national effort by 1985 or ’87, perhaps by the year 2001 we could do something similar to that with Jupiter. Not a landing on the planet or anything like that, but going to Jupiter.”
It was actually in October 1965 that Kubrick and Clarke decided on centering the majority of the story on “a malfunctioning system” that would become what we now know as the Jupiter Mission sequence (Telegraph). Kubrick first made contact with Clarke in the spring of 1964 in New York City. The story of their meeting is quite interesting, but it’s a little too tangential to include in this video, so I decided to make it into a video of its own.
In a couple of interviews, Kubrick discussed writing with Clarke.
“Do you like writing alone?”
Kubrick: “I would love to write with someone who I found stimulating and on the same wavelength. The only person that I’ve ever felt that with was with Arthur Clarke when we were working on the original story, but when you get into the filming, frequently many adjustments in the plot have to be made.”
Kubrick: “You know, I think that somehow without trying to- without making it sound to pompous or precious, that he captures the hopeless but admirable human desire to know these things that they never will, you know, can never really know and to reach for things that they can never, you know, really reach or reach back and, you know—it’s very hard to say exactly, but the sense of sadness and this poetic sense of time passing and the sort of loneliness of worlds.”
The first thing we see in the Jupiter Mission sequence is the 700 foot long Discovery One spacecraft as it slowly creeps across the screen. According to the Discovery’s wiki, it “was named after Captain Robert Scott’s RRS Discovery, [which was] launched [in] 1901; Arthur C. Clarke used to visit the ship when [it] was moored in London” (Discovery Wiki). The model itself was 54 feet long “with a 6-foot diameter ‘command module’ ball.”
Here we can see a layout of the ship’s interior:
In the film, the ship is powered by “nuclear reactor engines” and Kubrick briefly “considered showing the explosion of atomic bombs as propulsion, which at the time, was considered to be a viable way to propel such a ship (Making 114). A December 1965 draft of the screenplay describes it as this:
“We see a blinding flash every 5 seconds from its nuclear pulse propulsion. It strikes against the ship’s thick ablative tail plate” (screenplay).
Christopher Frayling: “It’s interesting—Harry Lange’s designs for the discovery originally had all these heat shields on the back because, if you’re chucking nuclear bombs out of the back, you need to protect the astronauts from what’s going on. Arthur C. Clarke reckons that Kubrick dropped that idea because it was too like Dr. Strangelove. That having made a film which ends with a newsreel of the nuclear explosions going everywhere, he wasn’t about to say how wonderful nuclear power is in powering these spaceships. So in the end, they dropped it and they dropped the heat shields even though Discovery is still powered by gaseous core nuclear engines. You can see the sort of burn marks on the back, but not by chucking bombs out of the back.”
In an interview with the TV Store Online, special effects artist Brian Johnson recounts what it was like to detail the models. He said:
“Well, Doug Trumbull and I did a lot of the “dirtying” down of them. We also added plastic enhancements to some of the models to give them more visible details for the camera. Myself and [Production Manager] Robert Watts went to the Nuremberg Toy Fair in Germany which was the largest convention for toy models in the world. When I was on Thunderbirds, I had been using a lot of plastic kits on the models for that show that I had gotten from two great companies based in Germany. Robert could speak German so I had him ask one of the companies if we could go to their factory and just hold buckets under their machines to get as many of a single piece that we wanted. I thought this was a better idea instead of buying 1000 of their kits and only using one piece out of each of them. The Germans have always been good about that sort of thing, so they allowed us to come to their factory and we went through all of the bits that they made, picked the ones that we liked and were able to get all of the pieces that we needed. We had thousands and thousands of bits packed and ready to go at customs at the airport when we arrived the next day.
Some of the models that were created for 2001 were kind of plain, so what Doug Trumbull and I did was to take all of those little plastic bits and embed them. We did that on the Moonbase model and on several of the space satellites” (Brian Johnson Interview).
Kier Dullea: “By the way, the construction of the miniatures—that was going on all through the shooting. That did begin in 1965 and after we finished, I remember they were still shooting and in between the time we finished and the Dawn of Man sequence started.”
Special effects supervisor Douglas Trumbull was quoted saying, “Stanley Kubrick stated a goal of the production: ‘Solving the previously unsolved problem of making special effects look completely realistic. I had to invent new techniques all the time. We ran through 205 special-effects shots. The last ones were arriving in Hollywood as the negative printing was being done’” (Making 71).
In a later interview for the September 1968 issue of Playboy Magazine, Kubrick mentioned that the special effects took “18 months and $6,500,000 out of a $10,500,000 budget” (Playboy 195). They ended up going over budget by nearly double that of the initial amount.
It was because of Kubrick’s desire to push the envelope of special effects that he hired relatively new blood when it came to his special effects team. Visual effects artist for 2001 Bryan Loftus explains: “Stanley also liked working with younger people as well because they were more flexible than other more experienced technicians. He used to like the fact that younger people wouldn’t tell him if something couldn’t be done because they effectively didn’t know it couldn’t be done because they had never tried it” (Bryan Loftus Interview).
The first shot we see of the centrifuge set is of Frank Poole, played by Gary Lockwood, jogging around the centrifuge’s interior for exercise. This shot shows a fixed view with the camera tilted to show the full scope of the set. Jeremy Berenstein recalls watching the footage of this scene shortly after it was filmed, complete with direction by Kubrick and music by Chopin being played on the set. He said, “As the scene went on, Kubrick’s voice could be heard on the sound track, rising over Chopin: ‘Gain a little on the camera, Gary!… Now a flurry of lefts and rights!… A little more vicious!’ After the film had run its course Kubrick appeared quite pleased with the results, remarking, ‘It’s nice to get two minutes of usable film after two days of shooting’” (Making 70).
The centrifuge set was, in essence, a giant wheel that rotated to give the appearance of being able to defy gravity by walking—or in this case jogging— around it. I believe this concept has been around since the silent era, but its first substantial use was in the 1951 Fred Astaire musical Royal Wedding where he quite literally dances up the walls and on the ceiling. The concept would later be used for a variety of films and other media with a recent and noteworthy undertaking in Christopher Nolan’s Inception. The next few shots help us better understand how it worked. Gary Lockwood is running in a stationary position on the bottom of the centrifuge like a giant hamster wheel. For these shots, there is a slit running down the center of the centrifuge floor in which a thin camera mount stuck out through the slit and would remain in a fixed position while the centrifuge rotated around it. The crew often wore hard hats on this set to protect from “exploding light bulbs and falling equipment” (Making 116).
In an interview with American Cinematographer, Douglas Trumbull mentions that for some shots in the centrifuge, “the camera was mounted on a specially made 360-degree tilting platform which was bolted to the floor of the centrifuge, and the camera operator sat in a ferris-wheel type seat which kept him upright at all times. Other shots were done with the camera mounted on a small rubber-tired dolly, which would be pulled by grips frantically clambering up the inside of the centrifuge as it rotated, trying to keep ahead of an actor shadow boxing at the bottom” (American Cinematographer).
The shots that took place in the centrifuge were shot in early March of 1966 and were some of the most complicated to film (Making 66). The Centrifuge itself was built by a company called Vicker’s Engineering Group in England and was reportedly nearly 70 feet tall. “It took six months to build and cost about three hundred thousand dollars” (Making 66). The interior was eight feet wide and the whole thing could rotate “at a maximum speed of about three miles an hour” (Making 66).
On the subject of the centrifuge set, publicist Ivor Powell had this to say: “I remember when it shipped out and I remember when it arrived at the studio. When it was assembled on the soundstage it weighed over 90 tons. We were on that set for so very long. We had hired a crane and normally when you hire a crane on a movie you have it for a couple days and then you get rid of the thing, but that wasn’t the case here. That crane, and it was the biggest crane known to man, sat in a corner of that soundstage for a very long time. It sat there for as long as Stanley wanted it to be there” (Ivor Powell Interview).
Keir Dullea: “The picture is being done in such a gigantic scope, both in terms of its subject, in terms of the sets being built—I understand it has one of the largest art department collections in the history of motion pictures. The centrifuge is so realistic and so unusual that after a while you begin to forget that you’re an actor and you really begin to feel like an astronaut.”
We get our first direct glimpse of both HAL and Dave Bowman in the same shot—a shot of HAL’s lens with Dave reflected in it. From this picture, it looks as though two shots were composited to form the final shot. See how HAL’s lens is missing from this shot of Dave. In the December 1965 draft of the screenplay, after introducing the Discovery, the action describes Dave looking for something. He sort of takes us through the different areas of the ship while he looks—including the command module, the air lock, and finally, the pod bay, where he finds his lost item, which turns out to be his ‘Electronic Newspad.’ In the final film we can see Dave carrying his Electronic Newspad in what was called the hublink transition corridor and in this shot and as he enters the centrifuge. The strange thing is that this draft of the screenplay doesn’t include the BBC broadcast, which would explain Bowman’s motivation for finding his Electronic Newspad. For this shot, the camera was on a rotating mount, which we can see in this photo.
This shot was a little tricky—Gary Lockwood is actually upside-down at the beginning of this shot and strapped into his seat. One of the main issues was the food that Lockwood was eating—since the table he was sitting at was completely inverted, the food kept falling all the way down the height of the set and splattering onto everything at the bottom.
Gary Lockwood: “And he takes me up to the top of the wheel and there’s three pieces of food in front of me—red, yellow, green or whatever the hell they are—and Stanley was the coolest guy going, ‘alright Lockwood, on action just start eating.’ And so I’m upside-down trying to be cool and I take the fork and I go like this- well I’m left handed, I take the fork and go like this and I pull the food to my mouth and it goes like this… I remember, I’m upside-down and I remember looking down—if you will—like doing that. And it goes…”
They would then have to stop production for quite some time to clean it all up. It actually took a week to complete just that shot. Andrew Berkin shares a memory of how they solved this particular problem in an interview with the TV Store Online. He said: “I remember they were having problems with the food falling to the ground once it went to the top of the rotation of the Centrifuge. And it was my Mom who solved it. I went to see her one evening after shooting and I had mentioned the problem to her. She suggested that we add gelatin to it. So we added gelatin and peanut butter to it so that it would stick to the sides of the tray as it rotated upside down. I don’t think she ever got credit for that” (Andrew Berkin Interview).
Bryan Loftus recounts a similar issue when the construction of the Centrifuge was first completed. He said: “I still remember the first time they turned it on after they had finished putting it together. It started to turn around and all you could hear were hundreds and hundreds of nails dropping. They had to run the Centrifuge for about a week before they could shoot on it to clear all that out” (Bryan Loftus Interview).
A fair amount of shots in this sequence are at odd and seemingly canted angles. For instance, this shot of Dave and Frank eating looks to be an overhead shot, but it also appears as if the camera is upright and the men are positioned with their feet on the wall. I think these shots were chosen to keep the viewer slightly disoriented and accepting of the fact that there is no real up or down in space. A great deal of special effects shots keep reminding us of this fact and, to orient the camera in this way (when appropriate), works as a stylistic way of carrying this concept through the whole Jupiter Mission sequence.
Now, of course the Electronic Newspads were made up for the film as the technology did not exist yet, so how they created the effect was to use two 16mm projectors positioned above the Newspads that would project the broadcast onto their screens. This concept became much more complicated with all of the computer readouts around HAL—each one requiring its own 16mm projector. And each “projector had about five minutes of animation on them,” which were done by Douglas Trumbull (Brian Johnson Interview).
Brian Johnson said: “I spent a great deal of time on [the centrifuge] set because I had to set up all of the computer readout screens. Those were all set up on 16mm Bell & Howell projectors that were attached at various points on the outside of the Centrifuge set. It was [Special Photographic Effects Supervisor] Wally Veevers idea to use various different types of lenses on each projector. This didn’t work because when the Centrifuge went around, the readouts on the computer on the set would eventually be upside down at a certain point in the Centrifuge rotation, so it occurred to me that we would actually need to install a steel plate underneath the projector and add an additional projector that would run at the same time but upside down, so when it rotated, the screen image, the readout, would be right side up no matter at what point it was at in the rotation of the Centrifuge. Wally was insistent that all of the projects had to be in a upright position but when he tried out his rig he was having some key-stoning problems.
Stanley had this thing about having two different people work on the same project at the same time, so as I was getting the lenses around for the Bell & Howell for Wally’s project, I was experimenting with my own rig with the stock projector lenses. When Stanley walked onto the set, Wally fired up his rig and it was all over the place, and when I figured up my rig, not only did it work but the readouts on the screens on the set were much brighter. Stanley said, “Right, file yours Wally…” Then he walked off the stage. After that, Wally wouldn’t talk to me again, and I moved on to spend the rest of the shoot working with Doug Trumbull” (Brian Johnson Interview).
On the 2001archive Flickr page, there is a picture of an article that Frank was apparently reading on his newspad just as Dave joins him at the table. The article talks about a missing twelve-engine airliner carrying almost 2500 passengers that got lost between New York and London. It says this particular airliner travels at a top speed of 2400 miles per hour and at “altitudes above 70,000 feet.” The article goes on to speculate exactly what went wrong with the flight, but I can’t help but remember the narration that was originally in the beginning of the Floyd sequence that compared the peace between the nuclear powers to an airline with a perfect safety record [quote] “in that no one expected it to last forever” (screenplay). Perhaps Kubrick meant to imply with this article (in admittedly the most subtle way imaginable, seeing as you can’t even really read the headline in the final film) that the peace between the nuclear powers was coming to an end. This actually works well with a theory for a possible meaning to the end of the film, but that’s something that I will go over in another video. If you would like to read the article in full, I have put a link to it in the description.
The hibernation of the crew was based on actual science. Dr. Ormond G. Mitchell, who was a professor of anatomy at NYU Medical Center, served as a consultant on 2001. He noted that the “induced hibernation of humans for long periods of time is not only completely feasible but imminent” (Making 117).
Fred Ordway: “What I needed was all the logic behind it— so we would have panels showing the hibernating information and we had to know what all- each panel meant, each line, each button—everything that would be realistic, what measurements they were making. And I wouldn’t know what- head making, body making, and so forth. And that was a typical example of my job to make sure that the technology at that particular sequence was as iron-clad as you can get it at that time.”
This scene is quite a large exposition dump, but it still remains fascinating despite being centered on two men eating silently while watching television. Considering the Jupiter Mission sequence is pretty much able to behave as a stand-alone story, it is smart to begin with an exposition dump. I think this scene works so well for two reasons. First, after an hour of mystery and relatively complex and unexplained technical jargon, we finally get some explanation of what is going on by way of in-universe media that is meant to be shown to the general public. So it is perfectly appropriate for this information to be relayed to us in the simplest way possible. It behaves much like a narrator would. And second, it raises questions and sets up further mystery. We are introduced to the concept of HAL, but it is only enough information to start the audience on thinking about what the notion of an artificial intelligence in control of the protagonists’ living space ultimately means as the story progresses. There is also a brief mention of it being the first time that crew members have been put into hibernation before their departure, which not only explains the concept, but perfectly sets up the mystery behind it when it is brought up by HAL in his conversation with Dave a short time later.
In this picture, we see the camera setup for what looks like the angle of Dave and Frank for the BBC broadcast. At the time there were only a couple of BBC channels, but in the film, we can see that this broadcast is on BBC 12.
The next scene shows Frank lying under an ultra-violet light, which mimicked sunlight. This is why he is wearing eye protection. He gets a video message from his parents back on Earth. His father briefly mentions fixing a problem with Frank’s AGS-19 payments. This is a reference to an earlier draft of the screenplay, which included a scene between Frank and Dave in lieu of the scene with the BBC broadcast.
In the screenplay, the scene starts with a conversation between Dave and Frank about a problem with payroll. It seems that their salaries don’t yet reflect their new positions of AGS-19, but the salaries have been changed for the three astronauts in hibernation. They speculate that there is an issue because they were trained at a different facility than the three hibernating astronauts. Dave and Frank find it strange that they were trained at a different facility than the others, which leads to them discussing the rumor that the three hibernating astronauts know something that they don’t.
HAL is then introduced as Frank asks HAL if this is true. HAL responds very logically to Frank’s question. This prompts Frank to ask HAL a series of true or false questions, which reveals a fair amount of exposition that was ultimately cut from the film—most likely because it was deemed unnecessary. The exposition is basically where they are going (Saturn), how long it will take to get there (275 days), how long they will be there (100 days), how long they will be in hibernation afterwards (5 years), and the reason for their mission (to carry out a continuation of the space program and to further our general knowledge of the planets).
You’ll see here that the destination in the screenplay was Saturn. This was changed to Jupiter because they didn’t think they could properly recreate Saturn’s rings using special effects, but more on this later.
We then see Frank playing HAL in a game of chess. Kubrick was an avid chess player and, as a young man, earned money by playing chess for quarters in Washington Square Park. Despite this scene being only 46 seconds long, there is actually a Wikipedia page devoted just to this chess match between Frank and HAL. The page notes that the setup of the board at this point of the game references a “tournament game between A. Roesch and W. Schlage,” in Hamburg in the year 1910 (Chess wiki). Frank makes what would be his 14th move and HAL makes his, but when Frank moves his rook to king-one, HAL says: “I’m sorry Frank, I think you missed it: queen to bishop three, bishop takes queen, knight takes bishop, mate.” However, HAL doesn’t mention that Frank could, in fact, prolong checkmate for two more moves. This seems weird because you would expect a logical thinking machine such as HAL to detail what the best possible move is for both sides. And with Kubrick being the experienced chess player he was, this is most likely not a mistake. Therefore, it seems as though HAL not only isn’t revealing everything he knows to Frank, but he is, in a way, testing Frank’s cognitive ability as a human as well as his reliance and trust in HAL’s logic. Frank immediately resigns the game without question. Of course, anyone short of a chess expert wouldn’t pick up on this in a mere 46 seconds, but it’s possible that it is just one of those Kubrick details that gives such richness to his films. It would be around thirty years later that World Chess Champion Gary Kasparov would lose to IBM’s Deep Blue computer.
IBM was one of the many companies that cooperated with the film. You can see the IBM logo on the forearm of Dave’s spacesuit. Many have noted that the letters I-B-M are one removed from the letters H-A-L (as in H-I, A-B, and L-M). Kubrick maintained that this is just a coincidence.
Fred Ordway: “You might sort of tie in here, Harry—these memory packs around the rear of the helmet are activated by an arm unit, which has been developed for us with the assistance of IBM and if certain types of information are required by the astronaut, he will simply press the appropriate button and these will connect up with a typical computer console in the main ship.”
When asked if having an evil computer so closely named to IBM upset the company Fred Ordway replied, “Well, we had many arguments over that. But in the end I think they were satisfied with how the film came out. I worked closely with their team then and after the shooting of the film was over, so the relationship wasn’t strained because of 2001” (Fred Ordway Interview).
In this photo, we get a glimpse of a cut scene where Dave plays a game called Pentominoes against HAL. Kubrick cut the scene because it would be redundant after Frank plays HAL in chess. The board game company Parker Brothers actually “manufactured Pentominoes, hoping [the] scene would be included” (Making 123).
A lot of the centrifuge set was very confined. There were times when they couldn’t fit any of the crew members onto the set and Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood would have to turn the camera on themselves and then go back to their mark and do the scene. For shots like that, Kubrick would direct the scene and watch them perform on a “closed-circuit-television system” further away (Making 66). Because of the hazards involved with working around the centrifuge set—“exploding bulbs, loose junk, and reels of film”—the area where Kubrick was directing the scene was “netted over with chicken wire and heavy plastic” (American Cinematographer).
Dave has a conversation with HAL after showing him some sketches he’s done. A rather interesting fact is that actor Keir Dullea is actually wearing a wig in all of his scenes because Kubrick didn’t want to worry about keeping his hair a particular length throughout shooting (Commentary). You’ll notice that Dave’s demeanor is pretty emotionless and almost mechanical. In fact, HAL seems to display more emotion than the two humans he interacts with. Aside from a theme of blurring the line between man and machine, there is actually a specific reasoning behind this choice in terms of story. Their training allows them to not be hindered by emotion. They are able to remain relaxed in situations that would cause stress or panic in a normal person. As for the astronauts’ relationship with each other, at the point in which we meet Dave and Frank, they have been on this ship for quite a while. What we are seeing is just a routine and as Keir Dullea put it: they don’t really have anything left to say to each other. It also appears that often one of the astronauts is asleep while the other is awake.
Keir Dullea: “We had bios for our characters, you know. That we each had double doctorates, that we hadn’t been chosen from the military, that we would have been watched earlier on in our education. They were looking for a psychological profile that something terrible would happen would only affect us a little bit instead of sending us around the bend and things like that.”
Gary Lockwood: “But Kubrick stayed way out of your face during filming or when the camera was rolling—he would never speak to you to break your wall or your train of thought or your concentration. I mean, he always did what he could to prepare, right? And then, when ‘action’ was called, as Keir once said, he created a comfort zone and that’s what it’s all about.”
Keir Dullea: “Stanley was- never raised his voice, was quiet. I was- I felt that I was- I just absolutely felt I was in the presence of genius and the most prepared director I had ever worked with… but he made such an effort to put me at ease and it did work, I mean, after a while he was just- working with Stanley- and he was open to suggestions. You never felt like you were stepping on his feet. It didn’t necessarily mean he would use all your suggestions but he was totally open. He was wonderful.”
In another bit of camera trickery, Dave and Frank appear in the same shot standing 90 degrees opposite from one another. This was done using an “L-shaped set with a mirror set at the angle” (Underview). Here we can get a good view of the set upright.
This shot is the reverse angle on the Hublink transition corridor in which we earlier saw Dave reflected in HAL’s lens. This was done in a way similar to how the stewardess walks up the side of the ship in the Floyd Sequence, however this was a bit trickier. The set is in two parts with the background rotating and the foreground stationary. As the actors cross into the background it stops spinning at the exact same time the foreground starts spinning.
Dave and Frank notify mission control of the fault in the AE-35 unit HAL noticed. The man playing mission control in this scene was a real air traffic controller. This is written about in The Making of Kubrick’s 2001:
“Kubrick tested dozens of military ground-control landing officers, hiring – over strenuous British Actors Equity objection – Chief Warrant Officer Franklin W. Miller, U.S. Air Force traffic controller stationed in England. [The] actors did not sound like the familiar mission control voice. Miller remembers working with Kubrick [saying]: ‘He saw that every little detail of personal comfort was at my disposal. I had aspirins if I had a headache, and even lotion when the lights offered too much glare. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble. He always put me at my ease. Without realizing it, I once was tapping my foot – a nervous habit – which no one could see beneath the console where I was sitting, but it produced quite a thump on the tape. Instead of asking me to stop tapping, Kubrick got me a blanket, put it under my feet, and I tapped all I wanted to.” Miller was transferred to Bangkok after his ‘perfectly marvelous experience’” (Making 123).
There was another scene with mission control that was ultimately cut from the film.
Keir Dullea: “There was a communication that my character has with Mission Control and I was a little worried about memorizing it. To me it was technological gobbledygook—very difficult to memorize. So I kind of was going over it weeks in advance of shooting it—over and over and over again and we shot it. It wasn’t used because Stanley decided it was redundant. There was another very similar Mission Control speaks to us, but because of the way I memorized it, it has stayed with me all this time and I’ll give you a sample: Mission Control, this is X-ray Delta One at one-niner-two-zero on board prediction center in our niner-tripple-zero computer showed that alpha-echo-35 unit as possible failure within 48 hours. Request check your in-ship system simulator also confirm your approval our plan to go EVA and replace alpha-echo-35 unit prior to failure. Mission Control this is X-ray Delta One, transmission concluded.”
Dave makes his way to an EVA (or Extra Vehicular Activity) pod to retrieve the faulty equipment. All of the breathing you hear was performed by Kubrick himself. This is our first real view of the pod bay. Two of the pods had doors that opened and closed and had detailed interiors (Making 127). Fred Ordway was in charge of making sure every detail looked right because, as Kubrick told Ordway, “Fred, I don’t know where I’m going to put my camera” (“2001: A Space Odyssey” Screening and Discussion). This was one of the few locations that the press and even some foreign dignitaries were invited to visit (Ivor Powell Interview).
This shot was filmed with an extreme wide-angle lens to show the entire set in a single shot, which I can only imagine was amazing to look at presented in its original cinemascope. Someone who visited the Kubrick exhibit at LACMA snapped this picture of Kubrick’s extreme wide-angle lens. In a way, the use of the wide-angle lens makes the set appear more claustrophobic than it would have been with a more narrow lens because you can see each wall, as well as both the floor and ceiling. Just look at this shot. We are completely surrounded by technology, but this can also give a feeling of comfort and safety. As confined as the space is, it is the only thing separating us from the dark void of space. Much like the long shots in the Dawn of Man sequence, a lot of the wide-angled shots evoke a feeling of an omnipresent entity— in this case HAL— constantly watching. A wide-angle lens is what HAL sees with because it would allow for the widest field of view considering HAL cannot angle his lens to look around the room.
Arthur C. Clarke: “I suppose HAL is the most memorable character in the movie and he developed through a whole series of stages. Originally we might have had a mobile robot, you know, the old clanking monster, but that’s old hat and at what stage we switched to the red eye and Douglas Rain’s voice, I really don’t know.”
This shot is of the full-sized pod, which was “mounted onto [the] Discovery launching ramp” (Making 124). To get the maximum depth of field for this shot, the “exposure was 4 seconds per frame and one hour was taken to film [it]” (Making 124).
The next shot is a miniature. Here, the pod is thirteen inches and the command module is six feet in diameter (Making 124). “Kubrick would set up his models, line up the camera, adjust lighting, shoot many different angles, movements, speeds, and takes to cover all conceivable interesting angles and movements” (Making 124).
Kubrick would draw all the shots he wanted to get on little numbered note cards (Andrew Birkin Interview).
And in the following shot, the “Discovery command module is stationary on a steel pole. [Frank] in [the] cockpit is seen in rear projection plates [that were] added later. [The pod] is on [a] turntable, mounted on an arm that moved vertically” (Making 125).
The interior of the command module had eight separate projections running (Making 125). As for the view from inside the pod—the shot of the Discovery through the window was matted in later. There were six projections running inside the pod—two pairs projected on nine-inch screens on either side of Dave and two projected on six-inch screens in front him (Making 126).
“Typical effects shot[s] would consist of [the] Discovery on one side, [the] pod on the other, [and a] figure of [an] astronaut in the middle. This meant three masters for [the] Discovery, usually with [the] antenna turning, and requiring a moving matte to eclipse [the] star background, plus three masters for [the] pod, also rotating and requiring a matte, plus [a] single master containing matted stars, shot on [an] animation stand and combined at Technicolor. If [an] astronaut were also on [the] masters, it would be a total of ten records to be duped. Many runs put [a] strain on the black, washing out the scene, or flattening it. Tiny figures of astronauts were reductions from 70mm color prints (movie film) projected on a tracking setup—another generation away from the original and more subject to degeneration and grain. Further copying by master could weaken them considerably. [An old] but costly matte technique of shooting a number of exactly matching motorized takes of the action was employed, and they were held undeveloped. This included test footage to work out the balance of the masters of the rest of the scene, which would be married on the held take of the astronaut, often a half a year later. [The lab] take was processed for a guide, and could be mastered if needed” (Making 126).
They built a full-scale set for this scene—the main dish was twelve feet in diameter and the others were three and a half feet (Making 127). For the scene where they check the AE-35 for problems the display “consisted of 150 differently positioned pictures” (Making 129).
After finding that HAL has most likely made a mistake, the two men decide to have a private conversation away from HAL’s ears. They enter a pod and make sure that HAL cannot hear them. This scene was originally going to be much different. During the filming of a scene where HAL becomes increasingly paranoid, Gary Lockwood made a remark to Kubrick that revealed his personal thoughts about the scene.
Gary Lockwood: “So, one day we were shooting something and I was sort of off-base and afterward he looked at me and he said, ‘is anything bothering you?’ and I said, ‘no…’ and I gave him kind of a smart comment, a little cowboy comment, you know, like a Californian surfer dumb comment, like that. And I said, ‘that’s what this scene reminds me of.’ And he wrapped and it was only about twelve o’clock or so.
Lockwood returned to his dressing room thinking that he was probably going to be fired. Kubrick called him into his dressing room where they talked and Kubrick told Lockwood to contact him if he comes up with an idea on a better way to go.
Gary Lockwood: “And I had come up with the idea that we would go into the space pod and that we would go in there and we’d do all these various things and then the computer would find out that we had been talking about disconnecting him… well, I thought the same thing. If we go to the space pod and we get sort of excommunicated from the normal activities of the ship and then later he’ll find out what we’re saying and at that point then, Victor Lyndon said, ‘well, he can read your lips.”
Arthur C. Clarke: “The one episode in the film which I thought improbable and this was Stanley’s idea, not mine was HAL lip-reading. Well, now they are training computers to lip-read so Stanley was right and I was wrong.”
They actually did 35 takes of for this scene, which Lockwood expressed was a lot for this production. I guess it was before Kubrick earned the reputation that we have all come to know.
Keir Dullea: “Actually that scene where HAL’s reading our lips was much longer in the script and Stanley felt it was too long, so what he had us do since it was such downtime between takes sometimes- sorry between set-ups because it would take so long to light depending on the scene, that he would have us go into his office and we would improvise on it and he tape recorded our improvisations. He had his secretary type up the recordings. We’d come another time and we’d have a new script that was a little and we’d improvise on that until it got as short as you saw it in the film.”
Keir Dullea: “People have what we were saying at this moment. I don’t recall, but I am- but my memory- you know, I would imagine that this was just probably the same dialogue you’ve just seen redone because it didn’t matter since it was silent.”
Thank you all for being so patient. I have been working on this video and the rest of the Jupiter Mission sequence for about two months now. The conclusion to the Jupiter Mission sequence will be ready soon. Patrons will be able to watch it sooner while I transcribe the clips, make captions, annotations, thumbnail, and other stuff to get it ready to publish. If you are not yet a Patron, one dollar will get you early access as well as few other perks including a modern trailer I made for 2001. Click this button to check it out! And if you’d like to be notified when the second half of the Jupiter Mission sequence is up, go ahead and follow CinemaTyler on Facebook or Twitter. The links are in the description. And if you’re new here, please hit that subscribe button now because there are plenty more videos on the way for cinephiles like you! Thanks for watching!