Even if you haven’t seen 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick’s mind-melting 1968 science fiction epic, you probably know at least something about it. It’s one of those movies, like Star Wars or Citizen Kane, that has become so thoroughly dissolved into our pop culture that you’ll have heard of the villainous computer HAL or know the famed music cue (Richard Strauss’ “Also sprach Zarathustra”) that plays over its most indelible images.
But how were those moments created? The story of 2001 is the story of an almost obsessive attention to detail, of a budget that almost completely destroyed the film’s studio, of an initial wave of terrible reviews that might have killed a lesser movie. At every step of the way along its production process (and even after its release), 2001 is a fascinating example of big-time moviemaking gone right.This week, Todd is joined first by Vox film critic Alissa Wilkinson to talk about 2001’s long legacy, then by author Michael Benson, whose book Space Odyssey Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece is the definitive account of the making of the film, to talk about how this titanic achievement came to be.