In 1991 Stanley Kubrick discovered Louis Begley’s novel “Wartime Lies.” Begley—in what is for the most part an autobiographical narrative—tells the dramatic story of Maciek and his aunt Tania during the Holocaust. As part of his research for the production, Kubrick created an extensive image archive. He considered countless photographs—taken by assistants in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland—in order to decide on possible locations. The Ealing Studios, a British television and film production company, provide him with photographs made on location-scouting trips across eastern Europe in the 1940’s. He also collected historical photographs showing Jewish prisoners in ghettos and death camps and daily lide outside the ghettos, as well as buildings, furniture, and clothes. The cast and crew for “Aryan Papers” were selected, and the actress Johanna ter Steege playing the role of Tania. Kubrick canceled the project during preproduction, however, in part because Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List” (1993) would be in theaters before “Aryan Papers” could be completed. Other accounts suggest that the subject matter cast Kubrick into a depression, which may have influenced his decision to abandon the project.
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