Sometimes I can’t tell if the making of Kubrick’s 2001 is more impressive than the film itself. The psychedelic ending with its Nietzschean übermensch aspirations risks the same annihilating consequences any zealous, near-fascist creator faces. How did he end up there, and how did he pitch his vision … to himself? I remember reading somewhere that his process to make his unrealized mid ’70s Napoleon lasted longer and produced more content and research ephemera than all of his films before it put together, including 2001, Lolita, and Dr. Strangelove. And even still, the difference of research and process quality of Lolita, of interpreting Nabokov for film, is itself an enduring task. Artists and even (especially) designers have come to fetishize process quite a bit, and for the majority of the time aim to exhaust all viable possibilites with a faith that the product is justified by their process. This is not necessarily so, and sometimes, many times, even if a process is lush and exciting and a product in itself, the final product can be limp and unfulfilled. A thorough process does not necessarily make a great product. Great decisions do. In any case, here is a Scribd of the making of 2001, and here is probably the best interview Kubrick ever did, a talk with Playboy in 1968:
How much would we appreciate La Gioconda today if Leonardo had written at the bottom of the canvas: “This lady is smiling slightly because she has rotten teeth”—or “because she’s hiding a secret from her lover”? It would shut off the viewer’s appreciation and shackle him to a reality other than his own.