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This Winona Ryder movie was written for Stanley Kubrick

It turns out that this classic Winona Ryder movie from the '80s was originally written for the legendary filmmaker, Stanley Kubrick, to direct.

This Winona Ryder movie was written for Stanley Kubrick

When it comes to classic ‘80s movies, few are as beloved as the Winona Ryder movie Heathers. Written by Daniel Waters, the film about the staged suicide cover-up of the murder of the most popular girl in school has gone down in film history.

However, it turns out that Heathers was set to be more famous than it currently is – as the film was initially written for the legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick to direct. In an interview with Forbes, Waters shared how the idea for Heathers came about.

“I’d seen all these John Hughes movies, and I’d seen all these after-school specials, and I loved movies about teenagers, but I thought, ‘What’s missing, what haven’t I seen?’” The answer came to Waters after remembering one of his favourite comedy movies, Dr Strangelove – directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1964.

The writer then went on to develop Heathers, keeping in mind what a Kubrick teen movie would look like. “Kubrick did a war film; he did a science-fiction film, he did a horror film. What if Kubrick did a teen film?” Waters explained. “So out of complete, robust, pretentious naiveté, I thought, ‘I’m going to write a Stanley Kubrick teen film.’”

Waters’ Kubrick inspiration didn’t end as his writing catalyst. The filmmaker had every intention of signing Kubrick – whose past work at the time included the science fiction movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and the horror movie The Shining – onto the project.

“My first draft was 196 pages,” Waters told The Irish Times. “The goal was to get the script to Stanley Kubrick so he could make it as a three-hour film. He had done his science fiction film, his war film, his period film, his horror film. So this was going to be Stanley Kubrick’s teen film.”

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However, Kubrick ultimately didn’t end up directing Heathers. Instead, Michael Lehmann, who Waters knew from a mutual friend, took the reins. It could also be argued that Waters was fighting a losing battle as Kubrick’s 1971 A Clockwork Orange (while not a traditional coming-of-age story) centres around teenage violence – making it kind of a teen movie already.

So, would Heathers have truly been “Kubrick’s teen movie”? Well, that is up for debate among film fans. While it is fun to think about what Kubrick’s take on Heathers would have looked like, Lehmann was the right call as the film has become a surefire cult classic.

Since Heather’s release, the story has been adapted into a popular musical and was turned into a TV series in 2018. For more classics, here is our list of the best movies of all time. Or, if you are after some new movies, here are the 2023 movies that we can’t wait to see.