It’s a rare person who would give up fame and fortune to dedicated himself to someone else’s creative vision. Yet, that’s exactly what Leon Vitali did after his acclaimed performance as ‘Lord Bullingdon” in Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon. After appearing in Barry Lyndon, prestigious job offers poured in from film, television and stage, but Leon turned them all down to take on the role of assistant to the master filmmaker. It would prove to be an extraordinary, intense, often arduous journey that would push Leon to his limit and beyond. The young actor surrendered his thriving career to become Kubrick’s loyal right-hand man. For more than two decades, Leon played a crucial role behind-the-scenes helping Kubrick make and maintain his legendary body of work. In FILMWORKER, Leon’s candid and often funny experiences in the company of the notoriously private Kubrick are woven together with rich and varied elements including previously unseen photos, videos, letters, notebooks, and memos from Leon’s private collection of Kubrick artifacts. Insightful, emotionally charged anecdotes from actors, family, crew members, and key film industry professionals who worked with Kubrick and Leon add an important layer of detail and impact to the story. On what would turn out to be Kubrick’s final film, Eyes Wide Shut, Leon was stretched to the limit carrying out double duties. Not only did he attend to countless production tasks, he also gave a stellar performance as the imperious ‘Red Cloak’. Kubrick’s sudden death in the midst of putting the final touches on Eyes Wide Shut left chaos in its wake. Without Kubrick’s unassailable leadership, confusion reigned. Exhausted, ill, and grief-stricken over the loss of the man whose dynamic presence had been his driving force for decades, Leon threw himself into a tough and constant battle to keep Kubrick’s uncompromising standards alive.
|R. Lee Ermey||Self|