Stanley Kubrick’s historical drama ‘The Downslope’ to be film trilogy

Filmmaker Marc Forster is developing a feature trilogy based on Stanley Kubrick's 1956 script "The Downslope."

Filmmaker Marc Forster is developing a feature trilogy based on Stanley Kubrick’s 1956 script “The Downslope.”

(Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

Stanley Kubrick’s unproduced 1956 screenplay “The Downslope,” a historical drama set against the backdrop of the Civil War, is being developed as a feature film trilogy, with Marc Forster (“World War Z,” “Monster’s Ball”) attached to direct and produce the first installment.

The producers, who also include Lauren Selig, Barry Levine, Renee Wolfe and rights holders Phil Hobbs and Steve Lanning, announced the project Monday.

Kubrick, who died in 1999, wrote “The Downslope” after the release of his allegorical war film “Fear and Desire” and before directing the World War I-set “Paths of Glory.” Like those two films, “Downslope” is described as a cautionary antiwar tale.


The story, which Kubrick developed with Civil War historian Shelby Foote, focuses on a series of bitter battles in the Shenandoah Valley between Union Gen. George Armstrong Custer and Confederate Col. John Singleton Mosby.

According to the announcement, Kubrick spent years researching and writing the film, creating meticulous maps and notes along the way. The revived project is said to have the blessing of the Kubrick family.

Forster is also attached to produce the subsequent two films, which would expand on Kubrick’s original story and head west in the postwar era.

Should “The Downslope” make it to the big screen, it would not be the first Kubrick project to be realized after his death. “A.I.,” which Kubrick began working on in the 1970s and eventually handed off to Steven Spielberg, was released in 2001. (Kubrick’s final film as a director, “Eyes Wide Shut,” was also released posthumously.)

Hobbs and Lanning, for their part, have been trying to get “The Downslope” made for several years, as both a feature film and a TV project.

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