Stanley Kubrick's Letter to Arthur C. Clarke asking about 2001

In 1964 director Stanely Kubrick sent Arthur C. Clarke a letter asking to meet with him to discuss a potential film adaptation of his novel 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is the letter that got everything rolling on the film project. Four years later in 1968 the classic sci-fi movie was released.


March 31, 1964

Mr. Arthur C. Clarke
[Address redacted]

Dear Mr Clarke:

It's a very interesting coincidence that our mutual friend Caras mentioned you in a conversation we were having about a Questar telescope. I had been a great admirer of your books for quite a time and had always wanted to discuss with you the possibility of doing the proverbial "really good" science-fiction movie.

My main interest lies along these broad areas, naturally assuming great plot and character:

  1. The reasons for believing in the existence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life.
  2. The impact (and perhaps even lack of impact in some quarters) such discovery would have on Earth in the near future.
  3. A space probe with a landing and exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Roger tells me you are planning to come to New York this summer. Do you have an inflexible schedule? If not, would you consider coming sooner with a view to a meeting, the purpose of which would be to determine whether an idea might exist or arise which could sufficiently interest both of us enough to want to collaborate on a screenplay?

Incidentally, "Sky & Telescope" advertise a number of scopes. If one has the room for a medium size scope on a pedestal, say the size of a camera tripod, is there any particular model in a class by itself, as the Questar is for small portable scopes?

Best regards,


Stanley Kubrick

Clarke ended up meeting Kubrick few weeks later in New York. Clarke ended up offering up his short story The Sentinel as source material for a new film, and the rest is history. If you haven't seen 2001: A Space Odyssey yet, what's your problem? You must watch it now!

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