The film was the result of a four-year-long collaboration with film director Stanley Kubrick, who reached out to Clarke in 1964 wanting to make a ‘really good’ science fiction movie. Inspired in part by Clarke’s 1951 short story ‘The Sentinel’, about the discovery of an alien artefact on the moon, the movie’s storyline emerged from extensive brainstorming between the two co-creators.
“Perhaps because Stanley realized that I had low tolerance for boredom, he suggested that before we embarked on the drudgery of the script, we let our imaginations soar freely by writing a complete novel, from which we would later derive the script,” Clarke later recalled.
He added: “This is more or less the way it worked out, though toward the end, novel and screenplay were being written simultaneously, with feedback in both directions. Thus I rewrote some sections after seeing the movie rushes — a rather expensive method of literary creation, which few other authors can have enjoyed.”
Working with Arthur Clarke gave me the considerable pleasure one gets from being with a friend who has something to say worth listening to. I don’t think Arthur has a serious rival about prehistory or the future. As an artist, his ability to impart poignancy to a dying ocean or an intelligent vapour is unique. He has the kind of mind of which the world can never have enough, an array of imagination, intelligence, knowledge, and a quirkish curiosity which often uncovers more than the first three qualities. ”
– Stanley Kubrick, director and co-writer of 2001: A Space Odyssey (from The Making of Kubrick’s 2001, ed. by Jerome Agel)
Clarke and Kubrick on the set of 2001
L to R: Clarke, Stanley Kubrick and Christiane Kubrick
2001: A Space Odyssey - Trailer
Stanley Kubrick - 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - Making of a Myth
Stanley Kubrick - 2001:
A Space Odyssey (1968) - Making of a Myth
Channel 4 Documentary introduced by James Cameron, who looks at the stories behind 2001: A Space Odyssey, examining why the film has endured and why it still generates such interest.