10.3 Did Stanley Kubrick shoot the fake footage?

The name of movie director Stanley Kubrick, author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, is mentioned often as the creator of the faked Apollo footage. However, his biography clearly shows that his whereabouts at the time when he was supposed to be shooting the Apollo fakery were well-known. He was busy shooting 2001 from 1964 to 1968 and then focused on the preproduction of Napoleon, which was never completed because United Artists went broke, and on directing A Clockwork Orange (1971). Famous for his obsessive attention to image composition and cinematography and for his glacially slow production pace, Kubrick simply wouldn’t have had the time to direct the dozens of hours of moonwalk footage needed to cover six Moon landings (leaving aside the problem of how to fake them with 1960s visual effects technology).

Moreover, since the early Sixties, Kubrick no longer lived in the United States. He lived in the United Kingdom, where he shot all of his movies (including 2001) and had a well-known fear of travel, especially in aircraft. This would have made any participation to the fakery even more complicated.

Kubrick was probably aware of the allegations of his involvement in a movie simulating the Moon trips (Arthur C. Clarke, co-writer of the 2001 screenplay with Kubrick, certainly was: he even wrote a facetious letter to NASA’s chief administrator, demanding prompt payment for the job). It is probably not coincidental that Danny, one of the key characters in Kubrick’s 1980 movie The Shining, wears a sweater that depicts a rocket and the words “Apollo 11 USA” (Figure 10-6).

Figure 10-6. Danny wears an Apollo-themed sweater in The Shining (1980).


Some Moon hoax theorists, such as Jay Weidner, instead argue that this choice of sweater isn’t an in-joke but is actually a silent act of confession by Kubrick, therefore bizarrely justifying one conspiracy claim by means of another one.

One astute objection to the claim that Kubrick shot the fake visual record of the Apollo missions has been suggested by Christian Blauvelt of Hollywood.com: “the moon footage would have looked a hell of a lot better if Kubrick really had directed it.”