Posted on Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 by Russ Fischer
Imagine this: a sequel to Dr. Strangelove called Son of Strangelove, conceived by Stanley Kubrick, scripted by original Strangelove screenwriter Terry Southern, and directed by Terry Gilliam. That’s a pipe dream that might have been a reality, according to Gilliam.
The director, now doing interviews for his new film The Zero Theorem, says that he only heard of this notion after Kubrick died, but the story he relates lines up with some details we know about the actual development of a sequel idea.
Speaking to Twitch, Gilliam said,
I was told after Kubrick died—by someone who had been dealing with him—that he had been interested in trying to do another ’Strangelove’ with me directing. I never knew about that until after he died but I would have loved to.
The notion of the sequel doesn’t come out of thin air. After the death of Terry Southern in 1995, notecards were found in Southern’s papers, detailing the outline and basic concepts of Son of Strangelove. The story, as it seems from the cards, would have taken place primarily in and underground bunker, where Strangelove has ensconced himself with a cadre of young women. Thus, it would follow that the nuclear destruction of the world suggested at the end of the original film was not total; perhaps Strangelove is attempting some sort of early repopulation effort, deep under ground? The title seems to suggest such a thing.
Regardless, it didn’t happen, and we may never know the full span of ideas for the film. But when Gilliam was at the height of his directorial powers he might have produced quite a movie based on the outline. Indeed, the notion of the director of Brazil making the follow-up to Strangelove isn’t all that unusual. It might even have a savage tone to match the original, though with Gilliam at the helm I could see Son of Strangelove having bitter and romantic twinges of its own.