Tattle Tales are true tales of sex, madness, and the planet by guest writers. And this week's offering is a humdinger of a Tale. "Jeffrey Zeldman Presents" was one of the first sites I ever visited on the web. Years later, Jeffrey Zeldman contributes this week's Tale of the Week. I'm a happy, happy Halcyon. If you've never visited Zeldman.com, make it your first stop after you read this incredible tale. Or go now. We'll wait for you.

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Something About Nicole

by Jeffrey Zeldman

Let's talk about sex.

        And movie stars.

        And Stanley (Spartacus, 2001, A Clockwork Orange, Lolita, Full Metal Jacket, The Shining)  Kubrick, brilliant though reclusive filmmaker, who has spent the last five years making "Eyes Wide Shut," a movie starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, and costarring Harvey Keitel.

        Make that formerly costarring Harvey Keitel.

        Yes, there is dirt, and yes, I am here to share it with you.

        You know, friends, in my role as the web's answer to Barbara Walters, I am frequently asked, "Could you move, please? I was sitting there."

        But I am also frequently asked about those "insider gems" and "delightful tidbits" which only a "connected insider" such as myself could possess.

        And this is one of those tidbits.

        And I'm sharing it with you.

        So here goes.

        Most of Keitel's scenes have been shot, and the movie is close to good to go.

        But there is a problem.

        Keitel and Kidman just did a scene in which Keitel's character is supposed to stand behind Kidman's character and masturbate.

        Keitel is not only a fine actor, he is a method actor.

        You probably see what is coming – as it were.

        Kidman didn't.

        Keitel did not simulate masturbation, he engaged in it on the set.

        Now, in the heat of action, many of us lose sight of our goals, and succumb to an overwhelming impulse. Keitel is, in that respect, no different from you or I, dear reader.

        He ejaculated into Nicole Kidman's hair.

        She walked quickly off the soundstage.

        The next morning, Stanley Kubrick, one of the great living geniuses of cinema, was confronted by Mr. and Mrs. Tom Cruise.

        The two told him simply, "Us or Keitel."

        Kubrick reluctantly fired Mr. Keitel.

        A replacement actor was hired (his name escapes me – it's not Wilfred Brimley, but it's also not an actor who is likely to duplicate Keitel's accident).

        Good scenes which were shot and edited are now being redone at great expense because Keitel cannot appear in the picture.

        Whether the film will be as good without Keitel, we will never know.

        But now you, gentle readers, know the unpublishable truth. Verified by two sources at the company financing the film.

        I can picture the conversation at Nobu:

SCORCESE: Harvey, Harvey, what's this about you and Kubrick? Robert, this tuna is great.

DENIRO: (nods)

KEITEL: (shrugs)

DENIRO: You know what I heard ...

SCORCESE: Pass the saki?

DENIRO: ... I heard this motherfucker got himself fired ...

KEITEL: Shut the fuck up.

DENIRO: ... 'cause he came in Nicole Kidman's hair!


KEITEL: Shut the fuck up.

SCORCESE (OVER): Get the fuck out of here! Harvey?

KEITEL: Yeah. (SHRUG.) Came in 'er hair.


DENIRO (OVER): Jesus, I can't breathe.



SCORCESE: I'd a done that.


DENIRO: So, was it good?


KEITEL: It was pretty good.


KEITEL (faint smile): I'd do it again.

DENIRO: So the fuck would I.

SCORCESE: I would do that.


(An elegant waitress presents the bill.)

DENIRO: (tearing up bill) On the house, Harve.

Events involving "Eyes Wide Shut" are based on anecdotes related to your humble web author by various Hollywood insiders who may never speak to us again. The scene at Nobu is entirely imaginary – as should be obvious. But nothing is ever obvious to lawyers, hence this disclaimer. We will deny it all, if pressed.

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