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Leon Vitali Played More Roles In Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut Than You Might Think

One of Stanley Kubrick's most notable contributors to his films may not be one that immediately comes to mind. Though he has worked with Oscar-nominated actors such as Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, and Nicole Kidman, Kubrick's long-time collaborator isn't one with heavy-hitting roles. Leon Vitali first worked with the prominent director in 1975's "Barry Lyndon" as Lord Bullingdon, but since then has lent a hand on many of Kubrick's projects both in front of and behind the camera (via IMDb).

Kubrick's work and profound advice for Vitali was formative for the actor, so he became something of a personal assistant on the films (via The Guardian). Vitali continued to work on and off as an actor until his devastating death, but it is never too late to rewatch (or see for the first time) Kubrick's films. Even watching "Eyes Wide Shut" multiple times, you may not realize how many roles Vitali is playing at first.

It may be hard to spot him with all the masks

After segueing from acting to filling roles behind the scenes, Leon Vitali joined Stanley Kubrick on the set of "Eyes Wide Shut." Vitali served as a casting director and assisted Kubrick in other ways — including appearing in the infamous orgy scene as the Red Cloak. At first, it wasn't the plan to put Vitali in front of the camera, but after many auditions with other actors, Kubrick made a decision.

"I was auditioning some 40 or 50 actors for that role, and my phone rang. I picked it up, and [Kubrick] said, 'Leon, I've just decided. You're going to play that part,'" Vitali told Cinema Daily US. Though still in the middle of an audition process, the rest was history. Vitali becomes the master of ceremonies who confronts Bill (Tom Cruise) in an integral scene of the film. His other roles, however, may not be as easy to spot. He explained: "You know, I played six other characters in that scene, behind a mask. That was fun."

Kubrick's intensity was well known to his crew, but Vitali only ever had good experiences on these sets (via YouTube). He admired Kubrick as a filmmaker and became one of the most significant parts of the production. "You meet people you would never have met before, and you see each other at their weakest and strongest. That's a beautiful thing," Vitali said.