For most of the 1960s Tarkovsky was occupied with the seemingly interminable Andrei Rublyov project. It was not until the end of the decade that he made a serious start on a new work. In 1968 he approached the studios with an idea for a film based on Stanislaw Lem’s novel Solaris, published in 1961. By 1970 Tarkovsky had provisionally settled most of the questions relating to casting (with the exception of the role of Harey1), and in the same year he reached an agreement that the film would have a length of 2 hours and 20 minutes (4000 metres). By August 1970 he records that work on the screenplay was stagnating, and in September he refers to the first problems with the cast and the crew. The shooting schedule included locations in Zvenigorod and in Japan, where Tarkovsky had originally hoped to film the World Fair, ‘Expo 70’. An application for 1,600,000 roubles was made for the Solaris project (200,000 roubles more than for Andrei Rublyov).
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