The Shining gave Shelley Duvall nightmares even outside of the film.
Perhaps earning the most recognition for playing Wendy Torrance in Stanley Kubrick’s classic horror movie, The Shining, did Shelley Duvall less good than one would expect. The actress recently made headlines not too long ago, when her return to the big screens was announced after almost two decades of inactivity in Scott Goldberg’s upcoming movie titled Forest Hills.
However, though The Shining is probably one of her most famous projects, the film itself wasn’t that well received and even got nominated for the Razzie Awards in the categories of the Worst Director and Worst Actress. And that obliterated Shelley Duvall, not merely because the film wasn’t a hit, but also because after spending hours and hours crying behind the sets and getting traumatized by the director for giving her best performance, she didn’t get the acknowledgement that she rightfully deserved.
Stanley Kubrick Traumatized Shelley Duvall While Filming The Shining
For Shelley Duvall, working with Stanley Kubrick meant enduring mental torture to no bounds.
The Shining took almost a year to film, and during that entire time, Duvall was subjected to harrowing treatment which took a rather heavy toll on both her mind and her body. From being alienated from the rest of the film crew to shedding real tears of horror and exhaustion, the award-winning actress went through it all on the set of the 1980 film.
The 3 Women star was required to cry her eyes out while filming the movie, something that ended up scarring her for all time to come. Things went so out of hand that she even had a panic attack on the set at one point. And in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she recalled the way she’d suffered at that time.
“[Kubrick] doesn’t print anything until at least the 35th take. Thirty-five takes, running and crying and carrying a little boy, it gets hard. And full performance from the first rehearsal. That’s difficult.”
“After a while, your body rebels. It says: ‘Stop doing this to me. I don’t want to cry every day.’ And sometimes just that thought alone would make me cry. To wake up on a Monday morning, so early, and realize that you had to cry all day because it was scheduled — I would just start crying. I’d be like, ‘Oh no, I can’t, I can’t.’ And yet I did it. I don’t know how I did it.”
One of the scenes, wherein Wendy has a nervous breakdown in the film as she threatens Jack Nicholson’s character with a baseball bat, actually incited real tears from the actress, after Kubrick went through 127 takes of that single scene.
So, getting nominated for the ‘Worst Actress’ after having to sacrifice her emotional and physical well-being for a film to such an extreme, was naturally not the best feeling in the world.
Shelley Duvall Got Nominated for the Razzie award for the ‘Worst Actress’
When The Shining was released, it barely received any critical acclamation and evoked mixed reactions from the audience as well. And the newly founded Razzie awards at the time even nominated Kubrick to be the ‘Worst Director’ and Duvall for the ‘Worst Actress’ title.
Duvall, 73, was naturally crestfallen, because even “the reviews were all about Kubrick,” as if she was merely a phantom whose contribution didn’t matter at all.
However, Maureen Murphy, the founder of the Razzie awards along with John J.B. Wilson, admitted that she had deep regrets for giving that particular nomination to Duvall for her performance in The Shining. In an interview with Vulture earlier this year, Murphy said that if she could, she would take it back.
“Knowing the backstory and the way that Stanley Kubrick kind of pulverized her, I would take that back.”
Even Murphy recognizes Duvall’s unjust and horrifying treatment for what it was. Kudos to the actress though, for showing such resilience in the face of plight.
The Shining can be streamed on HBO Max.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter