Horror movies come and go, but there are only a few so terrifying that they stick with the viewers for a long time and it would be criminal to not include The Shining in this list. The movie starring Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall is based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name and stands firm in its spot as one of the most terrifying movies of all time.
Despite the praise the movie has gotten, we couldn’t possibly forget the horrors that were going down on the sets of the horror film, with actress Shelley Duvall being at the center of it all. Unfortunately, the gruesome and unfortunate environment on the sets of The Shining took a heavy toll on the actress, possibly driving her to early retirement. However, she is back in business and seems better than ever!
Shelley Duvall Makes her Comeback
Appearing in Manna From Heaven in 2002, Shelley Duvall made it clear that the movie was her last run in acting. Now, after two decades, Duvall is coming out of retirement to appear in the upcoming horror movie, The Forest Hills. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, she talks about how her hiatus made her even more interested in acting.
“I know it’s been a long time but it’s been great. It really has, it feels good. Makes me want to do more acting. It’s actually so much fun to act in a movie. I should appreciate every minute of it.”
Duvall’s colleagues in the upcoming movie seemed to feel honored to work with the “true legend,” as stated by Felissa Rose. She added that while working with someone like Duvall who “lights up the room and is so freaking honest and genuine,” all a person has to do is match her energy and the scene becomes a breeze. Chiko Mendez also stated that he couldn’t have done the movie without her, adding that “acting is not acting, it’s reacting.”
Apart from her two co-actors, the director of The Forest Hills, Scott Goldberg, himself had pleasant words for Duvall. He told PEOPLE that the actress fills up the room with kindness and even after her retirement she knows how to be a “true professional.”
It’s great seeing the Popeye actress return to the screens and be so well-received and appreciated by the people she is working with!
The Affect of The Shining on Shelley Duvall
The Shining wasn’t just a horror film, the horrors went deeper than what was shown to the viewers. Duvall, who played Wendy Torrance in the film, came out of shooting with a heavy toll on her mental health. Director Stanley Kubrick is known to be a perfectionist in his field. However, that perfectionism didn’t allow him to cut some slack to his actors, especially Duvall.
In a video shot by Kubrick’s daughter, the director is heard calling for action. Whatever the reason, Duvall missed her cue and Kubrick had to stop the scene. He is then seen going up to the actress and without wasting any time inquiring about why she missed her cue, he simply berates her stating that she was “wasting everyone’s time.” In the documentary shot by Vivian Kubrick, Duvall appears all happy and content stating that if it wasn’t for the director, she wouldn’t have performed so well.
However, it was only after the release of the documentary that the horrors of the movie sets came to public attention. Kubrick’s treatment of the rising star wasn’t something to be taken lightly. The famous scene where Wendy is meekly waving a baseball bat in front of her husband’s face as he is talking about bashing her brains in wasn’t as effortless as it looked on screen. Kubrick shot the scene 127 times making Duvall go through the exhaustion of the traumatic scene, over and over again. 127 takes for one of the most traumatizing scenes in movie history and is bound to hurt in more ways than one, which is exactly what happened.
On top of the mental exhaustion, Duvall’s hands were shredded raw from holding on to the baseball bat for all of the 127 takes. Her voice became hoarse and she had swollen eyes from all the crying. Ultimately, Duvall had to leave the set completely dehydrated. Duvall herself spoke up about the mental exhaustion she went through every day.
“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.”
In the iconic door scene, Jack Nicholson had to bust open about 60 gates before Kubrick found a shot he liked. Nicholson tearing down the gate with an axe was mostly improvised and Kubrick kept the details from Duvall. This means that possibly the reactions we see aren’t Wendy’s, they are Duvall’s.
Kubrick’s toxic professionalism might have played a huge role in turning Duvall away from acting, but we couldn’t be happier to see her back in action!
The Shining is available to stream on HBO Max
Source: Entertainment Tonight