Monday, January 6, 2020

The Shining (1980) - Shelley Duvall

Every Cult Classic Horror movie brings a unique vibe and chemistry that will stay embedded in the minds and hearts of Horror enthusiasts forever. Directors and Producers put bank breaking money into creating the ultimate Masterpiece. Stanley Kubrick's The Shining was one for instance. As actors we all pay our dues to make the masterpiece come to life. But sometimes behind the scenes, things can go just a bit to far...

No more Olive Oil. This is Wendy Torrance's turn. Shelley Duvall was one of the most iconic stars of the 80's. Jack Nicholson was the poster boy for The Shining yet Shelley Duvall's damsel in distress persona contributed to the apprehensive vibe of this Cult Classic. We felt sorry for her and in some ways her expressions scared us. However, what Stanley Kubrick wanted and what Stephen King and Jack Nicholson wanted were two different things..

Stephen King hated this version of Wendy Torrance. It was not at all what he had in mind. He despised her acting. However, Kubrick had his own plans for Duvall which had driven the poor actress into a fragile state of trauma. Is it any wonder why we hardly see her in any films anymore? 

How many takes did the director made her do for the infamous baseball bat scene? It was well over 100. The crying you see her do in the film is very genuine. She was pushed to the brink of madness. But the director did not sympathize with her. In fact he told others not to also. He was one helluva bully for a director. All Duvall did was cry non stop. 

For the other infamous ax to the door "Heeeere's Johnny!!" scene, the actress was apparently never told what would happen next. Her screams and her fear was definitely genuine in this scene as well. One has to wonder in the terms of method acting, what was Kubrick's true motive for Duvall? As an actor, how much can you stay true to your craft? At what point do the lines between being on screen and off screen get blurry? 

All work and no play makes Ms. Shelley Duvall a very dull girl...

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