Hollywood legend Shelley Duvall is a bit of a recluse these days, but the star of The Shining and many other classic movies opened up about her life and career in a new interview. The last time most of us saw Duvall, she was featured in a highly-condemned episode of Dr. Phil that was criticized for taking advantage of the retired actress. Speaking with Seth Abramovitch at The Hollywood Reporter, Duvall has reemerged with an interview that's a must-read for all of her fans.
Famously, Stanley Kubrick was a taxing filmmaker to work with, known for being a perfectionist and requiring a ridiculous amount of takes for different scenes. Rumor is he was particularly hard on Duvall so her performance as a terrified housewife would be more believable. To see how the shoot actually was from Shelley's viewpoint, the actress admitted that shooting The Shining really was rather difficult based on how much crying she was required to do for the part.
"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. Jack said that to me, too. He said, 'I don't know how you do it.'"
During the interview, Shelley Duvall was also shown a clip of the famous staircase scene from The Shining after noting she hadn't seen it in a long time. Just watching the video once again brought tears to Duvall's eyes, as she praised her co-star Jack Nicholson for his convincing portrayal of a psychotic murderer. When asked why she was crying, Duvall noted this.
"Because we filmed that for about three weeks. Every day. It was very hard. Jack was so good - so damn scary. I can only imagine how many women go through this kind of thing."
While playing Wendy Torrance wasn't easy, Duvall doesn't seem to hold any ill will toward Kubrick. She suggests that while the filmmaker was a bit abrasive on the set, he was also "very warm and friendly" to the actress. As Duvall explains here.
"He's got that streak in him. He definitely has that. But I think mostly because people have been that way to him at some time in the past. His first two films were Killer's Kiss and The Killing. No, [he wasn't cruel]. He was very warm and friendly to me. He spent a lot of time with Jack and me. He just wanted to sit down and talk for hours while the crew waited. And the crew would say, 'Stanley, we have about 60 people waiting.' But it was very important work."
Most everyone wouldn't have been able to endure the grueling Shining shoot, but we can all also agree that Duvall's work in the movie is one of the greatest movie performances ever. Duvall might also be mostly keeping to herself these days, so it's certainly wonderful to hear how she's been doing recently. You can check out the full interview at The Hollywood Reporter.