Shelley Duvall, who starred alongside Jack Nicholson in Stanley Kubrick’s acclaimed horror adaptation of Stephen King’s novel The Shining, re-watched the iconic door axing scene for the first time in years during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
The actress became visually distressed by the scene, in which Jack threatens to attack Wendy, saying: “I’m not gonna hurt you, I’m gonna bash you brains in.” Whether it was necessary or advisable to show Duvall the clip, considering she recently suffered through mental health episodes during which believed her late friend and co-star Robin Williams had been reincarnated as a “shapeshifter” and expressed undue concerns that people were “trying to hurt her”, is another matter entirely.
When Duvall became emotional while re-watching she was asked why her reaction had been so strong to which she replied, “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.”
Later adding, “It was a difficult scene, but it turned out to be one of the best in the film.”
Stanley Kubrick was a director renowned for his meticulous filmmaking process that pushed actors to their limits, when asked what he was like to work with Duvall had this to say, “He’s got that [cruel] 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.”
However, she did later add, the Kubrick was, “very warm and friendly” to her on set.
Duvall has since fled the filmmaking business and now lives a semi-reclusive life in the Texas Hill Country with Dan Gilroy, 76, after the couple met while filming the Disney Channel movie Mother Goose Rock ‘n’ Rhyme. The 71-year-old actress was speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about leaving acting behind.
You can watch the iconic scene from The Shining, below.