Shelley Duvall talks 'very hard' experience of filming 'The Shining' in rare interview

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Shelley Duvall in Los Angeles, Calif., Oct. 27, 1983. (AP Photo/Doug Pizac)
Shelley Duvall in Los Angeles, Calif., Oct. 27, 1983. (AP Photo/Doug Pizac)

Shelley Duvall has recalled the "very hard" circumstances of filming The Shining in a rare interview. 

The former actor has remained largely reclusive after leaving LA for Texas over two decades ago, but has now revisited the 1980 film for a profile in the Hollywood Reporter.

The emotional impact of working on The Shining with its perfectionist director Stanley Kubrick is something Duvall, 71, addressed in interviews around the time too, telling critic Robert Ebert it had been "almost unbearable".

Read more: Why Stephen King hates Stanley Kubrick's The Shining

Kubrick, who died in 1999, was notorious for shooting single scenes over and over, sometimes with hundreds of retakes. For Duvall playing Wendy, the distressed wife of Jack Nicholson's character Jack Torrance who descends into madness, it meant a lot of exhausting crying. 

After noting she hadn't seen the film in a "long time" during the interview, Duvall was reduced to tears when being shown the scene where Jack menacingly stalks Wendy up a staircase while she swings a baseball bat in self defence - a scene they shot 127 times. 

When asked why she was crying Duvall 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.”

But she recognises the impact it had in the acclaimed film as she added: “It was a difficult scene, but it turned out to be one of the best in the film.”

Shelley Duvall on the set of
Shelley Duvall on the set of "The Shining". (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

Duvall also addressed whether she felt Kubrick had been "unusually cruel or abusive" to her to bring out her performance, remarking: "He's got that streak in him. He definitely has that."

Read more: Was Stanley Kubrick's The Shining his moon landing confession?

However, she also stated: "He was very warm and friendly to me. He spent a lot of time with Jack and me." 

The interview also saw Duvall touch upon her controversial interview on US TV show Dr. Phil, which received a deluge of criticism for appearing to exploit someone with a mental health condition. 

Watch: How The Shining's legacy influenced Doctor Sleep

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