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Shelley Duvall and ‘The Shining’ trauma that marked her Hollywood career

The American actress was truly affected after working in the cult film.

Shelley Duvall is best remembered for her iconic role as Wendy Torrance in The Shining, Stanley Kubrick’s acclaimed horror film starring Jack Nicholson.

Although Duvall already had a Hollywood career that included a supporting role in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, as well as a Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival for her performance in Three Women, the character in Kubrick’s film was marked for posterity in pop culture.

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Her performance as a terrified wife when her husband goes crazy and tries to kill her while they are isolated in a hotel did not convince the critics, and she was nominated for a Razzie award for Worst Actress. It should be noted that the organization that grants these awards regretted the nomination.

These were not the only comments that affected Duvall since, on several occasions, she spoke openly about the trauma that working with Kubrick left her.

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In an interview on The Dr. Phil Show and The Hollywood Reporter, the actress recounted the horror she endured during the filming of the movie, as Kubrick demanded too much of her.

“Stanley pushed me and pushed me harder than I’ve ever been pushed before. It’s the hardest role I’ve ever had to play,” she said.

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She explained that the director made her work too many hours at a time, and also insulted her for not doing her job well.

“He didn’t use anything until taking 35. So many takes, running, crying, and carrying a child is very hard. [...] After that, your body rebels and says, ‘Stop doing this to me, I don’t want to cry every day.’ Sometimes, just that thought made me cry more,” she said.

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After this situation, she took a break in her career, away from the spotlight, and participated mainly in television series.

As a result of anxiety and depression problems, Duvall decided to retire from the industry in 2001. She currently lives in Texas with her partner.

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Story originally published in Spanish in Cultura Colectiva

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