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Some actors are willing to do anything to get into character.

Jack Nicholson is one of those actors. And while filming Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining, he exclusively ate his least favorite food for two weeks of filming, in an effort to increase his aggravation as Jack Torrance.

Actor Jack Nicholson enjoying Rock music via earphones, at his home
Actor Jack Nicholson enjoying Rock music via earphones, at his home | Arthur Schatz/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

‘The Shining’ is celebrating its 40 year anniversary

It’s hard to believe it’s been 40 years since The Shining was released in theaters. And what’s even harder to fathom is that the movie received poor critical reception during the initial year of its release.

The public didn’t like Kubrick’s film because it didn’t have the typical jump scares and pacing of a regular horror movie. In fact, the film was so poorly received that it was nominated for a Golden Raspberry award. (These awards nominate the worst films/actors as opposed to the best.)

Yet, over time, it garnered a massive amount of praise. This is all thanks to the cast and crew who worked tirelessly for over a year on the horror classic. And in 2020, the film is just as popular as it was in 1980 upon its initial release. 

Jack Nicholson worked hard to master the role of Jack Torrance

Nicholson was willing to only eat his least favorite food in an effort to master the crazed mindset of his character, Jack Torrance. According to Good Housekeeping, he ate nothing but cheese sandwiches for two weeks straight because it’s his least favorite food. 

Similarly, the actor got most of his sleep during the filming process while in his car. According to Cinema Blend, Nicholson resided in a hotel that was pretty far from set. And because of the incredibly long shooting days, most of the sleep he got was in a tiny vehicle. This only helped increase the sheer madness of the deranged writer character. 

Stephen King was not impressed with Jack Nicholson’s performance in ‘The Shining’


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Stephen King famously hates Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining. He believes the movie is “cold” while the book is “warm.” And symbolically, the film ends in ice, while the book ends in flames. 

When it comes to Nicholson’s performance, King doesn’t like the fact that his character is unlikeable from the very beginning. In the book, Jack has more of an arc where he tries to do the right thing, but is ultimately a threat to his whole family.  

The author told Rolling Stone

“The book is hot, and the movie is cold; the book ends in fire and the movie in ice. In the book, there’s an actual arc where you see this guy, Jack Torrance, trying to be good, and little by little, he moves over to this place where he’s crazy. And as far as I was concerned, when I saw the movie, Jack was crazy from the first scene. I had to keep my mouth shut at the time. It was a screening, and Nicholson was there. But I’m thinking to myself the minute he’s on the screen, ‘Oh, I know this guy. I’ve seen him in five motorcycle movies, where Jack Nicholson played the same part.'”