‘The Shining’: Why Shelley Duvall Said She ‘Resented’ Stanley Kubrick

It’s no secret that Shelley Duvall had a rough time while shooting The Shining. Her role as Wendy Torrance, the frightened wife to a deranged husband, was so detrimental to her health that she lost chunks of her hair from the stress. And Stanley Kubrick, who was known for perfectionism within his movies, made her experience on set “excruciating.”

Because of all the pain he put her through, Duvall confessed she “resented” Kubrick while making the horror movie. Here’s why.

Shelley Duvall
Shelley Duvall; the 27-year-old star of Robert Altman’s new movie Three Women | Reg Innell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Shelley Duvall said she was in ‘ill health’ while filming ‘The Shining’

In Vivian Kubrick’s fascinating documentary titled The Making of The Shining, fans can get a behind the scenes look at the filming process. Halfway through the movie, Duvall is seen lying on the floor due to an anxiety attack. Several production assistants try to attend to the 70s starlet, giving her pillows and water in an effort to ease the stress.  

Shelley Duvall
Shelley Duvall | The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Duvall reflects on the moment in a recent interview with Comingsoon.net. “I do recall I had a really bad anxiety attack on set, and I believe that was what is shown in the documentary,” she says. “As most people are aware, the shoot was very hard on me, and I got to the point where I just couldn’t take anymore. I needed a break, but taking a break costs money and people need the shot done, so I had a little breakdown.” 

She adds how difficult it was to be shooting 16 hour-long days, calling it one of the most “grueling experiences.”  

“I think it was only 10 minutes, but I just needed to get my head together,” she says of her anxiety attack. “We were shooting long days, sometimes 15-16 hours, and it does take a lot out of you. It was one of the most grueling experiences on a set I’ve had, but the result was worth it.”  

Shelley Duvall admits she ‘resented’ Stanley Kubrick while making the movie

Director Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick on the set of A Clockwork Orange | John Springer Collection/Getty Images

According to Duvall in The Making of The Shining, the actress was hurt by how much Kubrick pushed her. She questioned his motivations and agonized over them. Duvall opens up about her feelings, saying, 

“I resented Stanley at times because he pushed me, and it hurt. And I resented him for it. I thought, ‘Why do you want to do this to me? How can you do this to me?’ You agonize over it. And it’s just a necessary turmoil to get what you want out of it… And I find I really respect him and like him both as a person and as a director. I’m amazed.”

Shelley Duvall says it wasn’t all bad with Stanley Kubrick

RELATED: ‘The Shining’: Why Stephen King Thinks Stanley Kubrick’s Film Is ‘Misogynistic’

Thankfully, there were decent moments shared between Duvall and Kubrick that weren’t picked up by the media. According to the actor, Kubrick could be “very warm.” There were even moments when they laughed and joked around on set!

“Oh, Stanley really gets a bad reputation sometimes, but he was a perfectionist,” she tells comingsoon.net. “We had our moments when we laughed and joked around on set.”

She later adds, “Stanley was a very kind and warm man… And even though the atmosphere on set was sometimes unpleasant, I’m now remembered for a film that’s become a horror classic. The fact that people are still watching and talking about it 31 years later amazes me.”