She once suffered a panic attack after Stanley Kubrick made her do 127 retakes of the same shot while filming the movie.
The Shining is one of the most celebrated horror films of all time. It gave new heights to actor Jack Nicholson and actress Shelley Duvall. Behind the scenes was fun for some but when it comes to Duvall, it was her worst nightmare.
Director Stanley Kubrick is known for his dramatic visual style, attention to detail, and pessimistic perspective. He believed in transforming his actors into the characters he imagined. Duvall was under a lot of pressure while filming the horror flick. During an interview with Roger Ebert in 1980, the actress said that "going through day after day of excruciating work" was "almost unbearable."
“Jack Nicholson’s character had to be crazy and angry all the time. And in my character I had to cry 12 hours a day, all day long, the last nine months straight, five or six days a week. I was there a year and a month, and there must be something to Primal Scream therapy, because after the day was over and I’d cried for my 12 hours, I went home very contented. It had a very calming effect. During the day I would have been absolutely miserable.”
She even suffered from anxiety attacks on the set, specifically, during one shot where she had to swing her bat at Nicholson's crazy character. She told comingsoon.net, “I had a really bad anxiety attack on set. And I believe that was what is shown in the documentary. As most people are aware, the shoot was very hard on me, and I got to the point where I 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.”
Duvall was forced to do that scene 127 times. She revealed that at that point she couldn't talk and the tears in her eyes were all real. “That scene was exhausting. I remember nearly running out of breath because I couldn’t speak anymore. The tears are real in the movie! I was so tired and getting fed up with the numerous takes. I nearly walked off the set. And I remember Take 99 specifically. The guy came up with the clapper board, said Take 99, and I said to Jack, ‘You’ve got to be f*****g kidding me?'"
Cheat Sheet reported that according to Nicholson, Duvall was under so much stress that clumps of her hair had fallen out. In the documentary, Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, the actress revealed that the renowned director treated her and Nicholson differently. She felt she was treated terribly, however, during a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the actress simmered down her accusations a bit and divulged, “He’s got that 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.”
Even Nicholson's girlfriend at the time, Angelica Huston, echoed Duvall's observation. “I got the feeling, certainly through what Jack was saying at the time, that Shelley was having a hard time just dealing with the emotional content of the piece. And they didn’t seem to be all that sympathetic."
"It seemed to be a little bit like the boys were ganging up... when I saw her during those days, she seemed generally a bit tortured, shook up. I don’t think anyone was being particularly careful of her,” Huston added.
Even though the role came with huge challenges for the actress, it's still one of the best roles Duvall has ever played.
Just like the actress, we've come across situations where stress has gotten to us. Hairfall is just a symptom of what the actress went through. The hair fall that you have or must've experienced in the past could've been a sign of stress. Some of the other ways stress makes its presence known are through acne, headaches, lack of sleep and energy, decreased libido, digestive problems, depression, fast heartbeat and sweating, according to Healthline.
Stress is experienced by everyone at some point. It is important to have coping mechanisms in place, and visit a doctor if the symptoms get too hard to manage.