Like how we covered our tracks with that “Maybe” in the headline? We know there are crazy, freaky Shining fans out there that know anything and everything there is to know about Stanley Kubrick’s much-celebrated adaptation of Stephen King’s novel. If you’re one of those people, consider this list to be a refresher course. For the rest of you, read carefully, you might learn something.
You know the story: Family goes to the Overlook Hotel to live there in the wintry off-season and take care of the place; Dad (Jack Nicholson) goes nuts, Mom (Shelley Duvall) freaks out and young Danny (Danny Lloyd) has “the shining,” in that he can more or less communicate with the dead, which are all over the damn place.
Got it, let’s begin…
The set for the Colorado Lounge, where Jack does his writing, was later the same area in England’s Elstree Studios where the Well of Souls set was built for Raiders of the Lost Ark. It also caught fire at one point during filming because all the lights that were used to recreate sunlight coming through the windows eventually went kablooey. It would later be filled with snakes!
Kubrick treated Shelley Duvall like crap and encouraged the rest of the crew to do so as well, apparently to help emphasize her character’s sense of isolation. Duvall was also always Kubrick’s first choice for the role of Wendy.
Let’s Do It Again
Apparently the scene where Scatman Crothers tells Danny what “shining” is took 148 takes, which is a world record. At another point during filming, Crothers couldn’t take Kubrick’s obsessive-compulsive need for constant retakes any longer and broke down and cried.
Role of Jack Torrance
Stephen King asked Kubrick to cast someone like Michael Moriarty or Jon Voight in the role of Jack Torrance, arguing that a “normal-looking” man’s descent into madness would be much more powerful. King apparently doesn’t think Jack Nicholson is “normal-looking.”
Most of the fake snow used in the film was also used for the Hoth scenes in The Empire Strikes Back. The Wampa can also be seen in one shot in the hedge maze.
(Just kidding about the Wampa part.)
Filming was supposed to take 17 weeks. It ended up taking 51. The extra time spent at Elstree Studios delayed the productions of both Warren Beatty’s Reds and Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Role of Danny
Approximately 5000 young actors auditioned for the role of Danny over a six-month period. Kurbick’s first choice for the role was Cary Guffey, the young abductee from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Apparently Guffey’s parents said no way in hell.
The film was actually nominated for two Raspberry Awards — Worst Actress for Shelley Duvall and Worst Director for Kubrick. It didn’t “win” either of them.
The Blood Shot
The shot of the blood pouring out of the elevator was achieved in only three takes. Too bad the shot took nine days to set up each time.
While making this movie, Stanley Kubrick would call Stephen King at three in the morning and ask him things like, “Do you believe in God?” Which might be the weirdest thing about this movie, in front of or behind the camera.
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