Difficult doesn’t describe it. He almost drove Shelley Duvall crazy.
He frequently kept her isolated, cut many of Wendy’s lines and forced her to perform the iconic ‘baseball bat’ scene an exhausting 127 times. The scene entered The Guinness Book of Records as the most takes ever for a scene with spoken dialogue and her shaking hands and red, puffy, eyes are the result of genuine crying. Afterwards she presented the director with clumps of her own hair, to show just how close to the edge she was.
I love all of Kubrick’s movies, including the Shining. In fact, driving over to my brother’s house today I was practicing my bad Nicholson impersonation, doing “Best goddamn bartender from Timbukto to Portland, Maine. Or Portland, Oregon, for that matter.” Walk into the apartment and The Shining is playing on TV! It was only about 5 minutes away from the scene. Cue Twilight Zone music.
But what Kubrick did is inexcusable.