Shelley Duvall says the industry turned on her

Long out of the spotlight, the 74-year-old Shelley Duvall says that Hollywood turned against her in an instant.

Last Updated on April 30, 2024

Shelley Duvall

Shelley Duvall has been through the ringer. Once a staple in the works of Robert Altman – she didn’t work with another director between her 1970’s Brewster McCloud and 1977’s 3 Women – Duvall then had parts working for Woody Allen in Annie Hall and Stanley Kubrick in The Shining. But things sort of just fell apart and Duvall became a punchline, eventually retreating from the movie business entirely, spending the bulk of her time in Texas. Now, with her first movie in 20+ years, The Forest Hills, under her belt, she has some thoughts about the industry.

In a terrific new piece in The New York Times, Shelley Duvall said she was more or less betrayed by Hollywood. “I was a star; I had leading roles…People think it’s just aging, but it’s not. It’s violence.” Duvall doesn’t mean physical violence, however, adding, “How would you feel if people were really nice, and then, suddenly, on a dime…they turn on you? You would never believe it unless it happens to you. That’s why you get hurt, because you can’t really believe it’s true.”

And yet it was, and Shelley Duvall really didn’t have much of an output in the late ‘80s on. There might be some cult support for the cameo-driven Mother Goose Rock ‘n’ Rhyme and her own children’s anthology series, Shelley Duvall’s Bedtime Stories, but she was something of a relic – despite giving some of the most compelling performances of the ‘70s, namely in Altman’s 3 Women.

But not a single article about Shelley Duvall can be written without delving into The Shining. While Kubrick did seek to cast her because he liked the way she cried in front of the camera, Duvall by and large seemed to have a good experience working with Stanley Kubrick. The debate over whether Kubrick was truly psychologically tortuous will forever rage on, and so too will the effectiveness of Duvall’s performance. Once a Razzie winner (it was later rescinded), that performance stands as one of the most unique in all of horror cinema.

What is your favorite Shelley Duvall performance? Share your pick and send some love to the great Duvall in the comments section below.

Source: The New York Times

About the Author

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.