In her first film role since “The Shining,” Shelley Duvall is returning after 20 years. Starring in an indie horror film directed by Scott Goldberg, Duvall plays the part of a hallucination of main character Rico’s (Chiko Mendez) mother, serving as his inner voice. The film is called “The Forest Hills,” and will also star Edward Furlong (“Terminator 2: Judgement Day“) and Dee Wallace (“E.T.,” “Cujo“). The story follows a man who’s plagued by nightmarish hallucinations after suffering a head injury while camping in the Catskils Mountains.
Duvall’s career is lengthy and prolific. From writing and producing with greats like Steven Soderbergh, Terry Gilliam, and others. And acting in titles like “Annie Hall,” “Brewster McCloud,” “Time Bandits,” and of course, Stanley Kubrick‘s “The Shining.” [Editor’s note: also “Shelley Duvall’s Fairy Tale Theater!“] She’s earned awards from Cannes Film Festival, Peabody, and been nominated for two Emmys and a BAFTA. She’s a powerhouse of creativity and ability.
Outrunning the shadow of “The Shining”
Her work on “The Shining” has followed her entire career. No one watches the film without talking about the toll it took on her. The rumors surrounding Kubrick’s treatment of her during shooting always come up. Duvall offered a rare interview on the subject in 2021, talking about the toll of playing Wendy Torrance.
Required to cry practically every day of the 56-week shoot, there’s no way it couldn’t affect her. “After a while, your body rebels,” Duvall revealed. “It says: ‘Stop doing this to me. I don’t want to cry every day.’ And sometimes just that thought alone would make me cry. To wake up on a Monday morning, so early, and realize that you had to cry all day because it was scheduled — I would just start crying.”
On the subject of Kubrick’s reported cruelty, Duvall was admirably diplomatic. “He’s got that streak in him…But I think mostly because people have been that way to him at some time in the past.”
The actress has also opened up about her struggles with mental illness. It’s been very sweet to see film fans, mental health advocates, and fellow actors wildly protective of her. Dr. Phil came under significant fire after having Duvall on his show in a move that felt infuriatingly exploitative.
In 2002, Duvall announced her retirement from acting, after starring in “Manna from Heaven” opposite Cloris Leachman (“The Twilight Zone,” “Young Frankenstein“) and Louise Fletcher (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”). We are so excited to see her returning to the screen and we hope she enjoys it.