Jack Nicholson can’t handle the cheese, and Stanley Kubrick used that to his advantage while making The Shining.
Heeeeere’s Monterey Jack! Shelley Duvall isn’t the only one who faced the brunt of Stanley Kubrick’s torture during the making of The Shining, as it has come out that the director used dairy products to make Jack Nicholson miserable.
Lee Unkrich, who edited Taschen’s upcoming book, “Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining”, put a lot of work into combing through the fact and fiction surrounding the movie’s production. And one of the most peculiar stories he confirmed was Kubrick’s use of cheese to torment Nicholson while making The Shining. “I’ve been researching this movie so long that I’ve seen these incorrect or exaggerated stories appear, and then I’ve watched them become more and more exaggerated over the years. And a lot of times it’s harmless. Like Stanley Kubrick found out that Jack Nicholson didn’t like cheese sandwiches, and so he made him eat cheese sandwiches through the entire shoot to keep him in a bad mood. Ridiculous.” (One now wonders if Ben Stiller has a secret disdain for boring sandwiches.)
Of course, Nicholson got off easy on the set compared to Duvall, who was allegedly Kubrick’s favorite target of abuse on The Shining set. That behavior ended up resulting in the Razzies rescinding their inaugural Worst Actress award in 2022, acknowledging Kubrick’s approach brought emotional and mental stress to Duvall. However, Unkrich offers a rebuttal of the stories, saying, “The story of Shelley Duvall and her supposed mistreatment on the set has become more and more exaggerated over the years to the point where that’s all discussed as if it was this extremely abusive situation, which it just wasn’t…Shelley has nothing but great things to say about Stanley. She loved him. She thinks he got a great performance out of her…She will admit it was an extremely difficult part to play, but these stories of abuse, which are bad for lots of people involved, are just completely unfair.”
As per Taschen’s official website, this “definitive compendium of the film that transformed the horror genre features hundreds of never-before-seen photographs, rare production ephemera from the Kubrick Archive, and extensive new interviews with the cast and crew.” This Collector’s Edition is limited to 1,000 copies and costs $1,500. It’s a hefty tome, with 2,198 pages and a staggering weight of 43.8 pounds, or probably slightly under what Danny Lloyd weighed at the time of filming.
The Jack Nicholson cheese sandwich story is a bit light compared to other tales from The Shining, but how do you feel about such tactics used by Stanley Kubrick? Do you think he tended to go overboard to get the most out of his actors? Give us your take in the comments section below.