In Stephen King’s authentic 1977 novel, Wendy Torrance is described as a powerful, self-possessed, perky blonde who has equivalent footing with Jack of their marriage. Each King (by means of Showbiz CheatSheet) and Jack Nicholson (by means of Lewton Bus) discovered that description to be an ideal have compatibility for Jessica Lange, then an up-and-comer at the heels of infamous performances in musical vintage “All That Jazz” and the critically-panned but commercially a success 1976 remake of “King Kong.”
Stanley Kubrick, alternatively, noticed Wendy very another way, and re-conceived her as a brittle, passive, emotionally inclined waif who reacts to Jack’s meltdown with abject horror. As an alternative of Lange, he forged Shelley Duvall, an actress recognized for taking part in eccentric, off-kilter girls — after which put her thru absolute hell so as to coax the misery and desperation he sought after out of her, in certainly one of movie historical past’s maximum notorious instances of directorial mistreatment of actors. For all her troubles, Duvall was once all however disregarded by way of the movie’s early reception, as she defined to Roger Ebert in a 1980 interview: “The opinions had been all about Kubrick, like I wasn’t there,” she stated.
In the end, after all, Duvall’s raw-nerve efficiency did to find the acclaim she deserved. However to these days, Stephen King maintains that Kubrick’s adjustments to Wendy’s personality had been wrongheaded and misogynistic. Lange, whose “King Kong” damsel in misery was once criticized on the time for being too spunky and now not having a look helpless sufficient, and who went on to be topped prime matriarch of recent horror many years in a while “American Horror Tale,” would nearly no doubt have given us a Wendy extra to King’s liking — however it could had been a special movie altogether.