‘The Shining’ star Shelley Duvall returns to acting after 20 years: How producers got her to say ‘yes’ to ‘Lavender’
When you don’t get a part that you’re hoping to play, or when you have already committed to playing a part in a film of your choice, there are other possibilities.
Those other possibilities include having your name associated with a project that may or may not pan out.
That’s the situation Shelley Duvall found herself in in 1994 when the producer of the film “The Shining” got the news that Duvall would be cast as the role of Wendy Torrance in “Lavender,” a story of a college professor who marries his sister’s sister’s lesbian lover and subsequently becomes tormented by the new relationship. After meeting with her and telling the producers that they didn’t think she was right for the role, Duvall’s agent and attorney got involved and set the wheels in motion for her to play the lead.
“That was exciting,” Duvall, now 55, tells The Times in this week’s “Actors on Actors.” “I wasn’t doing anything right but was getting a good part and really looking forward to the opportunity to work with my old friend and favorite director, Stanley Kubrick.” Duvall says that she got to know most of her castmates during auditions for “Lavender,” which was a spinoff from Kubrick’s 1989 film “The Shining.” She adds, “It was like that other world, a world of other actors and people and places and life and love.”
Duvall, whose career spanned 70 years and spanned more than three decades, recently returned to the acting world having made her most recent movie, Steven Soderbergh’s “The Laundromat,” which she had only previously seen in a movie theater. But she says she doesn’t think that her experience with “Lavender” was any different.
“As a young woman I did want a career. I didn’t see it as a means to an end,�