Stanley Kubrick's horror masterpiece, The Shining (1980), provided the platform for one of Jack Nicholson's most memorable and deranged performances. While the film alone is incredibly crafted, Nicholson's portrayal of Jack Torrance's spiral into madness is a shining example to actors everywhere.
Heck, Nicholson was so engrossed in the role, he even improvised one of cinemas most iconic scenes, by manically screaming "herrrre's Johnny!" while on an axe-wielding rampage.
Here's... Someone Else?
However, in a snapshot from his memoir "Stanley Kubrick and Me: Thirty Years at His Side," Emilio D’Alessandro (Kubrick's assistant for 30 years) admits he didn't quite see Nicholson's potential at the time. In an excerpt in Esquire, he explains his response when asked his opinion. The article reads:
“Well, I don’t know. Isn’t he a bit. Wasn’t it better if you took that other actor, the one I like a lot. The one who does all the police movies. Charles Bronson? Because I like the parts he plays. He’s good, isn’t he?”
"It's There Inside Of Him"
Kubrick's response was: "they’re not the kind of parts I need.” The legendary director, who made a string of highly regarded movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and A Clockwork Orange (1971), later expanded on why he chose Nicholson for the role. He said:
"You’ll see, everything about Jack is perfect for this role: his expression, even the way he walks. He doesn’t need anything extra to play this part. It’s all already there inside him."
Consequently, as a result of Kubrick sticking to his guns, the film — based on Stephen King's novel — went on to become a huge influence on popular culture, and is now often regarded as one of the scariest horror films ever made.
What do you think of Nicholson's performance in The Shining?