Stanley Kubrick didn’t think Robert De Niro was psychotic enough for The Shining
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Film director Stanley Kubrick didn’t think Robert De Niro was psychotic enough to star in The Shining.
Although this sounds a bit mental now considering that the Cape Fear actor went on to play a violent, psychotic sex offender in 1992, it kind of made perfect sense at the time.
Hoping to cure his writer's block, Jack settles in along with his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and his son, Danny (Danny Lloyd).
As the father's writing goes nowhere and Danny's developing psychic feelings become more disturbing, Jack discovers the hotel's dark secrets and transforms into a homicidal maniac who begins terrorising his family.
Years after the film's release, in 2012, The Shining was ranked the 75th greatest film of all time in the Sight & Sound directors' poll.
Although Kubrick's first choice was always Nicholson, the director considered other A-listers for the role.
When it came to De Niro, the director concluded that he wasn't psychotic enough after watching his performance in the Martin Scorsese classic.
Despite De Niro's impressive portrayal of the Travis Bickle character, a mental unstable, discharged Marine who becomes a taxi driver, it seems that Kubrick couldn't picture the soon-to-be legendary actor play the role.
On the other hand, Robin Williams was another name on the list, who Kubrick deemed to be too psychotic, after watching him in Mork & Mindy.
Well, as we all know, Kubrick went with Nicholson in the end, and even though the other actors went on to have unprecedented careers in Hollywood, you'd have a tough time arguing that Nicholson did not do the role justice.
The fact that, five years prior, he starred in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which gave him his first Academy Award for Best Actor, probably made him a clear favourite at the time.
The Oscar-winning film followed Randle Patrick McMurphy (Nicholson) who gets transferred for evaluation from a prison farm to a mental institution.
He assumes it will be a less restrictive environment.
But the martinet Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher) who ran the psychiatric ward with an iron fist, kept her patients cowed through abuse, medication and sessions of electroconvulsive therapy.
The battle of wills between the rebellious McMurphy and the inflexible nurse soon took affect on all the ward's patients.
The film itself was a smash hit and picked up five Academy Awards.