If any of you are a fan of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ then you will most likely argue that the casting of Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance couldn’t have been more perfect.
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His dark depiction of the pained ex-alcoholic creates such an eerie and psychotic on-screen presence – the scene where he is watching his wife and child play out in the snow is probably one of the scariest horror movie moments of all time.
However, if it had been down to Stanley Kubrick’s assistant and friend, Emilio D’Alessandro, we might not have seen Nicholson in this film at all. In fact, he tried to get Kubrick to instead cast Charles Bronson as Jack (the actor, not the psychotic prisoner, obviously). I mean, Bronson was obviously an amazing and talented man, but it’s difficult to imagine the soft-spoken actor trying to depict an axe-wielding maniac.
Luckily Kubrick, being the genius that he is, went against his friend’s suggestion and 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.
And D’Alessandro soon realised once they started filming that he was wrong to dismiss Nicholson too, as he said:
Day after day, he was faultless. He never got a line wrong and always had a professional, collaborative approach. He listened to Stanley and did what he asked.
Too damn right – he absolutely smashed it and in the horror world, it is one of the best performances in history. Did you know that his ‘Here’s Johnny’ line was ad-libbed?
What a classic. To see Nicholson preparing for that exact scene, click HERE.