Kubrick’s Assistant Tried to Convince Him Not to Hire Nicholson for ‘The Shining’
Emilio D’Alessandro was the personal assistant to director Stanley Kubrick for 30 years. As a result, he’s kind of a walking encyclopedia of knowledge and interesting facts when it comes to the director and his films. And in his recent memoir, “Stanley Kubrick and Me: Thirty Years at His Side“, D’Alessandro opens up about a great deal, including meeting Jack Nicholson during his initial meetings with the director for the 1980 horror film The Shining, which adapted Stephen King’s terrifying novel to film.
What happened was that D’Alessandro walked into Kubrick’s office while he was meeting with Nicholson. After Jack left, Kubrick wanted to know D’Alessandro’s thoughts, to which he replied, “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!” After being questioned on why he thought this was a good choice, D’Alessandro simply replied, “Because I like the parts he plays. He’s good, isn’t he?” Kubrick’s reply? “They’re not the kind of parts I need.”
Kubrick later expanded upon this thoughts, explaining, “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. He doesn’t even need speech training like Ryan [O’Neal] did for the Irish accent [in Barry Lyndon].”
I highly recommend reading more of this fascinating excerpt, which also goes into the relationship with Kubrick and Shelley Duvall, over at Esquire. Additionally, you can purchase “Stanley Kubrick and Me: Thirty Years at His Side” via Amazon.
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