Shelley Duvall Now Knows What Kind Of Person Dr. Phil Is

February 11, 2021 / Posted by:

Shelley Duvall’s last acting role was in 2002’s Manna From Heaven, and after that, she pretty much retired from acting and settled back in her homeland of Texas. Throughout the years, there have been tabloid stories about Shelley’s struggles with mental illness, and in 2016, the 14-ton of leach shit known as Dr. Phil got a hold of Shelley and interviewed her for his show. Dr. Phil tried to act like he wanted to help Shelley, but as many know, he can’t spell “help” without e-x-p-l-o-i-t, so that episode went down like a lead balloon, which is strangely enough what Dr. Phil’s head looks like. Shelley is now talking about Dr. Phil and she pretty much put out her cigarette on his bald dome.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Seth Abramovitch traveled to Texas last month to do a “pandemic-distanced” interview with Shelley. Shelley lives in Texas Hill Country with her partner of 32 years, Dan Gilroy, who was in Madonna’s early band The Breakfast Club. I don’t know if Shelley greeted Seth by saying, “Hello, I’m Shelley Duvall! But Shelley did open up to Seth about her career, her life, Dr. Phil, and The Shining.

It’s long been known that making The Shining, which took over a year, was hell for Shelley. Stanley Kubrick made them shoot 6 days a week for 16 hours each day, and some scenes went through over 100 takes. (The movie holds the Guinness World Record for the most takes for one scene with dialogue thanks to the scene where Crothers and Young Danny discuss the ability to shine. It took 148 takes.) The shoot took its toll on Shelley, both emotionally and physically. And while many call Claire Danes the cry master, it’s Shelley and her body wasn’t having it:

Duvall says, “[Kubrick] doesn’t print anything until at least the 35th take. Thirty-five takes, running and crying and carrying a little boy, it gets hard. And full performance from the first rehearsal. That’s difficult.” Before a scene, she would put on a Sony Walkman and “listen to sad songs. Or you just think about something very sad in your life or how much you miss your family or friends. But after a while, your body rebels. It says: ‘Stop doing this to me. I don’t want to cry every day.’ And sometimes just that thought alone would make me cry. To wake up on a Monday morning, so early, and realize that you had to cry all day because it was scheduled — I would just start crying. I’d be like, ‘Oh no, I can’t, I can’t.’ And yet I did it. I don’t know how I did it. Jack said that to me, too. He said, ‘I don’t know how you do it.’ “

When Seth brought up the stories about how Stanley Kubrick emotionally abused her into madness for the sake of the movie, she only said, “He’s got that streak in him. He definitely has that.” And then added that he was actually very warm to her. But Angelica Huston, who was dating Jack Nicholson at the time, told Seth that she remembers Stanley Kubrick and Jack being pretty rough on Shelley:

“I got the feeling, certainly through what Jack was saying at the time, that Shelley was having a hard time just dealing with the emotional content of the piece,” she says. “And they didn’t seem to be all that sympathetic. It seemed to be a little bit like the boys were ganging up. That might have been completely my misread on the situation, but I just felt it. And when I saw her during those days, she seemed a generally a bit tortured, shook up. I don’t think anyone was being particularly careful of her.” Still, Huston admits there is no denying the ferocious power of the final product. “She actually carried the movie on her back if you look at it,” Huston says.

And while Shelley won’t say a bad thing about Stanley Kubrick, Dr. Phil’s ass is another story. During her 2016 interview with Dr. Phil, Shelley went on about shapeshifters, the Bermuda Triangle, spinal cord-attacking hornets, and other conspiracy theories. And when Dr. Phil kept pressing her on things, she got very uncomfortable. Many thought that the episode should have never aired. Shelley told Seth that after the episode came out, Dr. Phil’s team kept bothering her and her mother, who died last March after getting coronavirus.

That is until 2016, when she was contacted by a Dr. Phil producer. She grows visibly distressed at the mention of McGraw’s name. “I found out the kind of person he is the hard way,” Duvall says. “My mother didn’t like him, either. A lot of people, like Dan, said, ‘You shouldn’t have done that, Shelley.’ ” (She had submitted to the interview without Gilroy’s knowledge.) After the broadcast and ensuing backlash, McGraw made repeated attempts at contacting Duvall: “He started calling my mother. She told him, ‘Don’t call my daughter anymore.’ But he started calling my mother all the time trying to get her to let me talk to him again.”

THR asked Dr. Phil’s people for a comment, and they just mouth-sharted out some shit about how they tried to get Shelley into inpatient treatment and she declined, but the offer still stands (if Shelley does another interview with him during sweeps, I’m sure.)

THR’s entire profile on Shelley Duvall is worth a read, but my favorite part is when Shelley and Seth go to a cafe to get cherry scones. At that cafe, a waitress lets Seth know not to fuck with Shelley!

Later, the waitress, Kristina Keller, a 50-something with a Texas twang, pulls me aside. “I’m not sure who you are,” she says. “But out here amongst these rural Hill Country communities, we look out for each other and we take care of each other. Does that make sense?”

Oh please oh please get Kristina “Not The One Today Or Any Day” Keller into a room with Dr. Phil!

Pic: Warner Bros.

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