Watch Jack Nicholson Get Maniacally Into Character for The Shining’s Iconic Axe Scene

“C’mon you f#ck! C’mon death! Die! Axe mur­der­er! Kill!!”

That’s my best tran­scrip­tion of Jack Nicholson’s loopy warm up dia­log seen in the above clip, tak­en from “Mak­ing The Shin­ing.” Direc­tor Stan­ley Kubrick let his then 17-year-old daugh­ter Vivian wan­der the set dur­ing the mak­ing of this clas­sic film, and cap­tures a lot of the mag­ic that went on. This scene of Nichol­son warm­ing up, Method-style, is a brief high­light.

I’m tick­led that Nichol­son is in his own mad lit­tle world, while the crew at Elstree Stu­dios (where most of the film was shot), go about their busi­ness, occa­sion­al­ly swerv­ing aside–careful with that axe, Eugene! I mean, Jack!

This is, of course, a warm up for the now icon­ic scene where Jack Tor­rance chops his way into the bath­room where his wife Wendy is hid­ing. And has there been a bet­ter axe in the door scene since? Can any film do so now with­out ref­er­enc­ing Kubrick? I would say no.

If that piqued your inter­est, there’s even more behind the scenes footage kick­ing around YouTube, includ­ing Kubrick typ­ing away, Nichol­son schmooz­ing it up, Shel­ley Duvall point­ing out her hair is com­ing out from the stress of film­ing, Kubrick’s mom vis­it­ing the set, the ear­ly use of Steadicam and video assist, Kubrick being kind of a dick to Duvall, and much more, includ­ing this obser­va­tion from Nichol­son: “The aver­age celebri­ty meets in one year ten times the amount of peo­ple that the aver­age per­son meets in their entire life.”

via Boing­Bo­ing

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How Stan­ley Kubrick Became Stan­ley Kubrick: A Short Doc­u­men­tary Nar­rat­ed by the Film­mak­er

How Stan­ley Kubrick Made His Mas­ter­pieces: An Intro­duc­tion to His Obses­sive Approach to Film­mak­ing

93 Films Stan­ley Kubrick Real­ly Liked

Go Inside the First 30 Min­utes of Kubrick’s The Shin­ing with This 360º Vir­tu­al Real­i­ty Video

Jack Nichol­son Puts His Star Pow­er Behind “Green” Cars, 1978

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the artist inter­view-based FunkZone Pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at and/or watch his films here.

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