9. Shelley Duvall As Wendy Torrence - The Shining
Stanley Kubrick was always going to end up on this list one way or another. Famous for putting his actors through hell in pursuit of perfection, the auteur pushed many performers to the brink and often risked losing the same top-tier talent who his name attracted through persistent mistreatment.
This was never more true than during the making of 1980s horror masterpiece The Shining. In order to adapt Stephen King’s then-recently released magnum opus, Kubrick drove his star Shelley Duvall to the brink of madness for her portrayal of Jack Torrance’s long-suffering wife Wendy.
The director bullied Duvall, isolating her from the crew and dismissing her ideas, as well as putting her and her co-stars through countless repetitive takes to evince a more convincing depiction of hysteria. Duvall characterised the shoot as weeks of constant crying, and a dismayed King dismissed the film as misogynistic in its reduction of Wendy to a “screaming dish rag”.
Unfortunately, Duvall’s public struggles with her mental health continued after filming finished. While the extent of Kubrick’s responsibility is impossible to estimate, her story is proof that no performance is worth pushing anyone past their limits for.