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The Twins Talk; Lisa and Louise Burns Reflect on The Shining

It’s been 35 years since the release of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, one of the best horror films ever made. Few images in the genre’s history are more striking and iconic than the creepy Grady twins holding hands in the Overlook’s hallway, and this week the gals reflect on the experience.

In an interview with The Daily Mail, twins Lisa and Louise Burns, now 46 years old, spoke at length about the shoot and the lasting impact the film has had on their lives, and though we encourage you to head over there for the full interview, we’ve cut out some choice quotes to get you started.

On how they landed the roles…

Stanley was the kind of person who didn’t know what he was looking for until he found it. We’d never been to stage school but we had done some TV work before and so we had an agent and she called our mum and said, ‘Stanley Kubrick is looking for sisters.’ Stanley was never looking for twins, but we went along anyway. If we hadn’t auditioned [then] the roles would probably have gone to two girls of different ages, like the characters in the book. It certainly worked in our favor because Stanley decided twins were just spookier.”

On filming their death scene…

Us lying in the blood was one of the last scenes shot for the movie and I remember being worried, not because of the blood, but because it was going to be cold. Stanley was such a perfectionist and had planned exactly how he was going to pour the blood over us, so our main concern was just staying really, really still. We only had one set of blue dresses, so we had to get it right the first time otherwise the blood would ruin the dresses. I remember that was very challenging for Stanley because he liked to do many takes.”

On working with Stanley Kubrick…

Oh my God, we loved it. Everyday felt like we’d been invited to a very exclusive party and we were the youngest, luckiest people to be there. Stanley wanted us on set every single day, so between scenes we would play with Danny [Lloyd] and Jack [Nicholson].”

On working with Jack Nicholson…

I clearly remember sitting on Jack’s knee and joking with him. We talked about his daughter Jennifer a lot because she was in America and wasn’t able to visit Jack. We played chess and just generally chewing the cud. Jack wasn’t a strange man at all, he was just a regular person; in fact he was very sweet. Jack was a big film star at the time but he never acted like a big film star and never had any tantrums or said, ‘I’m too big for this.’ He really never ran the fame game at all. We’d see Jack acting on set and he wasn’t anything like his character in reality.”

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Written by John Squires

I have a beard. And three cats.

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