Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"I bought Jack Nicholson's trousers for The Shining" An Interview with SHINING wardrobe assistant Veronica McAuliffe

 TV STORE ONLINE talks with THE SHINING (1980) Wardrobe Assistant Veronica McAuliffe...

TV STORE ONLINE:   How did you come to work on THE SHINING with Stanley Kubrick?

VERONICA McAULIFFE:   Well, at the time I was working on a project called for ITV called Disraeli (1978).  I was working on that for about a year and after that was over with, very luckily, I simply just applied to work on the film because I was a big fan of Stanley Kubrick.   That lead me to have many conversations with costumer designer Milena Canonero and I was offered the job of being her assistant on THE SHINING.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Getting the job...Did you go off and read the book The Shining written by Stephen King?

VERONICA McAULIFFE:   I didn't read the book at the time that I was hired to work on the film.  Eventually I did read it though.

TV STORE ONLINE:  What were some of the ideas behind the look and style of the costumes that we see the actors wearing in the film?

VERONICA McAULIFFE:  Well, I was involved only in the first few months of the production of the film.   Basically, one of the jobs that I was assigned that I remember specifically now is that I was sent all over London in search of gray flannel trousers for Jack Nicholson to wear.  I went to every shoppe that I could find and I bought up all of the gray flannel trousers each store had and then took them all back to the studio for them to pick and choose from.  I think I bought up every single pair of gray flannel trousers that existed in London at that time!   It was very extreme really, but then again, why not right?  It makes sense that if you want a pair of gray flannel trousers then you want to see every pair for sale.

I was also sent out to buy clothes for Stanley too!    Stanley told me that he wanted me to go out and find him some shoes...He said, "I want boxes...  Just get me some boxes to put on my feet..."  He always wore the same clothes every day.  So he had like ten pairs of the same shoes and the same ten pairs of trousers.   I also went out and looked for clothes for Shelley Duvall to wear in the film but I can't remember exactly what I bought for her now all these years later.   I also bought little bits of things for the young boy Danny Lloyd to wear as well.  Nothing out of the ordinary though.  I just bought him clothes that any little boy would wear.

TV STORE ONLINE:  What size trouser was Jack Nicholson? (Laughing)

VERONICA McAULIFFE:  Surprisingly large, but I can't recall the exact size now!  (Laughing) There's been a lot of water under the bridge since then!  (Laughing)

TV STORE ONLINE:  The costumes in the film share very similar colors. There is a usage of a lot of reds and browns in the film....

VERONICA McAULIFFE:   Yes, we were sure to follow a particular pallet when we were out looking for the clothes for the actors to wear.   Milena really didn't tell me exactly why we were setting out to buy specific colors of clothing but I'm certain that she and Stanley were having conversations about it as they would often speak into the late hours of every day during the production of the film.

Did you observe any of the scenes in the film being shot while you were working on the film?

VERONICA McAULIFFE:  I did.  I saw them shooting the maze scenes.  It was quite extraordinary because they would shoot a bit and then the prop guys would rearrange the walls of the maze to make it look like it was bigger than it actually was.  The other scene I saw shot was the scene with Jack Nicholson in the ballroom with all of the supporting artists in the background.   It was important for the supporting artists to be very realistic so we gave many of them very heavy bags to carry around in the scene. 

TV STORE ONLINE:   Costuming all of those supporting artists...Were those costumes made or did you go out and buy them?

  I believe that they were hired.  That scene in the ballroom went on for a week or maybe longer if I recall correctly.   Stanley did a lot of takes, and I was very impressed with Jack Nicholson over the course of that because he always maintained his patience.

TV STORE ONLINE:  What were your impressions of Stanley when you met him for the first time?

I thought he was very nice.  He treated me very well while I was there working on the film.  I got to talk quite a bit with Shelley while I was working on the movie.  She was very sweet.   I remember now that the hotel that Shelley was staying in at the time...There had been a robbery at the hotel and she lost a camera during that.   She was very upset by it.

Interview Conducted By: Justin Bozung