The Shining is one of the all-time great horror movies. Definitely not a film for those easily spooked, and certainly not a movie for the kids. Yet, three children who appeared in that film helped make it the timeless cinema classic it is today.
Lisa and Louise Burns were 10-year-old London natives when they were cast to play the Grady sisters in Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of Stephen King’s bestselling novel. It was Kubrick’s decision to cast the sisters as twins after seeing the Burns girls, one of the many controversial departures he made from the source material.
The twins spent a lot of time on the set of the epic shoot, even celebrating their 11th birthday with Kubrick, Jack Nicholson, and Shelly Duvall. Their on-screen time adds up to just a minute, but what a minute it is. Their appearance in the hallway hand in hand beckoning Danny Torrance to play with them “forever, and ever, and ever” before being seen as chopped up corpses is seared into the memory of anyone who has watched the movie.
Louise in particular had hoped to continue acting, but both girls were turned down by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and other acting schools as teens because they were already considered professional actors. After that, they lost interest in the profession. Louise went on to become a microbiologist, and Lisa is a lawyer. Both women embrace their Shining fame and happily appear at film conventions and have a joint twitter account @Shining_twins. They have also gone out of their way to debunk the rumors of a tumultuous film shoot that have arisen over the years.
Daniel Lloyd, who played Danny Torrance, is a little more low-key these days. He joined the film cast when he was five, and unlike the Burns girls, he did not know at the time that he was making a horror movie. Kubrick convinced the young child that he was making a drama, and the director was very keen on making sure the film’s horror elements were kept from Lloyd.
Lloyd has just one other film credit to his name as the role of a young G. Gordon Liddy in a made-for-TV biography of the infamous Nixon crony. After that, offers stopped coming, so he left the business and became a biology professor. Other than a couple of follow-up interviews surrounding anniversaries of the film, Lloyd does not really engage with audiences and fans, but he remembers the experience fondly.
Lloyd didn’t see The Shining until he was 16, and unlike the rest of us, it did not scare him. “I just personally don’t find it scary because I saw it behind the scenes,” Lloyd told reporters in 2013.
Well, maybe Danny Lloyd may not have been scared by The Shining, but for the rest of us, it will always be one of those movies best watched with the lights on.