It’s been a good, long while since Shelley Duvall appeared on the big screen — two decades, to be exact. What’s she been up to? Basically she’s just been chilling a small Texas town, enjoying life, minding her own business, except when contacted by the occasional journalist or filmmaker. (Or Dr. Phil, but more on that in a moment.) But now it seems she’s either baby-stepping back into the movies or simply doing a one-off return.
As per Deadline, Duvall will make a small appearance in The Forest Hills, an indie horror starring Edward Furlong, Chiko Mendez, and Dee Wallace. The film, Deadline reports, “follows a disturbed man who is tormented by nightmarish visions, after enduring head trauma while camping in the Catskill Mountains.” Duvall will play the mother of said man (played by Mendez), who is also his inner voice.
From the ‘70s through the ‘90s, Duvall was a staple of American cinema, as well as television. She did seven films with Robert Altman and endured an epic (and emotionally taxing) Stanley Kubrick shoot with The Shining. In the ‘80s, she launched her own children’s show, Faerie Tale Theatre, which brought on big stars to juice up oft-told stories.
By the mid-‘90s, she’d lost interest in Hollywood, and she and her partner, musician Dan Gilroy, high-tailed it to the depths of Texas, where they remain today. There was much speculation about what happened to her, which was not helped by a notorious 2016 Dr. Phil segment, in which she was portrayed as unhinged and unwell. Her friends and family condemned the segment, saying it was unrepresentative. A 2021 piece by The Hollywood Reporter painted a more complex portrait of her current life, finding her to be happy and content.
Anyway, welcome back, Shelley Duvall. The movies (and television) have been all the lesser without you.