Book Vs. Movie: Misery
The 1987 Stephen King Novel Vs. the 1990 Classic Movie
In both the novel and the film, the characters of Paul Sheldon and Annie Wilkes are central to the story. However, there are notable differences in their portrayals. In the book, readers get a more in-depth look at the internal struggles of Sheldon, whereas the film focuses more on external conflicts.
The basic story is Sheldon is en route to deliver his manuscript to finally leave the romance literary world behind and start on a new path as a “serious writer.” When his car overturns in the Colorado snowbanks, he is seemingly “rescued’ by former nurse Wilkes, his “biggest fan.” Trouble ensues when she finds out Paul killed off his creation (and her favorite character), Misery Chastain, and she forces him to burn his new work and create a whole new literary revival of the Misery series. Wilkes is also a psychopathic killer who gets the writer hooked on drugs while he is laid up in her home.
James Caan and Kathy Bates deliver memorable performances in the film, and Bates deservedly won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Wilkes. (Though Lizzie Caplan did a fine job in the second season of Castle Rock!) There is also a stage version of the story because–of course.
Between the book & movie, which did we like more? Have a listen and find out!
In this ep, the Margos discuss:
- Stephen King’s op-ed NY Times
- Stephen King’s adaptations and his works that deal with addiction and recovery
- The unique villainry of Annie Wikles
- The different versions of the story (the book, play, movie, and TV series)
- The differences between the 1987 novel and the Rob Reiner-directed film
- The cast of the 1990 film: James Caan (Paul Sheldon,) Kathy Bates (Annie Wilkes,) Richard Farnsworth (Sheriff Buster,) Frances Sternhargen (Deputy Virginia,) Lauren Bacall (Marcia Sindell,) Graham Jarvis (Libby,) and Jerry Potter as Pete.
- “You killed Misery!”
- Misery (1990 trailer)
- “Paul, your language.”
- “Cockadoodie car!”
- Annie feels unappreciated
- Music: Marc Shaiman
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