Back Seat Producers Season 07 Shows

BSP Episode 213: Misery

Release date: 11/30/90
Columbia Pictures
Directed by:
Rob Reiner
Screenplay by:
William Goldman
Based on a Novel by:
Stephen King
Produced by:
Rob Reiner
Andrew Scheinman
Jeffrey Scott
Steve Nicolaides
James Caan – Paul Sheldon
Kathy Bates – Annie Wilkes
Richard Farnsworth – Buster
Lena’s Noteworthy Comments:
  • Kathy Bates won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Leading Role
  • Annie Wilkes is listed as the #17 Villain on American Film Institute’s list of 100 Heroes and Villains

Important note about one of the hosts:  David will be gone for the next 9 weeks.  Now it’s Darrell’s job to disagree with everything Tony says (good luck, Darrell!)

David made at least four very specific, and slightly unsettling, references to his burning desire for Kathy Bates.   While he had some very informative points about the movie itself, his lustful comments are pretty much all I’ll remember about this.

David states that Stephen King admitted that Misery was an autobiography of his drug addiction.  He’s the writer (Paul Sheldon/James Caan) hobbled by his addiction (Annie Wilkes/Kathy Bates).  Paul Sheldon crashing his car into a bed of snow (and the subsequent snow blowing around) is a representation of cocaine.  At one point in the movie, Sheldon asks Annie Wilkes to take his pain away… another symbol of King’s addiction.

Tony remarks that the way the movie starts is a metaphor for King’s drug addiction – it’s something Sheldon/King is knowingly going toward and he loses control… driving on the ice, crashing, and being unable to dig himself out.  He knows he needs to address his problem but he’s hobbled by his addiction… hobbled by Annie Wilkes.

It was also mentioned that this movie challenges the typical stereotypes of a horror movie while still being a horror movie:

  • It’s shot during the day
  • The dominance is from a woman
  • The villain is out in the open and not hidden
  • You don’t know what will set the villain off;  it’s the fear of unknown.  Bates masters both the fast burn (flying off the handle when told she’s purchased the wrong paper) and the slow burn (the subtle changes in her facial expression when she explains that the rain makes her sad)

Color was also brought up as symbolic in the early parts of the movie (red meaning that something bad is going to happen):

  • The opening title colors are red on black
  • When the camera pans back in the opening, Paul Sheldon is wearing a red jacket over a black shirt
  • He smokes Lucky Strike cigarettes; both the cigarette box and the matches are red & black

Darrell talks about the vast number of actors who were offered the role of Paul Sheldon, many of whom turned the part down because they didn’t want to be upstaged by the Annie Wilkes character:  Jack Nicholson, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Richard Dreyfuss, Gene Hackman, Robert Redford and Warren Beatty.

Angelica Houston and Bette Midler were also offered the role of Annie Wilkes.

Stephen King was so impressed with Kathy Bates’ performance in Misery that he later wrote Dolores Clairborne with Bates in mind for the title character.  He also re-wrote the character of Ray Flowers in The Stand as a female, so that Bates could play that part (Rae Flowers) in the mini-series.

In a discussion of all of the Stephen King movies, it was agreed that Shawshank Redemption is the best rendition, followed by The Green Mile and Stand By Me.

At approximately 38:00 into the show, David lists every Stephen King movie… really, every single one!

*For an added bonus, enjoy Misery, My Sweet Babboo (Robot Chicken)

Your Producers for this episode were:

  • Tony
  • David
  • Darrell

This episode was recorded: 1/4/2012

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