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'Misery' Director Recalls Convincing Stephen King to Approve the Adaptation

Patrick Cavanaugh

11/28/2017

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This year alone, there have been six adaptations of Stephen King's work in movies and TV, making it an exciting time to be a fan of the author. A new behind-the-scenes featurette on the Misery Blu-ray, however, reveal that King wasn't always so apt to let filmmakers tackle his work, with Rob Reiner revealing how the project came to fruition.

“This was a very personal book to Stephen King,” Reiner confessed. “It was a book in which he dealt with wrestling with this difficulty that all creative people have, which is being trapped by your own success. Here he was, a writer of horror books, books with supernatural elements to it, and he also wanted to express himself as a writer."

Previously, Reiner had already directed the adaptation Stand By Me, based on one of King's short stories.

"So, he had this character, Paul Sheldon, who had become famous writing these Misery novels, but wanted to break away and do something special, and Annie Wilkes represented the fanbase that didn’t want that to happen, would be very angry if he went in a different direction," Reiner pointed out. "It was a personal book, oddly enough to him."

Reiner's previous work with King's material is what eventually won the author over.

"He didn’t want to option it to anybody unless he felt it was in good hands," Reiner pointed out. "And because he loved Stand By Me — and he had told me it was the best adaptation of anything that he had ever written — he said, ‘I’ll give it to you guys if Rob will either produce or direct it.’ So, he felt comfortable that I would do it.”

While many have likened the Annie Wilkes character with the unreal expectations fans place on their favorite artists, the truth behind the character comes from King's struggles with substance abuse.

"Annie was my drug problem, and she was my number-one fan. God, she never wanted to leave," King has admitted in interviews.

Whatever the inspiration behind the story was, the film went on to earn Kathy Bates an Oscar for her horrifying performance.

Misery is out now on Blu-ray.

[H/T Entertainment Weekly]

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