One of the most terrifying creatures on the big screen this year is the one brought to life by Kathy Bates.
The diminutive actress plays an obsessed fan named Annie Wilkes in director Rob Reiner’s screen version of Stephen King’s novel “Misery.”
James Caan is writer Paul Sheldon, whose legs and an arm are mutilated in an automobile accident. Bates, as Nurse Wilkes, rescues Sheldon and becomes his sole link with the outside world as he recuperates in her isolated home high in the Rockies.
Although Bates is required to look her worst throughout the film, she said she didn’t hesitate when offered the part.
“When my agent called to say Rob wanted me, I told her she’d better read the book,” Bates said, smiling. “It wasn’t exactly a glamorous Hollywood role.
“Rob had seen my work on the stage. Thank goodness he is a theatergoer. I met with him, and I was confident I could play the part the way he wanted it. After reading a couple of scenes together, he said, ‘Well, let’s do it.’
“Annie Wilkes is an extremely disturbed woman, and very sad. She’s pathetic, a woman I wanted to play after reading the book.
“When Rob called out of the blue and told me I had the part if I wanted it, I couldn’t have been happier. It was Rob who really unlocked all the secrets of Annie for me. He put me on the right track of creating someone who was truly frightening instead of a monster of some kind.
“I’m pleased with the way it turned out. Stephen King told me he liked it.”
Bates until now played small supporting roles in such films as “Men Don’t Leave,” “Arthur 2,” “Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean” and “Straight Time.”