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Movie Villain Monday: Annie Wilkes - Misery (1990)


It’s Movie Villain Monday and this week’s movie villain was suggested in the comments on Facebook.


It’s Annie Wilkes from Misery (1990).

It’s about time we had another female villain and since it’s Stephen King’s birthday today it kinda’ feels right.


Who is Annie Wilkes?


Annie Wilkes is the main antagonist in Stephen King’s 1987 novel, Misery and the film adaptation of the same name that followed three years later.

She was played by the fantastic Kathy Bates and is loosely based on a real nurse called Genene Jones who was convicted of murdering her patients in 1984.


Story:


Annie is a nurse with a shady history and is writer, Paul Sheldon’s “number one fan”.

When Sheldon loses control of his car in a snow blizzard shortly after finishing his latest book, Annie pulls the unconscious writer from the wreckage and takes him back to her home. Unfortunately for him the nightmare has just begun when his saviour turns out to be a complete psycho who will do anything to keep him from leaving.


Personality and Characteristics:


At first Annie Wilkes seems lovely. A very kind, well meaning, pleasant person who just wants to help - but things soon change!

It gradually becomes evident that Annie is a mentally ill psychopath who displays signs of suffering from (according to forensic psychologist Dr. Reid Meloy) a range of illnesses such as bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder with obsessive-compulsive features - to name just a few.

Totally unpredictable and with rapidly shifting moods she can switch from being friendly, perky and enthusiastic one minute to being paranoid, furious with rage and extremely violent the next.

Motivation:


Unlike the other villains featured so far Annie Wilkes “almost” can’t be held accountable for her villainy as she’s not exactly sane. She does what she does because of her mental illness and her deep obsession with Paul Sheldon.


Trivia:


Apparently before Kathy Bates got the role of Annie, it was offered to actress and singer Bette Midler who turned it down saying it was too violent. She’s since admitted to regretting the decision. Lucky for us though it eventually went to Bates who very rightly won an Academy Award for her performance.

Interestingly she and James Caan clashed on set due to their different approaches to acting. Bates, who was from a theatre background wanted to rehearse a lot while Caan didn’t. Director Rob Reiner told her to use her frustration towards her character.


The famous “hobbling” scene in the movie where Annie breaks poor Paul Sheldon’s ankles with a sledge hammer to stop him escaping, was changed for the film. In the original story she actually chops off one of his feet with an axe. It was changed because that was thought to be too severe.

Hmm, I don’t know, that ankle scene is pretty damn nasty and one of a few scenes that to this day I still can’t watch!


In 2003 Annie Wilkes was ranked #17 on The American Film Institute’s “100 Heroes & Villains” list.


“You dirty bird!”


Another great movie villain suggestion!

Who should I feature next week?

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