Misery - by William Goldman
Based on the Novel by
FADE IN ON:
A SINGLE CIGARETTE. A MATCH. A HOTEL ICE BUCKET that holds a
bottle of champagne. The cigarette is unlit. The match is of
the kitchen variety. The champagne, unopened, is Dom Perignon.
There is only one sound at first: a strong WIND--
--now another sound, sharper--a sudden burst of TYPING as we
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
PAUL SHELDON typing at a table in his hotel suite. It's really
a cabin that's part of a lodge. Not an ornate place. Western
He is framed by a window looking out at some gorgeous
mountains. It's afternoon. The sky is grey. Snow is scattered
along the ground. We're out west somewhere. The WIND grows
stronger--there could be a storm.
PAUL pays no attention to what's going on outside as he
continues to type.
He's the hero of what follows. Forty-two, he's got a good
face, one with a certain mileage to it. We are not, in other
words, looking at a virgin. He's been a novelist for eighteen
years and for half that time, the most recent half, a
remarkably successful one.
He pauses for a moment, intently, as if trying to stare a
hole in the paper. Now his fingers fly, and there's another
burst of TYPING. He studies what he's written, then--
THE PAPER, as he rolls it out of the machine, puts it on the
table, prints, in almost childlike letters, these words:
A PILE OF MANUSCRIPT at the rear of the table. He puts this
last page on, gets it straight and in order, hoists it up,
folds it to his chest, the entire manuscript--hundreds of
PAUL, as he holds his book to him. He is, just for a brief
A SUITCASE across the room. PAUL goes to it, opens it and
pulls something out from inside: a battered red leather
briefcase. Now he takes his manuscript, carefully opens the
briefcase, gently puts the manuscript inside. He closes it,
and the way he handles it, he might almost be handling a
child. Now he crosses over, opens the champagne, pours himself
a single glass, lights the one cigarette with the lone match--
there is a distinct feeling of ritual about this. He inhales
deeply, makes a toasting gesture, then drinks, smokes, smiles.
HOLD BRIEFLY, then--
LODGE - DAY
PAUL--exiting his cabin. He stops, makes a snowball, throws
it, hitting a sign.
Still got it.
He throws a suitcase into the trunk of his '65 MUSTANG and,
holding his leather case, he hops into the car and drives
A SIGN that reads "Silver Creek Lodge." Behind the sign is
the hotel itself--old, desolate. Now the '65 Mustang comes
out of the garage, guns ahead toward the sign. As "Shotgun"
by Jr. Walker and the Allstars starts, he heads off into the
THE SKY. Gun-metal grey. The clouds seem pregnant with snow.
PAUL, driving the Mustang, the battered briefcase on the
seat beside him.
THE ROAD AHEAD. Little dainty flakes of snow are suddenly
THE CAR, going into a curve and
PAUL, driving, and as he comes out of the curve, a stunned
look hits his face as we
THE ROAD AHEAD--and here it comes--a mountain storm; it's as
if the top has been pulled off the sky and with no warning
whatsoever, we're into a blizzard and
THE MUSTANG, slowing, driving deeper into the mountains.
PAUL, squinting ahead, windshield wipers on now.
THE MUSTANG, rounding another curve, losing traction--
PAUL, a skilled driver, bringing the car easily under control.
Snow is piling up.
PAUL driving confidently, carefully. Now he reaches out,
ejects the tape, expertly turns it over, pushes it in and,
as the MUSIC continues, he hums along with it.
THE SKY. Only you can't see it.
There's nothing to see but the unending snow, nothing to
hear but the wind which keeps getting wilder.
THE ROAD. Inches of snow on the ground now. This is desolate
THE SNOW. Worse.
THE ROAD, curving sharply, drop ping. A sign reads: "Curved
Road, Next 13 Miles."
THE MUSTANG, coming into view, hitting the curve--no problem--
no problem at all--and then suddenly, there is a very serious
problem and as the car skids out of control--
PAUL, doing his best, fighting the conditions and just as it
looks like he's got things going his way--
THE ROAD, swerving down and
THE MUSTANG, all traction gone and
PAUL, helpless and
THE MUSTANG, skidding, skidding and
THE ROAD as it drops more steeply away and the wind whips
the snow across and
THE MUSTANG starting to spin and
THE MOUNTAINSIDE as the car skids off the road, careens down,
slams into a tree, bounces off, flips, lands upside down,
skids, stops finally, dead.
HOLD ON THE CAR A MOMENT
There is still the sound of the WIND, and there is still the
music coming from the tape, perhaps the only part of the car
left undamaged. Nothing moves inside. There is only the WIND
and the TAPE. The wind gets louder.
THE WRECK looked at from a distance. The MUSIC sounds are
only faintly heard.
THE AREA WHERE THE WRECK IS--AS SEEN FROM THE ROAD. The car
is barely visible as the snow begins to cover it.
THE WRECK from outside, and we're close to it now, with the
snow coming down ever harder--already bits of the car are
covered in white.
CAMERA MOVES IN TO
PAUL. He's inside and doing his best to fight is, but his
consciousness is going. He tries to keep his eyes open but
Slowly, he manages to reach out with his left arm for his
--and he clutches it to his battered body. The MUSIC continues
But PAUL is far from listening. His eyes flutter, flutter
again. Now they're starting to close.
The man is dying.
Motionless, he still clutches the battered briefcase.
HOLD ON THE CASE. Then--
The BRIEFCASE in Paul's hands as he sits at a desk.
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
We are in New York City in the office of Paul's literary
agent, MARCIA SINDELL. The walls of the large room are
absolutely crammed with book and movie posters, in English
and all other kinds of other languages, all of them featuring
the character of MISERY CHASTAIN, a perfectly beautiful woman.
Misery's Challenge, Misery's Triumph--eight of them. All
written by Paul Sheldon.
PAUL, lifting up the battered briefcase--maybe when new it
cost two bucks, but he treats it like gold.
An old friend. I was rummaging through
a closet and it was just sitting
there. Like it was waiting for me.
(searching for a
It's... it's nice, Paul. It's got...
THE TWO OF THEM
When I wrote my first book, I used
to carry it around in this while I
was looking for a publisher. That
was a good book, Marcia. I was a
You're still a writer.
I haven't been a writer since I got
into the Misery business--
(holding up the cover
art of MISERY'S CHILD)
Not a bad business. This thing would
still be growing, too. The first
printing order on Misery's Child was
the most ever--over a million.
No, no. Misery Chastain put braces
on your daughter's teeth and is
putting her through college, bought
you two houses and floor seats to
the Knick games and what thanks does
she get? You go and kill her.
Marcia, you know I started "Misery"
on a lark. Do I look like a guy who
writes romance novels? Do I sound
like Danielle Steel? It was a one-
time shot and we got lucky. I never
meant it to become my life. And if I
hadn't gotten rid of her now, I'd
have ended up writing her forever.
(touches his briefcase)
For the first time in fifteen years,
I think I'm really onto something
I'm glad to hear that, Paul, I really
am. But you have to know--when your
fans find out that you killed off
their favorite heroine, they're not
going to say, "Ooh, good, Paul Sheldon
can finally write what we've always
wanted: An esoteric, semi-
autobiographical character study.
Marcia, why are you doing this to
me? Don't you know I'm scared enough?
Don't you think I remember how nobody
gave a shit about my first books?
You think I'm dying to go back to
shouting in the wilderness?
I'm doing this because I have to.
(Marcia is stopped)
Now, I'm leaving for Colorado to try
to finish this and I want your good
thoughts--because if I can make it
I might just have something that I
want on my tombstone.
On the word "tombstone"
PAUL'S TOMBSTONE--the upside down car with the blizzard coming
gale-force and his motionless body trapped inside the car.
The WIND screams. PAUL'S EYES flutter, then close.
Keep holding as--
Suddenly there's a new sound as a crowbar SCRATCHES at the
-- nd now the door is ripped open as we
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
A BUNDLED-UP FIGURE gently beginning to pull PAUL and the
case from the car. For a moment, it's hard to tell if it's a
man or woman--
--not to let the cat out of the bag or anything, but it is,
very much, a woman. Her name is ANNIE WILKES and she is close
to Paul's age. She is in many ways a remarkable creature.
Strong, self-sufficient, passionate in her likes and dislikes,
loves and hates.
PAUL AND ANNIE as she cradles him in her arms. Once he's
clear of the car, she lays him carefully in the snow
PAUL AND ANNIE: CLOSE UP. She slowly brings her mouth down
close to his. Then their lips touch as she forces air inside
(Their lips touch
You hear me--Breathe! I said
PAUL, as he starts to breathe--
--in a moment his eyes suddenly open wide, but he's in shock,
the eyes see nothing--
ANNIE--the moment she sees him come to life, she goes into
action, lifting PAUL in a fireman's carry, starting the
difficult climb back up the steep hill.
As she moves away, she and Paul are obliterated by the white
THE WHITE OF WHAT SEEMS LIKE A HOSPITAL. Everything is bled
of color. It's all vague--
--we are looking at this from Paul's blurred vision.
And throughout this next sequence, there are these SOUNDS,
words really, but they make no sense.
...good care... you...
...I'm your number one fan..."
The first thing we see during this is something all white.
It takes a moment before we realize it's a ceiling.
Now, a white wall.
An I.V. bottle is next, the medicine dripping down a tube
into PAUL'S LEFT ARM. The other arm is bandaged and in a
ANNIE is standing beside the bed. She wears off-white and
seems very much like a nurse. A good nurse. She has pills in
PAUL. Motionless, dead pale. He has a little beard now. Eyes
barely open, he's shaking with fever.
(hardly able to whisper)
...where... am I...?
ANNIE is quickly by his side.
Shhh... we're just outside Silver
You've been here two days. You're
gonna be okay.
My name is Annie Wilkes and I'm--
--my number one fan.
And now the gibberish words make sense.
That's right. I'm also a nurse. Here.
(Now, as she brings
the pills close)
She helps him to swallow, as Paul's eyes close.
AN EXTERIOR OF THE PLACE. It's a farmhouse--we 're in a
desolate area with mountains in the background.
THE HOUSE is set on a knoll so that Paul's room, although on
the first floor, is ten feet off the ground.
PAUL, in the room. He's not on the I.V. anymore. His fever
has broken. Annie enters, pills in her hand.
What are they...?
They're called Novril--they're for
(helps him take them)
ANNIE applies a cool rag to his forehead.
Shouldn't I be in a hospital?
The blizzard was too strong. I
couldn't risk trying to get you there.
I tried calling, but the phone lines
PAUL tries to test his left arm.
(Gently, her fingers
go to his eyelids,
Now you mustn't tire yourself. You've
got to rest, you almost died.
ANNIE: CLOSE UP. Sometimes her face shows the most remarkable
compassion. It does now.
HOLD ON IT briefly.
CLOSE UP ON PILLS IN ANNIE'S HAND
He lies in bed. His fever is gone, but he's terribly weak.
ANNIE. As she lays the pills on PAUL'S TONGUE, she gives him
a glass of water from the nearby bed table.
PAUL, swallowing eagerly.
ANNIE, watching him, sympathetically.
Your legs just sing grand opera when
you move, don't they?
(Paul says nothing,
but his pain is clear)
It's not going to hurt forever, Paul,
I promise you.
Will I be able to walk?
Of course you will. And your arm
will be fine, too. Your shoulder was
dislocated pretty badly, but I finally
popped it back in there.
But what I'm most proud of is the
work I did on those legs. Considering
what I had around the house, I don't
think there's a doctor who could
have done any better.
And now suddenly she flicks off the blankets, uncovering his
PAUL, staring, stunned at the bottom half of his body as we
PAUL'S LEGS. From the knees down he resembles an Egyptian
mummy--she's splinted them with slim steel rods that look
like the hacksawed remains of aluminum crutches and there's
taping circling around.
From the kness up they're all swollen and throbbing and
horribly bruised and discolored.
PAUL, lying back, stunned with disbelief.
It's not nearly as bad as it looks.
You have a compound fracture of the
tibia in both legs, and the fibula
in the left leg is fractured too. I
could hear the bones moving, so it's
best for your legs to remain immobile.
And as soon as the roads open, I'll
take you to a hospital.
ANNIE: CLOSE UP
In the meantime, you've got a lot of
recovering to do, and I consider it
an honor that you'll do it in my
HOLD on her ecstatic face.
MISERY'S PERFECT FACE. We're back in SINDELL's office in New
York. The office looks just the same, posters and manuscripts
all over. But she doesn't.
She holds the phone and she is fidgety, insecure.
This is Marcia Sindell calling from
New York City. I'd like to speak to
the Silver Creek Chief of Police or
MALE VOICE (O.S.)
Which one do you want?
Whichever one's not busy.
SMALL OFFICE IN SILVER CREEK
...with a view of the mountains.
A MARVELOUS LOOKING MAN sits at a desk, by himself, holding
the phone. In his sixties, he's still as bright, fast and
sassy as he was half-a-lifetime ago. Never mind what his
name is, everyone calls him BUSTER.
I'm pretty sure they 're both not
busy, Ms. Sindell, since they're
both me. I also happen to be President
of the Policeman's Benefit
Association, Chairman of the
Patrolman's Retirement Fund, and if
you need a good fishing guide, you
could do a lot worse; call me Buster,
everybody does, what can I do for
SINDELL in her office. She pushes the speakerphone, gets up,
paces; she's very hesitant when she speaks about Paul. Almost
I'm a literary agent, and I feel
like a fool calling you, but I think
one of my clients, Paul Sheldon,
might be in some kind of trouble.
Paul Sheldon? You mean Paul Sheldon
He's your client, huh?
Yes, he is.
He rolls a penny across the back of one hand--he's very good
at it, doesn't even look while he does it.
People sure like those Misery books.
I'm sure you know Paul's been going
to the Silver Creek Lodge for years
to finish his books.
Yeah, I understand he's been up here
the last six weeks.
Not quite. I just called, and they
said he checked out five days ago.
Isn't that a little strange?
I don't know. Does he always phone
you when he checks out of hotels?
SINDELL, really embarrassed now.
No, no, of course not. It's just
that his daughter hasn't heard from
him, and when he's got a book coming
out, he usually keeps in touch. So
when there was no word from him...
You think he might be missing?
(shakes her head)
I hate that I made this call--tell
me I'm being silly.
BUSTER. He nods as a WOMAN enters, carrying lunch. It's his
wife, VIRGINIA. She begins putting the food down on a table
for the both of them.
Just a little over-protective, maybe.
Tell you what--nothing's been reported
(he puts Paul Sheldon's
name with a ? on a 3
x 5 CARD)
--but I'll put his name through our
(he tacks the card to
a bulletin board)
And if anything turns up, I'll call
you right away.
SINDELL. She smiles, a genuine sense of relief.
I appreciate that. Thanks a lot.
G'bye, Ms. Sindell.
As he hangs up--
We actually got a phone call. Busy
Work, work, work.
(gives her a hug)
Virginia? When was that blizzard?
Four or five days ago. Why?
BUSTER. The penny flies across the back of his hand. He
doesn't look at it, stares instead out the window at the
HOLD ON BUSTER for a moment.
I guess it was kind of a miracle...
you finding me...
ANNIE's soft, sweet laughter is heard. She stands over him,
finishing shaving him with a very sharp straight razor. She
wears what we will come to know as her regular costume--plain
wool skirts, grey cardigan sweaters.
No, it wasn't a miracle at all... in
a way, I was following you.
ANNIE concentrates on shaving him with great care; she has
wonderful, strong hands.
Well, it wasn't any secret to me
that you were staying at the Silver
Creek, seeing as how I'm your number-
one fan and all. Some nights I'd
just tool on down there, sit outside
and look up at the light in your
(gently moves his
head back, exposing
his neck; this next
is said with total
and I'd try to imagine what was going
on in the room of the world's greatest
Say that last part again, I didn't
Don't move now--wouldn't want to
hurt this neck--
Well, the other afternoon I was on
my way home, and there you were,
leaving the Lodge, and I wondered
why a literary genius would go for a
drive when there was a big storm
I didn't know it was going to be a
Lucky for you, I did.
Lucky for me too. Because now you're
alive and you can write more books.
Oh, Paul, I've read everything of
Yours, but the Misery novels...
ANNIE: CLOSE UP
I know them all by heart, Paul, all
eight of them. I love them so.
PAUL, looking at her. There's something terribly touching
about her now.
You're very kind...
And you're very brilliant, and you
must be a good man, or you could
never have created such a wondrous,
loving creature as Misery Chastain.
(runs her fingers
over his cheek)
Like a baby.
(starts to dab away
the last bits of
ANNIE starts cleaning up.
When do you think the phone lines'll
be back up? I have to call my
daughter, and I should call New York
and let my agent know I'm breathing.
It shouldn't be too much longer.
Once the roads are open, the lines'll
be up in no time. If you give me
their numbers, I'll keep trying them
Could I ask you a favor?
I noticed in your case there was a
new Paul Sheldon book and...
and I wondered if maybe...
(her voice trails off)
You want to read it?
If you wouldn't mind.
I have a hard and fast rule about
who can read my stuff at this early
stage--only my editor, my agent, and
anyone who saves me from freezing to
death in a car wreck.
You'll never realize what a rare
treat you've given me.
PAUL. His eyes close briefly, he grimaces.
ANNIE, watching him, concerned. She glances at her watch.
Boy, it's like clockwork, the way
your pain comes--I'll get you your
Novril, Paul. Forgive me for prattling
away and making you feel all oogy.
She turns and goes out of the room.
PAUL, watching her.
What's your new book called?
I don't have a title yet.
What's it about?
It's crazy, but I don't really know,
I mean I haven't written anything
but "Misery" for so long that--you
read it you can tell me what you
think it's about. Maybe you can come
up with a title.
(in the doorway)
Oh, like I could do that?
THE MANAGER'S OFFICE AT THE SILVER CREEK LODGE
Small, neat, one window--outside, snow covers all.
BUSTER AND LIBBY, THE MANAGER, are going over books and
records. Libby is an old guy, walks with a cane.
Nothing unusual about Mr. Sheldon's
leaving, Buster--you can tell by the
Maybe you can, Libby.
No, see, he always ordered a bottle
of Dom Perignon when he was ready to
go. Then he'd pay up and be out the
No long-distance phone calls, Federal
Express packages--anything at all
out of the ordinary?
I don't think Mr. Sheldon likes for
things to be out of the ordinary.
Considering who he is and all, famous
and all, he doesn't have airs. Drives
the same car out from New York each
time--'65 Mustang--said it helps him
think. He was always a good guest,
never made a noise, never bothered a
soul. Sure hope nothing happened to
So do I...
I'll bet that old Mustang's pulling
into New York right now.
I'm sure you're right.
But you can tell he's not sure at all as we
A SPOON FILLED TO THE BRIM WITH BEEF BARLEY SOUP
He lies in bed. Sun comes in the lone window. ANNIE sits on
the bed, a large bowl of soup in her hands, feeding him.
(almost shy about
I know I'm only forty pages into
your book, but...
She stops, fills the spoon up again.
No, what is it?
Oh, it's ridiculous, who am I to
make a criticism to someone like
I can take it, go ahead.
Well, it's brilliantly written, but
then everything you write is
Pretty rough so far.
The swearing, Paul.
There, I said it.
The profanity bothers you?
It has no nobility.
Well, these are slum kids, I was a
slum kid, everybody talks like that.
ANNIE. She holds the soup bowl in one hand, the muddy-colored
beef barley soup close to spilling.
They do not. What do you think I say
when I go to the feed store in town?
"Now, Wally, give me a bag of that
effing pigfeed and ten pounds of
that bitchly cow-corn"--
PAUL is amused by this.
THE SOUP, almost spilling as she gets more agitated.
--and in the bank do I tell Mrs.
Bollinger, "Here's one big bastard
of a check, give me some of your
PAUL, almost laughing as some soup hits the coverlet.
(seeing the spill,
There! Look there! See what you made
PAUL--his smile disappears.
ANNIE, and she is just totally embarrassed.
Oh, Paul, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.
Sometimes I get so worked up. Can
you ever forgive me? Here...
She hands him his pills and starts to clean the soup off the
coverlet. Then she makes the sweetest smile.
I love you, Paul.
Your mind. Your creativity--that's
all I meant.
Flustered, she turns away as we--
A ROAD IN THE MOUNTAINS. Piles of snow all around but it's
been ploughed enough so it's driveable.
A CAR coming into view. Up ahead is the sign we've already
seen: "Curved Road, Next 13 Miles."
INSIDE THE CAR
BUSTER AND HIS WIFE VIRGINIA: Virginia is driving while Buster
intently studies the terrain. He reaches for a large thermos,
pours some coffee, offers it to her. She shakes her head. He
begins to sip it.
This sure is fun.
She puts her hand on his leg.
Virginia, when you're in this car,
you're not my wife, you're my deputy.
Well, this deputy would rather be
home under the covers with the
THE CAR. Suddenly, it goes into a little icy spin--she fights
it back under control.
INSIDE THE CAR
Stop--stop right here.
What? What is it?
THE CAR, skidding, slowing, stopping. BOTH OF THEM get out,
go to the edge of the road. Mountains of snow. Nothing much
else visible. Then Buster points.
Look at that broken branch there...
VIRGINIA, seeing it, unconvinced.
Could be the weight of the snow.
Could be--or a rotten branch or a
mountain lion could have landed on
it. Could be a lot of things.
He steps off the road, starts down.
VIRGINIA, watching him, worried--it's very slippery.
BUSTER, graceful, in great shape, navigating down easily.
THE TREE that the car ran into. BUSTER reaches it, studies
VIRGINIA, staring out after him--she can't see him because
the drop is both too steep and covered with trees and mounds
Anything down there?
BUSTER'S VOICE (O.S.)
Yeah. An enormous amount of snow.
BUSTER. He's moved away from the tree now, going toward where
the Mustang is buried.
THE MOUND OF SNOW with the Mustang inside.
BUSTER, making his way closer to it, closer, staring around.
THE AREA. Nothing to be seen--everything is covered with
mountains of snow. You could have a house down there and not
be able to see it. Just glaring white.
BUSTER, angry, frustrated, turning around and around and
BUSTER from another angle, from behind the mound with the
Mustang inside--and out of his sight, glistening in the sun,
a bit of the door protrudes. But, of course, Buster can't
HOLD ON BUSTER, in a sour mood, staring around as the edge
of the door continues to glisten.
VIRGINIA, on the road as Buster makes his way back up, still
(they move to the car)
You really think Sheldon's out there?
Hope not--if he is, he's dead. Let's
go to the newspaper office.
As they get in the car--
ANOTHER CAR DRIVING BY--it's Annie in her Jeep--neither she
nor Buster notice each other.
The door opens and ANNIE enters.
Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to wake
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
Paul's eyes fluttering awake to see the hardback copy of his
novel, Misery's Child, in Annie's hands. She's never been
They had it at the store, Paul, there
was a whole batch of them there. As
soon as I saw it, I slammed my money
down. I got the first copy.
Then the roads are open...
The one to town is, but that's about
it. I called the hospital and talked
to the head orthopedic surgeon. I
told him who you were and what had
happened. He said as long as there's
no infection, you're not in any
danger, and as soon as the road to
the hospital is open, they'll send
an ambulance for you.
The phones are working?
Well, mine's still out. But the ones
in town were working just fine. I
called that agent of yours.
Oh, Paul, I peeked at the very
(looks at him)
What a wonderful first page--just to
read the name Misery Chastain...
My daughter must be going nuts.
...it's like a visit from my oldest,
I was supposed to be home for her
birthday three days ago.
Your agent said she would tell her
you were okay. But I'm afraid you'll
have to wait until tomorrow if you
want to speak to her yourself.
She starts to leave, stops at the door.
(She looks at him now
with almost a look
Oh, Paul, what a poet you are...
As she leaves--
PAUL, watching as she enters, moves to him, carrying a tray.
I made you my speciality--scrambled
eggs a la Wilkes. And I'm on page
I guess that means it's okay.
No. No, it isn't, it's--
--oh pooh, I can't think of any words.
Would "great" be insulting?
I can live with "great."
He starts, with effort, to eat.
(as she turns, goes)
No, it's not just great, it's perfect,
a perfect, perfect thing.
PAUL'S ROOM. MID-AFTERNOON
ANNIE is clearing Paul's tray. She hands him his Novril; he
quickly swallows them.
I'm up to page 185. I always get sad
when I pass the halfway point. Will
you do me a favor? I'd love it if
you would autograph my copy. I already
have your autograph on a picture,
but it would mean so much to me to
get it in person. I know you're right-
handed, so don't worry if it's not
so legible. I'll cherish it anyway.
As PAUL signs the book:
I don't mean to pry, but I've read
in two magazines now where you were
seeing this model who does those
disgusting jeans commercials. And I
said it can't be true. Paul Sheldon
would never waste his time with a
trampy woman like that.
Well, you can't believe everything
you read in magazines.
I knew it. I knew it wasn't true.
Boy, how do they get away with
printing stuff like that?
You'd be amazed at what some people
He finishes the autograph, hands the book back to her.
Thank you so much.
THE WINDOW - LATE - AFTERNOON SUNLIGHT
THE DOOR. IT opens and guess what--a sow lumbers in.
PAUL, kind of stunned as this female pig skitters its way
around the room, excited, confused, slipping and sliding.
ANNIE, all smiles and happiness, laughing in the doorway.
I thought it was time you two should
meet. Paul, say hello to my favorite
beast in all the world, my sow,
THE PIG, snorting around the room.
PAUL AND ANNIE, watching it.
Yes. I told you I was your number-
I'm getting to believe you.
This farm was getting kind of dreary,
what with just the few cows and
chickens and me--
But when I got Misery here, everything
Changed--she just makes me smile so.
She's a fine... uh... pig is what
(scooping up the pig,
holding it tight as
she stands by Paul)
I'm on page three-hundred now, Paul,
and it's better than perfect--it's
divine. What's the ceiling that dago
The Sistine Chapel?
Yeah, that and Misery's Child--those
are the only two divine things ever
in this world...
PAUL watches as the pig skitters out of the room with ANNIE
in pursuit, happily imitating the pig.
Woink! Whoink! Whuh-Whuh-WHOINK!
PAUL staring after them--what the hell was that?
THE WINDOW. DUSK.
ANNIE'S VOICE is heard softly.
When my husband left me... I wasn't
prepared, it wasn't an easy time...
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
ANNIE, standing at the window, her back to the room.
In bed, PAUL is dealing with a bedpan, peeing.
For a while I thought I might go
I know how that can be.
I don't know about you, but what I
did to get through it was I dove
into work--days, nights--night shifts
can be lonely at a hospital. I did a
lot of reading. That was hen I first
discovered Misery. She made me so
happy. She made me forget all my
(She smiles now)
'Course, I suppose you had a little
something to do with that too.
There is a peeing sound.
He is embarrassed.
I just kept reading them over and
over. I know when I finish this one--
and I've only got two chapters to go--
I'll just turn right to the front
page and start reading it again.
(She turns around,
moves to the bed)
As she takes the bedpan...
Don't get me wrong. I'm not against
marriage per se. But it would take a
pretty special guy to make me want
to go down the aisle again.
Well, it's not something you should
enter into lightly.
It boils down to respect. People
just don't respect the institution
of marriage any more. They have no
sense of real commitment.
PAUL, attempting to smile. There is not much he can say to
I'd love to stay here and chat, but
I'm right at the end and I gotta
find out what happens.
Well, I hope you like it.
Of course I'll like it. Misery's
about to have her child. What's it
gonna be, a boy or a girl? Ooh, don't
With that, she exits.
THE WINDOW. MOONLIGHT.
PAUL. He's been dozing but now his eyes flutter awake as we
THE DOOR. It opens and ANNIE enters, comes to his bedside.
PAUL. Hard to see. He squints up as we
ANNIE. CLOSE UP: her face is ashen pale.
You...you dirty bird. She can't be
dead. Misery Chastain cannot be dead!
How could you?
Annie, in 1871, women often died in
childbirth, but her spirit is the
important thing, and Misery's spirit
is still alive--
I DON'T WANT HER SPIRIT! I want HER!
And you MURDERED her!
Then who did?
No one--she just died--she slipped
away, that's all.
She slipped away? She slipped away?
She didn't just slip away. You did
it. You did it. You did it. You did
it. You murdered my Misery.
And now she has lifted a chair--it's heavy but she's very
strong--and she raises it and turns on Paul, and it's high
above her head, and PAUL realizes that this might be it, she
might shatter him with it, crunch his skull--and that's just
what she seems she's about to do--and then she swings it,
not against him but against the wall, and it shatters and
she's panting from the effort as she turns on him again, her
voice surprisingly soft.
I thought you were good, Paul, but
you're not good, you're just another
lying old dirty birdie and I don't
think I better be around you for
(she crosses to the
door, then stops)
And don't even think about anybody
coming for you, not the doctors, not
your agent, not your family--because
I never called them. Nobody knows
you're here. And you better hope
nothing happens to me because if I
die, you die.
PAUL, watching as she closes the door behind her. Then there
is a RATTLE OF A KEY and the sound of the door to his room
ANNIE, getting in her Cherokee and gunning away.
PAUL lies still. He looks around the room and listens for
sounds. All he hears are the SOUNDS OF A WINTER NIGHT in the
mountains. After a few beats, he takes a deep breath and
then begins his greatest effort of all: to force his body
out of bed, to make it move.
He's still weak from what he's endured, but that's not the
main thing: it's the pain. Any attempt at movement and his
legs scream. He sags back, lies there still a moment. Slowly
he tries to maneuver his body off the bed. He rolls over
onto his stomach, then tries to lower himself onto the floor
by moving down head first. His good arm hits the floor, and
he is able to hold himself up but, realizing there is no way
to get out of bed without causing tremendous pain, he girds
himself and flings himself out of bed and comes crashing to
The pain is excruciating. After he regains his composure, he
slowly crawls toward the door.
He reaches up and tries the handle. It is, in fact, locked.
He awkwardly tries to slam up against the door, but it is
much too painful and to no avail. He crawls back over to the
bed, realizes there's no way to climb back in, then grabs
the blanket from the bed, wraps it around himself, and closes
BUSTER'S OFFICE. DAY.
He sits alone at his desk on the telephone, staring at the
Rocky Mountain Gazette spread in front of him.
THE NEWSPAPER'S FRONT PAGE
In a prominent spot on the top is what is most likely a book-
jacket photo of Paul. Above the picture is the following:
"HAVE YOU SEEN PAUL SHELDON?"
BUSTER is on the phone with Marcia Sindell.
No, Ms. Sindell, there's no point in
coming up here now. Everything that
can be done is... Yes, we're working
closely with the state police, and
the FBI has been informed. Right...
Right... As soon as we know anything
we'll let you know. No, it's no
bother. Call anytime. Bye, Ms.
VIRGINIA enters, carrying some files.
Here's the list of all Sheldon's
credit charges. Nothing after the
(With a glance at his
dour face, she
indicates the photo)
Just from his agent.
BUSTER. His eyes flick up to her. An almost imperceptible
shake of the head.
HOLD FOR A MOMENT, then--
FACES. They are distorted, and they come into view but
briefly, then change into the next distorted face. All kinds--
there is no order to them
--young, Oriental, female, male, pretty, sad, black, not so
pretty, happy, white, old--what we HEAR is this:
"...You've changed my life..."
"...I'm your number one fan..."
"...I'm a really big fan of yours..."
"...I'm your biggest fan..."
"...Don't ever stop writing those Misery books..."
"...I've read all your books, but the Misery's... well..."
"...I'm your number one fan..."
"...You've given me such pleasure..."
"...I feel like you're writing just for me..."
And now, it gets kicked up in speed and all goes faster,
many times overlapping.
"...I love you... I'm your number one fan... I'm your biggest
fan... We love you... number one... love you... biggest...
love you... number one... number one... you poor dear
This last was said by Annie, out of focus, and for a moment,
she stays that way--
THE ROOM, AS IT SNAPS BACK INTO FOCUS--ANNIE is standing by
the bed. It is dusk.
She wears a dark blue dress and a hat with a sprig of flowers.
Her eyes are bright and vivacious--the fact is, this is the
prettiest ANNIE WILKES has ever looked.
What are you doing on the floor?
(crossing to the bed)
It's my fault. If I'd had a proper
hospital bed, this never would have
happened. Here, let me help you back
(She lifts him back
into the bed, which
I know this hurts, but it'll only
take a few seconds. There you go.
You're such a kidder. I have a big
surprise for you. But first there's
something you must do.
I don't suppose I could have a little
snack while I wait for the
I'll get you everything you want,
but you must listen first. Sometimes
my thinking is a little muddy, I
accept that. It's why I couldn't
remember all those things they were
asking me on the witness stand in
Now she turns, goes to the doorway, keeping on talking. She
is never out of sight.
But this time I thought clearly. I
asked God about you and God said "I
delivered him unto you so that you
may show him the way."
Show me the way?
She exits and re-enters wheeling something toward his bed.
It's a charcoal barbecue, the kind you use in summer for
cooking hamburgers. She holds several items in her arms: a
box of Diamond Blue Tip wooden matches, a can of lighter
fluid. And most noticeably, Paul's manuscript.
ANNIE AND PAUL. He watches, mute, as she takes off the grill,
puts the manuscript into the barbecue itself where the
charcoal goes, spritzes it with lighter fluid. The grill is
close enough to the bed for him to reach out and drop a match.
When I mentioned a snack, I was
thinking more along the lines of a
cheese and crackers kind of thing.
ANNIE, looking at him.
Paul, this is no time for jokes. You
must rid the world of this filth.
She hands him the box of kitchen matches.
You want me to burn my book?
You want me to burn my book?
I know this may be difficult for
you, but it's for the best.
This isn't difficult, my agent's
made dozens of copies. There's gonna
be an auction on this, and every
publishing house in New York is
reading it now. So if you want me to
burn it, fine. You're not ridding
the world of anything.
ANNIE, watching him.
Then light the match, Paul.
No big deal.
So you've indicated. Do it.
THE MATCHES. PAUL'S HANDS are starting to tremble now. He
can't do it.
I know this is the only copy, Paul.
When you were twenty-four you wrote
your first book and you didn't make
a copy, because you didn't think
anybody would take it seriously. But
they did. And ever since you've never
made any copies because you're
superstitious--it's why you always
come back to the Silver Creek Lodge.
You told that story to Merv Griffin
eleven years ago.
You know, Annie, this book never
would have survived without you.
When it gets to new York, there will
be a big auction, and whatever it
brings we can split.
God knows you're entitled to it.
Oh, Paul. This isn't about money.
It's about decency and purity. It's
about God's values.
You're right. You're right. I don't
know what I was thinking. I'll tell
you what. It doesn't have to be
published. Nobody ever has to see
it. I'll just keep it for myself. No
one will ever have to know it exists.
As long as it does exist, your mind
won't ever be free. I think you should
light the match, Paul.
There is a long silence. PAUL doesn't move.
Can't you see it's what God wants?
She's holding the can of lighter fluid in her hand as she
speaks and absentmindedly flicks a few drops of the fluid on
You're so brilliant. I would think
you'd certainly be able to see that.
(More drops fall on
We're put on this earth to help
people, Paul. Like I'm trying to
PAUL watches as the fluid continues to drop on the bed.
Please let me help you.
PAUL. His hands shaking. Almost robot-like, he strikes one.
You're doing the right thing, Paul.
THE BARBECUE, as Paul's hand appears, drops the match on the
fluid-soaked manuscript. For a moment--nothing--
--and then, KABOOM, the goddamn thing practically explodes
PAUL, staring, dazed, and as the flames leap higher,
ANNIE, suddenly scared and startled at the heat and the size
of the flames and the full baking heat and
THE BARBECUE. The sound is LOUDER as the flames leap up and
now charred bits of paper begin floating upward and
ANNIE, watching, as more bits of paper rise.
Goodness--Goodness--Oh, my gracious--
And she starts trying to catch them.
A PIECE OF BURNING PAPER in midair, floating against the
gauzy curtain, and for a moment it looks like the curtain
will catch fire and
ANNIE, panicked, racing out of the room, going "Goodness,
heavens to Betsy"--
THE BARBECUE, and what's left of the book.
PAUL, and he cannot take his eyes off the disaster.
ANNIE, hurrying back in, carrying a big bucket, slopping
water as she lifts the bucket.
THE LAST of the manuscript as the bucket of water is tossed
onto it--there's hissing and steam and as the steam clears
it all looks now like a log in a brackish pond.
Well, isn't that an oogy mess?
As she starts to wheel the barbecue out, suddenly there is a
new and different sound as we
PAUL, head turning toward the window.
ANNIE taking a step toward the window, stopping for a moment.
The sound we're hearing is a motor. A HELICOPTER MOTOR. And
it's getting louder. Annie goes to the window now, looks
toward the sky as we
A HELICOPTER flying along.
INSIDE THE HELICOPTER
BUSTER and a PILOT are in the machine. Buster has a pair of
binoculars looped around his neck, a map rumpled in his lap.
That's the Steadman place up there.
(The pilot nods. Buster
The only other place up here is the
Another nod. The PILOT points down. BUSTER stares through
WHAT HE SEES: ANNIE'S JEEP parked in front of her house.
INSIDE THE HELICOPTER
That's no '65 Mustang. There's nothing
else out this way--circle on back.
As the pilot starts to change direction
ANNIE at the window, watching, as the helicopter turns, starts
PAUL, listening as the MOTOR sound recedes.
ANNIE, staring out the window.
I do believe the winters are getting
shorter and shorter every year. People
say it has something to do with the
ozone layer. What do you think?
I don't know.
Yeah, well, it's a theory. Here's
(she wheels the
barbecue to the door;
How does tuna casserole sound for
She exits. PAUL takes the two Novril, stares at them, then
deliberately tucks them under his mattress.
PAUL'S ROOM. NIGHT.
As PAUL is finishing the last of his tuna casserole. There
are two Novrils on his tray. We hear strains of TV GAME SHOW
THEME MUSIC. These sounds are not surprising. Paul has heard
ANNIE'S ROOM. NIGHT.
It is much smaller than Paul's and filled with religious
bric-a-brac, pictures of Paul Sheldon, and a TV on a portable
stand. Annie lies in bed, with an open bag of Cheetos resting
on her stomach and a big quart-sized plastic bottle of Coke
on the nightstand. As she munches away, she is heavily
engrossed in her favorite TV show, "The Love Connection." As
Chuck Woolery extracts the embarrassing details of a couple's
romantic interlude, we
Paul faintly hearing the sounds of the TV. He has now finished
eating. He takes the two Novril from under the mattress. He
then undoes the sheet, takes his fork and delicately pokes a
hole in the mattress, then stuffs all four pills back into
Coming up to dawn.
PAUL'S DOOR slowly opening.
PAUL, staring at the door.
WHEELS, seen from underneath the bed, being rolled around
the foot of the bed. We realize PAUL is in a wheelchair with
ANNIE pushing him.
See, isn't this nice?
Great. I've always wanted to visit
the other side of the room.
And look what I've got for you. An
electric razor so you can shave
If I knew this was gonna be the
surprise, you could've gotten me to
burn all my books.
(She hands him some
Now don't josh. This is a very big
day for you, Paul. Here. You just
sit tight, and I'll set everything
PAUL, quickly shoving the Novril into the mattress.
Set what up?
That's the big surprise. Your new
studio--after all, writers do need a
place to work.
Work? You mean write? What in the
world do you think I'd write?
Oh, but Paul!
I don't think, I know! Now that you've
gotten rid of that nasty manuscript,
you can go back to doing what you're
--you're going to write a new novel--
your greatest achievement ever--
(after a beat)
I know you didn't mean it when you
killed her, and now you'll make it
ANNIE: CLOSE UP. In an almost religious fervor.
Yes. It will be a book in my honor.
For saving your life and nursing you
back to health. I'll be the first
one to read it.
Oh, Paul, you're going to make me
the envy of the whole world...
You just expect me to whip something
off, that it?
I expect nothing less than your
You do understand that this isn't
the ordinary way books get written--
I mean, some people might actually
consider this an oddball situation.
She rolls him over to a table she has set up by the window.
I have total confidence in your
brilliance--besides, the view will
THE WINDOW, as the wheelchair approaches it.
The sky is innocent of clouds. There's a green forest climbing
the flank of the nearest mountain. A plot of open ground
between the house and the mountain. A neat red barn where
the livestock stay. A Jeep Cherokee, maybe five years old. A
Fisher plow. And no neighbors in sight. This is a desolate
You just inhale that. I'll be right
PAUL, staring out the window.
I guess you don't get bothered by
Don't worry about that. You'll have
total solitude so you can concentrate
on your work.
ANNIE in the doorway, carrying reams of typing paper, pencils,
pens and sharpener.
PAUL, watching her--it's all kind of amazing. She hands him
a box of typing paper.
I got you this expensive paper to
PAUL, looking at the paper. It's Corrasable Bond. An idea
hits him; he masks it as best he can.
(putting the rest of
the paper on the
And I got a great deal on this fifty-
pound clunker--on account of it's
missing an "n." I told the saleslady
"n" was one of the letters in my
favorite writer's name.
It's two of the letters in my favorite
nurse's name, Annie.
(turns, grabs up pens,
Did I do good?
(gesturing to the box
You did great, except there's just
one little thing--I can't work with
this paper. It's Corrasable Bond, it
smudges. Maybe you could go back
into town and bring me some white,
But mine cost the most so I don't
see how it could smudge.
(quickly taking a
sheet of paper, making
a pencil mark on it)
C'mere, I'll show you.
As she approaches, he rubs his thumb over the pencil mark.
(looking at it)
Well, it does smudge after all--isn't
I thought you'd be interested. I'd
like you to be in on everything,
Annie. Not just the finished book,
but how it's written.
Thank you for thinking of me.
(She can be so charming
when she wants)
Anything else I can get while I'm in
town? Any other crucial requirements
that need satisfying? Would you like
a tiny tape recorder? Or maybe a
handmade set of writing slippers?
No, just the paper will be fine.
(suddenly very agitated)
Are you sure? 'Cause if you want,
I'll bring back the whole store for
Annie, what's the matter?
What's the matter? I'll tell you
what's the matter. I go out of my
way for you. I do everything to try
and make you happy. I feed you, I
clean you, I dress you. And what
thanks do I get? "You bought the
wrong paper, Annie. I can't write on
this paper, Annie." Well, I'll get
your stupid paper, but you just better
start showing me a little more
appreciation around here, Mister
With that, she throws the ream of paper in PAUL'S LAP, causing
THE DOOR as she slams it shut, locks it, stomps off and
THE WINDOW. Annie, in a parka, can be seen storming out in
the direction where her Cherokee was parked. She gets in and
PAUL. He heaves a sigh, reaches out toward his tortured knees,
then drops his head. He sees something.
BOBBY PIN on the floor.
PAUL, as he moves toward the bobby pin. Or tries to. It's
brutally hard for him. The chair moves half a foot. Stops.
Paul strains again. Another half foot. Another.
The BOBBY PIN. The wheelchair is beside it now. PAUL reaches
down for it. Can't make it. Tries again. Can't. He takes a
deep breath, forces himself to bend, ignoring the pain. The
bobby pin is in his hands.
PAUL, inserting the bobby pin into the keyhole, beginning to
jimmy the lock.
THE LOCK--it makes a SOUND--something has caught.
PAUL, excited, trying to force the bobby pin and he's doing
great--until it slips from his hands, falls to the floor
THE BOBBY PIN. Paul reaches for it. The pain has him. He
reaches again, involuntarily cries out. But he grabs it,
clutches it tight.
THE KEYHOLE. Paul is trying to jimmy the lock a second time.
PAUL. In wild frustration.
You've written how to do this--now
THE KEYHOLE. There is a loud CLICKING sound.
THE DOOR as Paul turns the knob. The door opens a crack.
What do you know, it actually works.
PAUL, trying to get out of the room--but it's a bitch because
in order to get to the lock he had to move the wheelchair up
to the door and in order to get out, he's got to maneuver it
out of the way of the door and every turn of the chair's
wheels is an effort for him. He works at it and works at it,
but his energy is failing him. He's pale, perspiring. Finally
he succeeds, barely forces his way into the hall.
PAUL, in the hallway outside. He looks around for a phone.
Doesn't see one. He wheels himself over to the front door,
tries it. It's locked from the outside.
What a surprise.
He looks off into the living room, and...
PAUL, wheeling into the living room. Dark red predominates.
It's a musty room. Over the mantel, a photograph of a six-
year-old ANNIE, with her mother and father in front of the
family car--a new 1952 Buick. These were happier times.
The windows have bars on them.
As PAUL begins to wheel as fast as he can toward the phone--
THE PHONE as PAUL at last grabs for it, gets it, punches the
He shakes the phone. It's terribly light. He picks it up,
turns it over--it's hollow, just a shell of a telephone. He
stares at it for a long moment, shaking his head, the
You crazy bitch...
He puts the phone back on the table.
THE GENERAL STORE. DAY.
Annie exits the store, carrying new paper, hops into her
Cherokee and drives off.
THE STUDY, as PAUL enters. He looks around.
It's stuffed with heavy, graceless furniture as well as lots
of coffee tables covered with knickknacks. As he, with effort,
wheels across it--
A shelf of BOOKS. PAUL SHELDON books. EVERY Paul Sheldon
PAUL, pausing, looking at her collection. The only book on
the shelf that isn't his is a large scrapbook. The title on
the back reads "My Life."
He glances back at the shelf as he forces his wheelchair
across the study, and we
A SMALL TABLE with little ceramic doodads on top. The
wheelchair his it, one of the doodads topples--it's a penguin,
fragile looking, and as it's about to fall to the floor and
PAUL, grabbing for it, catching it, putting it back where it
was. He continues his slow way across the room and
Out in the hallway, on his way toward the kitchen, PAUL
notices a door to his right. He wheels over and surprisingly
it opens. However, this is not a door to the outside of the
house, only a storage pantry. He looks around--nothing but
canned goods, potato chips, cereals and large plastic Coke
containers, etc. Just as he is about to close the door, he
notices an open cardboard box. He opens the flap and sees
all kinds of prescription drugs. Among them are a couple of
strips of Novril encapsulated in blisters. He grabs them and
stuffs them into his sweatpants. Now he closes the pantry
door and heads to the kitchen.
As PAUL approaches it. He starts to wheel his way in, but he
He backs up slightly, wheels forward again--
--but the door is too narrow for the chair to fit through.
He pounds his fists on the chair arm, staring as we
THE BACK DOOR. It's at the far end of the kitchen leading to
the outside. It seems somehow less formidable than the front
door did. The windows around the kitchen are barred.
PAUL, staring at the kitchen door--
--then without warning, he makes his move, starting to lower
himself out of the chair
gently to the floor--
--only it doesn't work that way. It's too awkward, he doesn't
have the strength to maneuver properly--
--and his body tilts awkwardly out of the chair, slams hard
against the hard floor.
PAUL, crying out in pain as he lands. He lies there for a
moment. Little droplets of sweat are on his forehead now. He
He closes his eyes, gathering strength--
--and then slowly, very slowly, inch by inch, he moves his
body across the floor toward the kitchen door.
THE KITCHEN DOOR. It's still a long way away.
PAUL, ignoring his pain, his awkwardness, making his body
THE KITCHEN DOOR. Closer now.
PAUL, growing pale, but he won't stop, and now the door is
just ahead of him, and with his good arm he reaches out and
up and grabs the doorknob--
THE KITCHEN DOOR. Locked solid.
PAUL: CLOSE UP. The disappointment and anger is plain on his
face. His arm drops. He lies still for a moment, panting
from his effort. Then--
PAUL, and his eyes are wide for a moment. You can feel his
wild excitement, as we
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
Sitting on the counter: A SET OF CARVING KNIVES sticking out
of a slotted wooden block.
They seem to be out of reach, but that doesn't stop him. He
starts to crawl over to the counter.
ANNIE is driving along in her Cherokee. She is heading home.
Now at the counter, PAUL tries to pull himself up with his
one good arm, but even though he is able to chin himself up
to the top of the counter, he is still unable to reach the
knives. He makes a desperate attempt which sends him crashing
to the floor.
As he starts to force his way up again--from outside there
comes a sound--the motor of a car.
ANNIE, driving up to the house.
PAUL, throwing himself back to the floor, starting a wild
crawl back across the kitchen toward the wheelchair and
ANNIE, getting out of her Jeep and
PAUL, crawling, crawling and
ANNIE, walking around to the back of the Jeep and
PAUL, scrambling wildly up into his wheelchair, starting to
get it turned and
ANNIE, opening the back of the Jeep and lifting out several
rectangular boxes of paper and
PAUL, straightened out now, forcing the wheelchair to move,
and now we're into a race, a crazed life-and-death race and
the cuts go fast--
--and ANNIE closes the door of the car--
--and PAUL is suddenly stuck, there's no traction on the rug--
-- ow ANNIE, purchases in hand, starts away from the car for
--and now PAUL is finally moving toward the bedroom.
--and ANNIE is moving swiftly toward the front door.
-- he drops one of the packages of paper.
PAUL, still biting down, churning his arms with all the
strength he has left. PAUL'S ARMS, aching, start to turn to
ANNIE'S FEET, walking quickly across the snow-covered area
in front of the house and
THE BEDROOM DOOR as Paul gets through it, shuts it, and
attacks the bedroom lock with the bobby pin and
ANNIE, unlocking the front door of the house and
THE BEDROOM DOOR, as it locks and
THE FRONT DOOR, unlocking and
ANNIE balancing the bundles under her chin as she jiggles
the key out of the front door lock and
(her voice from the
hallway, close and
Paul, I've got your paper.
PAUL. He wheels to exactly where he was when she left him.
He at last allows himself a sigh of relief.
THE DOOR as the sound of a lock CLICKING is heard.
Just the kind you asked for.
And as the door opens--
PAUL--looking down. Paul's waistband--a half a dozen strips
of Novril ominously stick out.
As the door swings open, he quickly covers the Novril with
ANNIE, in the doorway, a strange look on her face.
Paul, you're dripping with
perspiration, your color is very
hectic--what have you been doing?
You know goddamn well what I've been
doing--I'VE BEEN SITTING HERE
SUFFERING. I need my pills.
(tenderly, as she
starts toward him)
Poor dear... Let's get you back in
bed and I'll get them for you.
I want my pills NOW!
It'll only take a second.
I want my pain to go 'way, Annie--
make it go 'way, please Annie--
(She looks at him--
you can't tell if
she's buying it or
ANNIE. She stares a moment more, then turns, starts for the
It just breaks my heart to see you
PAUL watching, and the instant she is out the door in the
hallway, he stuffs the Novril into his pants.
I've done a lot of thinking on the
ANNIE, entering the room, the Novril in her hand. She is
...and I'm absolutely convinced that
the main reason I've never been more
popular is because of my temper. You
must be so mad at me. The truth now.
She hands him the pills. And rolls him over to the bed.
Well, I don't hold grudges. After
all, who doesn't let off a little
steam once in a while.
PAUL putting the pills in his mouth, as she picks him up
from the chair and puts him gently down in bed.
My genius needs his rest before he
She hands him a pad and pencil.
Here, in case you think of any ideas.
Yeah, well I wouldn't expect too
Don't be silly. You'll be brilliant.
Think of me as your inspiration.
THE DOORWAY, as ANNIE starts to it.
I have faith in you...
On that she turns--for the first time, a coquettish look
comes to her face.
(she throws him a
PAUL, summoning up all his courage, as he mimes catching it
and forces a smile on. She waves, closes the door.
HOLD ON PAUL. The smile dies. He reaches in and pulls the
two Novril capsules out of his mouth. Now--
THE SOUND OF A HELICOPTER
INSIDE THE HELICOPTER
BUSTER AND PILOT flying along. Buster is all bundled up as
he stares out, using the binoculars...
SOMETHING SHINY reflecting the sun.
HOLD AS IT ALMOST BLINDS US--we're looking at the part of
Paul's Mustang that was revealed by the snow when Buster
almost found the car.
Walter, we could be skipping lunch
Paul's car being hoisted by chains from the ground and, as
it starts to rise up into the afternoon air...
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
THE AREA BY THE CAR--BUSTER is there and a bunch of STATE
POLICEMEN and various MEDIA PEOPLE are there--Buster stands
with the STATE POLICE CHIEF watching as the car is hoisted
via derrick; the sound of the powerful MOTOR lifting the car
is enormous and as the car keeps rising higher and higher
and PEOPLE take pictures and stare and
THE STATE POLICE CHIEF is addressing maybe a dozen REPORTERS.
It's very cold. BUSTER stands slightly away from the group.
STATE POLICE CHIEF
The presumption must now be that
Paul Sheldon is dead. We know he
somehow crawled out of his car. But
we have been unable to locate his
body in the vicinity of the crash.
We also know if anyone had found
him, they would have taken him to an
area hospital. His body is undoubtedly
out there buried somewhere in the
snow. We'll find him after the first
thaw--unless the animals have gotten
to him first.
I'll take questions.
After the first sentence, a very cold and very unhappy BUSTER
leaves the gathering.
PAUL'S CAR as Buster studies it, especially the area by the
driver's side where there are still dents visible from Annie's
VIRGINIA moves to him now. They exchange a glance, start
walking together toward their car.
THE CHIEF, surrounded--people are asking questions, raising
hands for attention, and as he answers them--
BUSTER AND VIRGINIA, close together, walking toward their
You don't think he's dead, do you?
He might well be. But not the way
they say. He didn't crawl out of
that car by himself. You saw those
dents on the door--someone pulled
It was an old car--those dents could
have been there forever.
There's two kinds of people that
drive around in old cars: the ones
that can't afford new ones, and the
ones who wouldn't give 'em up for
anything in the world. That second
bunch don't drive around with twenty-
As they drive off...
PAUL'S ROOM. NIGHT.
PAUL lies in bed listening to the strains of "The Love
Connection," coming from upstairs. As Chuck Woolery drones
on, Paul is intently involved in folding a piece of paper
from his pad. He is making a container of some sort. He
finishes, then reaches down and grabs the Novril capsules
that he has been stashing in the mattress.
Carefully, he opens one and pours it into the palm of his
hand. First he smells it--no odor--then he takes a tiny bit
on a finger and tastes it--no taste. Then, he takes his paper
container and empties the contents of all the pills into it,
then places it under the mattress.
Now, what to do with the empty capsules. He thinks for a
second, then--what the hell--he swallows them. He then places
the packet back in the mattress.
THE TYPEWRITER. DAY.
The window is visible behind it. From this angle, it almost
seems to be staring at PAUL, broken "n" and all. PAUL tests
his wounded arm. He's able to raise it a few inches, but
OUTSIDE THE WINDOW
ANNIE is visible heading for the barn, followed by MISERY,
the pig. For a moment, she stops, turns to look back.
Don't be nervous--
--just remember, I'll treasure
whatever you do.
Now, as she turns again, moves quickly away--
PAUL. He rolls in a piece of paper, types briefly.
WHAT HE'S WRITTEN, AND IT'S THIS:
"Misery's Retur ."
By Paul Sheldo
for A ie Wilkes.
PAUL, studying the paper. He takes it out, starts to roll in
a new sheet.
THE MACHINE as the new sheet is rolled in.
PAUL, staring at the blank page. He takes a deep breath,
glances outside, then back to the paper.
THE BLANK PAGE
PAUL, and now there's a brief light behind his eyes and
suddenly he types a burst, stares at what he's written.
THE PAPER and these words: "fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck."
PAUL. He closes his eyes briefly, mutters something, kind of
nods, opens his eyes, grabs for another piece of paper, rolls
it in and starts mechanically to type.
A NEW PIECE OF PAPER with the words "Chapter Two" and a half
paragraph of writing as we
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
PAUL WORKING in his room. ANNIE enters, the first pages of
manuscript in her hands. It's dusk.
I'm sorry, Paul. This is all wrong,
you'll have to do it over again.
What? What happened to "I'll treasure
whatever you do?"
Paul, it's not worthy of you. Throw
it all out except for the part of
naming that gravedigger after me.
You can leave that in.
I really value your criticism, but
maybe you're being a little hasty
Paul, what you've written just isn't
That's right--when I was growing up
in Bakersfield, my favorite thing in
all the world was to go to the movies
on Saturday afternoons for the chapter
(it just comes out)
I know that, Mister Man--they also
call them serials. I'm not stupid,
(and she's a child
Anyway, my favorite was Rocket Man,
and once it was a no-brakes chapter,
the bad guys stuck him in a car on a
mountain road and knocked him out
and welded the doors shut and tore
out the brakes and started him to
his death and he woke up and tried
to steer and tried to get out, but
the car went off a cliff before he
could escape and it crashed and burned
and--I was so upset and excited and
the next week you better believe I
was first in line and they always
start with the end of the last week
and there was Rocket Man trying to
get out, and here came the cliff and
JUST BEFORE the car went off he jumped
free and all the kids cheered--
(standing up now)
--but I didn't cheer, I stood right
up and started shouting, "This isn't
what happened last week--have you
all got amnesia?--THEY JUST CHEATED
US--THIS WASN'T FAIR--"
ANNIE: CLOSE UP. Still in her childhood reverie. Shouting:
"HE DIDN'T GET OUT OF THE COCKADOODIE
They always cheated like that in
But not you. Not with my Misery.
Remember, Ian did ride for Dr. Cleary
at the end of the last book, but his
horse fell jumping that fence and
Ian broke his shoulder and his ribs
and lay there all night in the ditch
so he never reached the doctor, so
there couldn't have been any
"experimental blood transfusion"
that saved her life. Misery was buried
in the ground at the end, Paul, so
you'll have to start there.
As she goes--
Look at this, I've got Lizzie Borden
for an editor, here.
PAUL slumps, staring barefully at the typewriter.
OUTSIDE THE FARMHOUSE. NIGHT.
OUTSIDE THE FARMHOUSE. NEXT MORNING.
PAUL'S ROOM. DAY.
PAUL is at the table. He takes the Novril off his breakfast
tray, wheels over to the bed, and stuffs them into the
mattress. He hears FOOTSTEPS coming down the hall. He smoothly
wheels back to the table. A pause.
ANNIE enters to remove the tray.
What's the matter, Paul? You haven't
written a word.
I can't write this anymore.
Don't be silly. Of course you can.
I'm telling you, I can't.
You can--you have the "gotta"--
The "gotta." Remember, you talked
about it in Playboy magazine. You
said there's a million things you
can't do in this world; you can't
hit a curve ball, you can't fix a
leaky faucet or make a marriage work--
but there's one thing you always
have, and that's the power of the
I said that?
You said you can make it so they
gotta turn the page. You know, "I
'gotta' know will she live," "I
'gotta' know will he catch the
killer." "I gotta see how this chapter
ends." You said it. I don't usually
buy that magazine. I only got it,
'cause they were interviewing you.
PAUL: CLOSE UP. Blinking.
What about a bee...?
THE KEYBOARD as the piece of paper slides in and the keys
start to move. Annie stands there for a moment, then quietly
backs out of the room.
THE WINDOW. It's late afternoon.
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
PAUL in the wheelchair watching as ANNIE finishes reading.
Well, is it fair? Should I keep going?
You better. Oh, Paul, when Ian
realized that the reason they'd buried
Misery alive was because the bee
sting had put her in that temporary
ANNIE, in a fervor.
--and when Gravedigger Wilkes
remembered how thirty years earlier,
the same thing had happened to Lady
--and then old Dr. Cleary deduced
that Misery must be Lady Evelyn-Hyde's
long-lost daughter because of the
rarity of deadly bee-stings--my heart
PAUL, watching her. It's as if he had nothing to do with
anything she's read as she goes on.
I've known from the very first book
that Misery had to be born of nobility
and I was right!
(mumbling to himself)
THE TWO OF THEM; she touches the pages as if they were gold,
rubbing gently with the tips of her fingers.
Oh, Paul, can I read each chapter
when you finish? I can fill in the
(Paul nods, and she's
Will she be her old self, now that
Ian has dug her out, or will she
...have to wait.
Will she still love him with that
special perfect love?
Have to wait.
Not even a hint?
Paul shakes his head.
ANNIE, spinning around the room like a happy child.
Misery's alive! Misery's alive. Oh,
it's so romantic--this whole house
is going to be filled with romance.
I'm going to put on my Liberace
(Stops, looks at Paul)
--you do like Liberace, don't you?
Whenever he played Radio City, who
do you think was right there in the
I'm going to play my records all day
--to inspire you--he's my all-time
And with that, she starts to leave.
She stops at the door.
Would you have dinner with me tonight?
She can't speak.
To celebrate Misery's return. I
couldn't have done it without you.
Oh, Paul. It would be an honor.
ANNIE dashes excitedly out of the room. PAUL wheels over to
the bed, pulls the packet of Novril powder out from the
mattress and stuffs it in his pants. The sound of Liberace
playing "Tammy" with orchestra and chorus booms in from beyond
BUSTER'S OFFICE. DUSK.
VIRGINIA is on the phone.
No, he's not here. I don't know where
he went. He never tells me anything
anymore. He's probably out having an
affair somewhere. Wait a minute. I
think I hear him coming.
BUSTER enters carrying a bagful of books.
It's Jim Taylor. He wants to know
who you've been having an affair
BUSTER. He puts the bag down, shoots Virginia a look and
grabs the phone. VIRGINIA looks in the bag.
Hey, Jim, what's doing? Uh-huh... uh-
huh... Jim, we've been over this. If
you're gonna have benches in front
of your store, people are gonna sit
on them. I don't like him either,
but I'm not going to come over there
and tell him to move. Give my best
to Denise. Bye.
(looking through the
books; all paperback
Well, whoever she is, she sure likes
to read a lot.
Virginia, I'm flattered you think I
got that much energy. I just figured
if I can't find Paul Sheldon, at
least I can find out what he wrote
What do you expect to find? A story
about a guy who drove his car off a
cliff in a snowstorm?
Now, you see, it's that kind of
sarcasm that's given our marriage
PAUL is sitting at a table that Annie has set up with her
best china and silverware. It is as romantic as Annie Wilkes
gets. ANNIE enters, carrying a basket of rolls. She sits and
I hope you like it.
It looks wonderful. And so do you.
They eat in awkward silence. Finally:
I've never had meatloaf this good,
what do you do to it?
My secret is I only use fresh
tomatoes, never canned. And to give
it that little extra zip, I mix in
some Spam with the ground beef.
You can't get this in a restaurant
in New York.
After another pause:
Annie, I think we should have a toast.
Yes, to Misery. Let me pour you some
Paul pours more of the Gallo wine, then raises his glass.
Wait, let's do this right. Do you
have any candles?
Oh, I don't know. I think so. I'll
She exits into the kitchen. PAUL quickly pulls the packet
filled with Novril powder from his pants. He empties it into
her glass of wine, stuffs the empty packet back into his
pants, talking the whole time:
Did you study decorating, or do you
just have a flair?
Oh, you. I just picked things up
over the years.
Well, it certainly says you.
You really think so?
Absolutely. Listen, if you can't
find any, it's okay. I just thought
it might be nice.
ANNIE re-enters with a candle.
Are you kidding? If anyone ever told
me that one day I'd be having a
candlelit dinner with Paul Sheldon
in my own house, I woulda checked
both legs to see which one was being
pulled. Will this do?
She places the candle on the table. With a slight tremor in
her hand, she lights the candle. PAUL raises his glass.
To Misery and Annie Wilkes, who
brought her back to life.
ANNIE raises her glass.
Oh, Paul, every time I think about
it, I get goosebumps.
They clink glasses.
And with that, her emotions having gotten the best of her,
she knocks over the candle. In trying to right the situation,
she places her glass back down, and as she reaches for the
candle, she knocks over her glass, spilling the wine.
(wiping up the spilled
wine with her napkin)
Oh, God, what have I done? I'm so
sorry, Paul. I ruined your beautiful
toast. Will you ever forgive me?
Here, let me pour another one.
Can we pretend this never happened?
So they drink their wine.
OUTSIDE THE FARMHOUSE. DAY.
The snow, although still present, has melted somewhat. And
starting now and continuing throughout is this: the sound of
PAUL, working at his typewriter.
THE MANUSCRIPT. Growing.
ANNIE'S BEDROOM. DUSK.
ANNIE, in her room. Reading and loving it.
BUSTER'S DEN. NIGHT.
BUSTER sitting in his den reading a Misery novel by the fire.
VIRGINIA brings him a cup of tea.
PAUL'S ROOM. DAY.
PAUL, the sling off, moving his injured arm. It's more mobile
than before. Testing his strength, he uses his arm to remove
the page and place it on the pile. He puts in another page
and continues to type.
ANNIE, entering Paul's room, carrying a chapter. Handing him
a cup of tea.
Paul, this is positively the best
Misery you've ever written.
I think you're right.
THE PILE OF PAPER. Bigger.
OUTSIDE THE BARN
ANNIE, out by the barn. She stares in at the house. Framed
in the window is PAUL, working. She smiles, enters the barn.
PAUL'S ROOM. NIGHT.
He stretches but only briefly, then back to his typing.
ANNIE, cooking happily away, reading a chapter.
PAUL, arm out of the sling. He manages to lift the typewriter
once, sets it back down, puts the sling back on.
PAUL'S ROOM. LATER.
ANNIE, bringing a tray of food.
I think it's so wonderful that Misery
would sacrifice her title to take up
the cause of her people. That's true
Paul hands her some new pages. As she exits,
BUSTER, in his office reading. He is alone.
ANNIE'S LIVING ROOM. NIGHT.
Annie is reading by the fire. Her pig Misery sits beside
her, staring at the pages.
PAUL'S ROOM. DAY.
His fingers just fly, faster than he's ever typed and
PAUL'S ROOM. NIGHT.
Paul, staring and
THE PILE, growing, growing and
PAUL, ripping open a new ream of paper...
PAUL'S ROOM. DUSK.
His lips move silently. He's not even aware of it as he nods
THE PAPER IN THE TYPEWRITER, line after line being written.
Paul's face at DAY, NIGHT, and DUSK in rapid succession,
ANNIE'S FARMHOUSE. NIGHT.
Lightning! Giant deep rolls of THUNDER as RAIN begins...
TYPEWRITER being lifted out of frame, then back in, then out
PAUL'S ROOM. NIGHT.
The pile of manuscript has doubled. Maybe two hundred pages.
PAUL, with some effort, is pumping the typewriter up and
down. Finally, he places it back down and puts his arm back
in the sling.
PAUL, looking outside breifly.
THE RAIN. Worse. The SOUND hit s the roof of the house, hits
ANNIE, lumbering in--she's never looked like this: She's
wearing her slippers and her pink quilted housecoat. Her
eyes are without life. Her hair, loose and straggly, hangs
around her face. Slowly, like a robot, she goes to PAUL,
who looks silently up at her.
Here's your pills.
She drops them on the table.
PAUL, as the pills hit his chest and bounce into his lap.
Annie, what is it?
(half turns away,
turns back, gestures
The rain... sometimes it gives me
ANNIE: CLOSE UP. And suddenly it's as if she's been turned
off, gone lifeless.
PAUL, staring at her. No sound but the rain.
ANNIE, seen straight on. No light in her eyes.
When you first came here, I only
loved the writer part of Paul Sheldon.
But now I know I love the rest of
him too. As much as Misery loves
I know you don't love me--don't say
you do--you're a beautiful, brilliant,
famous man of the world; and I'm...not
a movie star type. You'll never know
the fear of losing someone like you
if you're someone like me.
Why would you lose me?
The book is almost finished. Your
legs are getting better. Soon you'll
be able to walk. You'll be wanting
Why would I want to leave? I like it
That's very kind of you, but I'll
bet it's not altogether true.
She slowly reaches into the pocket of her bathrobe and pulls
out a .38 Special.
I have this gun, and sometimes I
think about using it.
She is absentmindedly clicking the empty gun.
I better go now. I might put bullets
Robot-like, she crosses to the door and leaves. As she closes
and locks the door--
PAUL, stunned, listening, waiting--
--here is the sound of the front door closing--
--then footsteps on the outside walk--
--the sound of a car door opening and slamming shut.
Now comes the GUNNING of the motor.
THE WINDOW as ANNIE drives by, hunched over the wheel. The
MOTOR sound grows fainter, faint...
BUSTER AND VIRGINIA'S BEDROOM. NIGHT.
BUSTER AND VIRGINIA are lying in bed. Buster is reading yet
another Misery novel, Misery's Trial. Virginia is also
"There is a justice higher than that
of man. I will be judged by Him."
They're hauling Misery into court.
(mutters under his
"There is a justice higher than that
of man--I will be judged by Him."
The kitchen KNIVES on the counter.
PAUL, now using both arms, forcing his body up toward them.
This isn't easy, it was a bitch the first time he tried it,
but nothing's going to stop him now. He's leaning against
the cupboard, using it for balance--
--his balance starts to go but he won't let it as we
THE KNIVES, AS HIS HAND grabs the largest one, a fat-handled
sharp beauty and
PAUL, and you can sense the relief as he begins to lower
himself to the floor.
PAUL, back in his wheelchair, knife in his lap, carefully
opening drawers of little tables, looking inside. He closes
them, moves on, unmindful of the rain. Now--
THE SHELF OF PAUL SHELDON BOOKS. As before--
--except the "My Life" scrapbook is gone.
PAUL, glancing around--
--and there it is, on a coffee table in the living room.
Also on the table are a roll of Scotch tape, a pair of
scissors, and a copy of Newsweek. Paul wheels toward the
table and the book, which is as big as a folio Shakespeare
play and as thick as a family Bible.
THE LIVING ROOM
PAUL, opening the book.
THE FIRST PAGE OF THE BOOK, as Paul opens it. It's a newspaper
clipping as is almost all of what follows. A small article:
simply a birth announcement for Anne Marie Wilkes.
PAUL turns the page. This headline reads: "Investment Banker
Carl Wilkes Dies in Freak Fall."
"USC Nursing Student Dies in Freak Fall." That's the headline
on the next page.
Now: "Miss Wilkes is Nursing School Honors Graduate."
Paul turns the page.
Manchester, New Hampshire, Union Leader: "Ernest Gonyar, 79,
Dies After Long Illness."
Now that phrase seems to be what catches our eye--"after
long illness" is from the next article. "Long illness" from
the one after that. Then, on the next page, a variation:
Now we're in Pennsylvania: "New Hospital Staff Announced."
And here come those phrases again on page after page--"After
Long Illness." "After Long Illness."
"After Long Illness."
PAUL, transfixed; he keeps on turning the pages--the states
keep changing, moving west. Pennsylvania to Minnesota,
Minnesota to North Dakota. And always the clippings reporting
deaths and deaths and--
--and now we're in Colorado. "NEW HEAD MATERNITY NURSE NAMED."
And now the dead are young and helpless; babies. More and
more of them.
Then a headline which reads:
"HEAD MATERNITY NURSE QUESTIONED ON INFANT DEATHS"
Next page: "MISS WILKES RELEASED."
Next page: "THREE MORE INFANTS DIE."
Next page, at last: "DRAGON LADY ARRESTED."
Then a photo: the front page of the Rocky Mountain Gazette.
Annie on the courthouse steps. "DRAGON LADY CLAIMS INNOCENCE,"
under which there is a statement by Annie Wilkes.
Paul turns quickly to the next page and a very large headline:
"DRAGON LADY FOUND NOT GUILTY"
PAUL just sits there, shaking his head in bewilderment.
THE BOOK, as Paul turns the LAST page.
PAUL, stunned and now we find out why, as we
THE PAGE IN THE BOOK. It's an article from Newsweek magazine,
a picture of Paul's car being hauled up out of the snow.
Above it this caption: "Presumed Dead--Paul Sheldon."
PAUL. Slamming the book shut, putting it back on the coffee
table, then quickly turning his wheelchair as we
PAUL, steering his wheelchair toward the front door. He tries
to position himself for a surprise attack of ANNIE, but he
can't find a way to get close enough. The wheelchair is too
cumbersome. He looks around and decides to head back to his
room. He is faced with the same problem there--so he struggles
into bed and, lying on his back, he rests the knife on his
chest and stares up at the ceiling.
PAUL'S WINDOW, hours later. The rain has stopped.
PAUL--trying to stay awake. After a few beats, he hears
something. It's the sound of a CAR PULLING UP.
HEADLIGHTS can be seen flashing through the window. PAUL
grips the knife and hides it under the covers. The sound of
a CAR DOOR OPENING AND CLOSING, then FOOTSTEPS.
As the FRONT DOOR OPENS, PAUL girds himself for attack. THE
FRONT DOOR CLOSES, then a couple of FOOTSTEPS. Then silence.
Then the FOOTSTEPS continue down the hall and up the stairs.
After a beat, we hear the TELEVISION. Someone is explaining
how you can buy millions of dollars of prime real estate
with no money down.
PAUL, allowing himself to relax, slips the knife under the
mattress. As the TV DRONES ON, Paul lies staring up at the
OUTSIDE THE FARMHOUSE. NIGHT.
We hear a clap of THUNDER and once again the rain pours down.
CLOSE UP: PAUL--eyes closed. There is another loud THUNDERCLAP
which causes Paul to stir and open his eyes.
He turns his head and another CLAP OF THUNDER is heard,
LIGHTNING flashes and reveals ANNIE standing over his bed.
Before he can react, she jabs a needle into his arm, pulls
it out and starts out of the room.
PAUL tries to raise himself, but the power of the drug causes
him to collapse, unconscious.
THE ROOM. EARLY MORNING.
It's stopped raining, PAUL lies asleep. Now, surprisingly,
we hear a VOICE we've never heard in the movie before--loud--
for an instant we don't recognize the voice, then we do:
It's LIBERACE talking to his audience on a record going,
"Thank you, thank you, what a wonderful thing it is for me
to be back with you in Paris..." PAUL stirs and awakens to
discover that he is strapped to his bed. He can move his
arms, but that's it.
ANNIE, standing in the room, and she looks very together;
her eyes are bright. Too bright. Way too bright.
She comes to the foot of his bed.
PAUL, groggy from being drugged, tries to clear the cobwebs.
(in a soft voice)
Paul, I know you've been out.
You've been out of your room.
No, I haven't.
Paul, my little ceramic penguin in
the study always faces due south.
I don't know what you're talking
PAUL looks up at her--he is totally honest and sincere. As
he talks, his hand surreptitiously begins moving toward the
ANNIE, as she brings the fat-hand led knife out of her skirt
Is this what you're looking for? I
know you've been out twice, Paul. At
first, I couldn't figure out how you
did it, but last night I found your
(She holds up the
I know I left my scrapbook out, and
I can imagine what you might be
thinking of me. But you see, Paul,
it's all okay.
ANNIE, as she walks slowly back to the foot of the bed.
And now a THUMP comes from the foot of the bed. Something is
out of sight.
PAUL, staring at her; waiting.
Last night it came so clear. I realize
you just need more time. Eventually,
you'll come to accept the idea of
being here. Paul, do you know about
the early days at the Kimberly Diamond
Mine? Do you know what they did to
the native workers who stole diamonds?
Don't worry, they didn't kill them.
That would be like junking a Mercedes
just because it had a broken spring--
no, if they caught them they had to
make sure they could go on working,
but they also had to make sure they
could never run away. The operation
was called hobbling.
And with that, she reaches down out of sight and comes up
holding a 16-inch piece of 4 x 4 wood.
Annie, whatever you're thinking about,
don't do it.
ANNIE. She wedges the 4 x 4 firmly between his legs, just
above the ankles, secures it and adjusts his feet.
Now don't fuss, Paul.
Why would I run away? I'm a writer,
Annie--it's all I am--and I've never
written this well--even you said
that this is my best, didn't you?
ANNIE picks up a sledgehammer.
Didn't you? Why would I leave a place
where I'm doing my best work? It
doesn't make any sense.
ANNIE, positioning herself to the side of his right ankle.
Shh, darling, trust me--
(taking aim at his
It's for the best.
She takes the sledgehammer back.
Annie, for God's sake, please.
As ANNIE swings, the sledgehammer makes contact with the
ankle. It breaks with a sharp CRACK.
PAUL: CLOSE UP, shrieking.
ANNIE, moving to the other side of the bed.
Almost done, just one more.
And as she breaks the other ankle, PAUL shrieks even louder.
ANNIE: CLOSE UP.
God, I love you...
PAUL'S FACE. He is beyond agony.
FADE TO BLACK:
For a long moment, nothing.
Then... a FAINT SOUND. After a moment, it begins to become
more intrusive and we can tell what it is: a car horn HONKING.
FADE IN ON:
SILVER CREEK and ANNIE in her Cherokee, HONKING for another
car to get a move on.
A HAND AND A COIN MOVING ACROSS IT, from finger to finger.
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
BUSTER, sitting by the front window of his office, reading
The Rocky Mountain Gazette.
He watches idly as ANNIE yells out the window to the car in
front of her. THE DRIVER of the car yells back. Annie yells
louder. The Driver guns off, and Annie pulls into the parking
space next to the General Store.
ANNIE, getting out, shaking a fist at the other car, calling
out, "You poop!" She enters the store.
BUSTER, staring straight ahead. Something is gnawing at him.
VIRGINIA, in his office, tidying the desk. BUSTER enters,
Just leave it, all right?
Oh, I like that tone.
How many times do I have to tell you--
I have a system here.
(rooting through a
pile of papers)
Where the hell is that thing?
(finding what he's
looking for, a 3 x 5
Here it is. Right where it's supposed
What is it?
I'm not sure. Maybe nothing.
It's good you found it.
There's that spice again.
As BUSTER leaves, VIRGINIA goes back to tidying the desk.
A LARGE LIBRARY as Buster leaves his car, hurries inside and
BUSTER, wearing bifocals, sits poring over bound volumes of
The Rocky Mountain Gazette.
BUSTER, frustrated, puts one set of volumes down, picks up
another, starts through it, as we
THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN GAZETTE, as the pages turn.
--only now they stop moving.
BUSTER, tense, adjusting his bifocals.
A SERIES OF HEADLINES pertaining to Annie Wilkes' murder
A HEADLINE which reads, "DRAGON LADY CLAIMS INNOCENCE."
Under a PICTURE OF ANNIE on the courthouse steps, we see a
CAPTION: "Wilkes told reporters on the courthouse steps,
'There is a higher justice than that of man; I will be judged
BUSTER. He takes the 3 x 5 card out of his pocket.
The CARD--on it is printed the exact quote we just saw in
BUSTER, sitting there, staring at the quote.
HOLD ON HIS FACE, then--
ANNIE, carrying a bag of feed, followed by MISERY, the sow,
comes into view. She slows, smiles, waves--
PAUL, staring out at her.
Give us a smile?
(Paul gives her the
finger. She laughs)
Such a kidder.
As she exits our view--
PAUL, lifting the typewriter and repeatedly raising it over
his head, this time without any difficulty.
THE GENERAL STORE IN SILVER CREEK. EARLY AFTERNOON.
BUSTER enters. The place is empty. It's one of those wonderful
spots that stocks pretty much everything in what seems like
complete disarray. Buster goes to the coffee urn behind the
counter, helps himself. He speaks to the guy who sits behind
the counter nearby; these two have known each other forever.
Answer me a couple things?
If I can.
Do you have any of those new Paul
We had a batch. Sold 'em all in three
You wouldn't happen to remember if
Miz Wilkes bought one, would you?
Are you kidding? Every time that
fella writes a book, she makes me
set aside the first copy.
BUSTER opens the cash register, drops his coffee money inside,
closes the register.
Has she been buying any odd things
Miz Wilkes? Same old stuff.
--Lest you call paper odd.
No, the typing kind.
BUSTER: CLOSE UP
Oh. That kind. Nothing odd about
He cannot hide his excitement now as we--
ANNIE, entering Paul's room. He lies back in the wheelchair,
eyes closed. Liberace music playing in the background. From
the start, PAUL'S TONE is different--strong, he's in control.
Paul, don't you think it's time for
you to start writing again? It's
been over a week.
I don't know, it's weird, but a couple
of broken bones hasn't done a lot
for my creative juices. Get the fuck
out of here.
Don't talk to me like that.
(staring at her now)
Why, what are you going to do?
(spreading his arms
Kill me? Take your best shot.
Why are you so mean, Mister you'd-be-
Oh, no reason, you keep me prisoner,
you make me burn my book, you drive
a sledgehammer into my ankles...
I'll drive a sledgehammer into your
man-gland if you're not nicer--
(He spreads his legs)
Be my guest.
(after a beat)
As she exits.
A ROAD. Empty. Hold for a moment--now a car appears around a
THE CAR. BUSTER is driving fast.
PAUL in his room. He sits as before, by the window. He doesn't
move. Now he closes his eyes, stretches, sighs as we
ANNIE, busily making cocoa.
BUSTER IN HIS CAR. He stops at a mailbox. The name on the
box is WILKES. Buster turns his car slowly into the driveway
by the mailbox.
PAUL. He yawns, opens his eyes briefly. Closes them. In the
distance now, growing more and more visible is Buster's car--
--and now PAUL'S EYES go open wide, and he's staring out the
window at the car as it keeps on coming, closer, closer and
BUSTER, looking around. He's driving very slowly, carefully.
PAUL. Fixating on the window and now it's all going to be
all right, everything's going to be all right--
--and then ANNIE is on him, hypodermic needle in hand, jabbing
it into his arm. He desperately tries to fight her off, but
the drug starts to take hold. He tries to grab her by the
neck, but she fights him off as she wheels him out of the
room, down the hall and towards the cellar door.
I don't think I'll ever understand
you. I cook your meals, I tend to
you practically twenty-four hours a
day, and you continue to fight me.
When are we going to develop a sense
ANNIE opens the cellar door. PAUL is all but limp by now. As
she picks him up and starts to carry him down the steps--
BUSTER pulling up in front of the house. As he gets out of
ANNIE placing Paul on the cellar floor and heading up the
stairs. PAUL is out.
BUSTER heading up the steps to the front door.
ANNIE stashing the wheelchair in the hall closet. She crosses
to the front door, opens it, revealing BUSTER.
Sorry, didn't mean to startle you.
You didn't give me a chance to knock.
Guess you can tell from my reaction,
I'm not all that used to visitors
out here. What can I do for you?
I was just wondering if you happen
to know anything about Paul Sheldon.
What do you want to know?
Anything you can tell me might help.
ANNIE. The words pour out--
Well, he was born in Worcester,
Massachusetts, forty-two years ago,
the only child of Franklin and Helene
Sheldon, mediocre student, majored
BUSTER, watching her, surprised.
Excuse me, that's not exactly the
kind of information I was after. You
see, he's been missing for quite
some time now, and...
I know. It's so upsetting. I'm his
number-one fan...I've got all his
books, every sentence he ever put
down. I'm so proud of my Paul Sheldon
(stops suddenly, almost
...here I am, prattling on and my
manners have just flown away. I
haven't invited you in. Please.
ANNIE lets BUSTER in, closes the door. They linger in front
of Paul's door. Buster idly checks out the hallway.
'Course you must know about that
BUSTER nods and wanders into the living room. ANNIE follows.
He crosses into the study and checks out a bookcase that
contains the complete works of Paul Sheldon. One shelf below
contains Annie's infamous scrapbook.
Almost killed me, too. I prayed when
I heard the news. I got down on my
knees and begged for it not to be
ANNIE. She's so moved. Buster wanders into the kitchen.
You're going to laugh at what I'm
about to say, but go ahead, I don't
...when I was praying, God told me
to get ready.
BUSTER, watching her. This isn't at all what he expected.
Get ready for what?
PAUL, trying to fight the drug; just his eyes flutter.
ANNIE and BUSTER heading back down the hallway toward Paul's
To try and be his replacement--he
gave so much pleasure to so many
people and there's a shortage of
pleasure on this planet these days,
in case you hadn't noticed.
BUSTER enters Paul's room. ANNIE follows.
God told me, since I was his number-
one fan, that I should make up new
stories as if I was Paul Sheldon.
So, went to town. And I bought a
typewriter. And paper to type on.
The same kind Paul Sheldon used. And
I turned the guest bedroom into a
writing studio. Would you like to
It's right this way.
BUSTER takes a look in the bathroom. ANNIE waits for him.
It's right here. I knew how he wrote,
the kinds of words he used, the
wonderful stories he told--
--I've spent the last four weeks
trying to write like Paul Sheldon.
(sad shake of the
But I can't do it right. I try and I
try and I know all the words--
(eyes closed in despair)
--but it's just not the same.
BUSTER. He just stands there, watches her.
...maybe it takes time to get the
hang of it.
(holding up pages
from the manuscript)
I could give you a couple of hundred
pages of mine, and you could tell me
what you think.
I'm not much of a critic.
Well, I just thought--oh, look at
me. You'd think I'd never had a house
guest before. Would you like something
How does a nice cup of cocoa sound?
As she exits into the kitchen.
There's some already made.
BUSTER lingers in Paul's room for a beat, then goes into the
Must get lonely, living out here all
I always say if you can't enjoy your
own company, you're not fit company
for anyone else.
You got a point there...
As Buster moves up the stairs--
PAUL, still fighting the drug. His arm twitches almost
involuntarily, grazing the barbecue.
BUSTER opening the door to Annie's room. He looks around and
just as he is about to turn to leave--
ANNIE, standing right in front of him.
Here you are.
BUSTER heads down the stairs, ANNIE follows.
Thanks, Miz Wilkes, but I don't want
to take up any more of your time. I
best be going.
But you didn't even taste your cocoa.
They cross to the front door.
I'm sure it's wonderful, but really
should be getting back.
BUSTER opens the door.
BUSTER and ANNIE at the door.
If you don't mind, perhaps I could
pay you another visit sometime.
I'd be delighted. Now that you know
With that, she closes the door. We stay with BUSTER. He stands
on the front porch for a beat, thinking, then starts heading
down the porch steps. Just as he reaches about halfway down,
we HEAR A LOUD CRASH coming from inside the house.
PAUL--he has managed to partially fight his way through the
drug, and in waking has accidentally knocked over the
barbecue. He fights to clear the cobwebs.
Miz Wilkes, are you all right?
There is no answer. He quietly moves into the house.
Again, no answer.
PAUL, still fighting to gain complete consciousness.
Here. I'm down here. Down here.
BUSTER. Hearing Paul's muffled call for help, he tracks the
sound to the cellar door. As PAUL continues to call out,
Buster looks around, sees no one, and opens the cellar door.
The shaft of light from the open door pours down on Paul,
who is still lying on the floor.
But before Paul can answer, there's the sound of a LOUD
EXPLOSION. Seemingly from nowhere a hole is ripped through
Buster's chest, knocking him out of frame, revealing Annie,
smoking shotgun in hand, standing at the top of the cellar
Don't feel bad, Paul. It had to
happen. I've been waiting for this
ANNIE walks toward BUSTER'S BODY and very casually takes his
gun out of its holster.
I've known for some time why I was
chosen to save you. You and I were
meant to be together forever. But
now our time in this world must end.
But don't worry, Paul. I've already
prepared for what must be done. I
put two bullets in my gun, one for
you and one for me. Oh, darling, it
will be so beautiful.
With that, ANNIE turns and exits the cellar.
Paul's mind races desperately. He looks at the barbecue again.
Next to it is a messy table with a dozen jars and cans on
THE TABLE. One of the cans is LIGHTER FLUID.
PAUL. He stares at it for a moment. An idea hits him--
--now, PAUL struggles and crawls over to the table. He grabs
the lighter fluid in his hands, jams it into the rear of his
pants and scrambles back to where ANNIE left him.
ANNIE returning with her .38 Special and a hypodermic needle.
She stops at the top of the stairs.
Now don't be afraid. I love you.
She starts toward him.
I know you do. I love you too, Annie.
(this stops her)
And you're right. We are meant to be
together. And I know we must die.
But it must be so that Misery can
live. We have the power to give Misery
eternal life. We must finish the
But the time is now. Soon others
It's almost done. By dawn we'll be
able to give Misery back to the world.
ANNIE stares at Paul. She could go either way on this. Then,
without a word, she turns and goes back up the stairs.
Here, Paul. I'll fix you something
She exits. PAUL hesitates for a moment, then realizes he has
no choice. He starts dragging himself over BUSTER and up the
PAUL'S ROOM. NIGHT.
PAUL working. Typing like a madman, totally concentrated on
the white paper. His lips move but he's not even aware of
ANNIE enters quietly, holding a few pages.
Oh, Paul. It's beautiful.
Three more chapters to go.
She looks at him now, enthralled.
The stranger staying at the Inn, is
he someone from Misery's past?
This is so exciting. It's Windthorne,
her first love, right?
Maybe. Are you ready for the next
He taunts her with it.
She takes the pages and goes.
PAUL'S ROOM. LATER.
PAUL types a moment then rips out the page and starts over.
ANNIE, putting the coffee down for him, putting the pages
back on the main pile.
(more excited now
than the last time)
It WAS Windthorne. I knew it--what
does that do to her love for Ian?--
--of course, if she hadn't thought
Windthorne was murdered she never
would have fallen in love with Ian
in the first place.
(Paul glares at her,
she turns to the
Sorry, it's just that this is so
I'm glad you like it.
Paul, this will be our legacy.
He hands her a few more pages, she starts reading as she
PAUL'S ROOM. MUCH LATER.
PAUL rubs his eyes. For a moment, he sags, but he fights it.
He puts a clean page into the typewriter.
ANNIE bursts in.
Oh, Paul. I'm dying. Does she wind
up with Ian or Windthorne? You have
to tell me.
You'll know very soon. I'm starting
the last chapter. And when I finish,
I want everything to be perfect.
I'll require three things.
You don't know?
I was fooling, silly.
(ticking them off)
You need a cigarette, because you
used to smoke but you quit except
when you finish a book, and you just
have one, and the match is to light
it. And you need one glass of
Dome Pear-igg-non it is.
AS ANNIE exits.
The first light of morning is starting to break through.
PAUL, stretching. He makes sure everything is set.
With that, she enters.
I'm almost done.
Oh, Paul, this is so romantic. Ian
and Windthorne dueling for the right
to Misery's hand. Does Ian win? Oh,
don't me. It's Windthorne, right?
You'll know everything in a minute.
Get the champagne.
(dying from the
She exits; PAUL adjusts the manuscript on the table and then
types the last line.
ANNIE IN THE KITCHEN. She takes the bottle of Dom Perignon
out of the icebox, places it on a tray with two glasses--
opens a drawer--takes out the gun--places it in her pocket--
then takes out the hypodermic needle and places it on the
ANNIE enters with the tray. She sets it down on the table.
Did I do good?
You did perfect. Except for one thing.
This time we need two glasses.
He takes the last page out of the typewriter.
As soon as she exits, PAUL drops the manuscript to the floor,
pulls the lighter fluid from his pants, and starts dousing
the manuscript with lighter fluid. He grabs the last chapter
and twists the last few pages together torch style. He douses
it with the fluid and holds the match out of sight.
He smiles as we
ANNIE entering with the second glass...
It's all right here, Annie. Remember
how for all those years no one ever
knew who Misery's real father was,
or if they'd ever be reunited? It's
all right here. Will Misery finally
lead her countrymen to freedom? Does
she finally marry Ian or will it be
Windthorne? It's all right here.
THE MATCH, as he strikes it and
Paul, you can't.
And as her hands fly out beseechingly--
THE CHAMPAGNE BOTTLE--it falls to the floor, explodes like a
torpedo, shards of glass all over, curds of foam everywhere--
Why not? I learned it from you...
And on that--
THE LAST CHAPTER as Paul brings the match close to it and it
bursts into flame. And Paul, holding it like the torch it
is. Annie starts moving forward now.
No, no, NOT MISERY--NOT MY MISERY...!
He drops the last chapter into the soaked manuscript and
THE MANUSCRIPT, as KABOOM!, it bursts into flame and--
ANNIE, transfixed by the sight for a moment,
--and then she charges.
THE FIRE as ANNIE rushes to the book, stoops down, grabs it
with both hands, brings the burning mass up to her body,
both arms across it, trying to smother the flames--
PAUL, grabbing the typewriter, raising it high above his
head, then throwing it down on her with all his power and
THE TYPEWRITER, crashing into the back of her head.
ANNIE, screaming, driven to the floor by the blow, the book
beneath her, and the flames fly up, her sweater is starting
to burn and she's covered with shards of glass from the
shattered bottle of champagne and some of the manuscript is
hissing from the liquid, but she is able to struggle to her
I'm going to kill you, you lying
As she struggles to her feet, she pulls out the gun and shoots
at Paul, hitting him in the shoulder. Just as she's about to
shoot again, Paul quickly wheels the chair up to her, throws
himself out of the chair, and tackles her. The gun flies out
of her hand and lands in the hallway, going off as it lands.
They wrestle on the floor.
Flames still around them, PAUL gets on top of her, grabs
some burning pages, stuffs them into her mouth, shouting --
Here. Here. You want it? You want
it? You can eat it--eat it--eat it
till you fucking CHOKE--you sick,
And as he forces more paper into her mouth--
ANNIE, and she's hideous--blistered, her hands claw at her
throat. She makes horrible sounds, spitting the charred chunks
of manuscript out of her mouth. Shards of glass are in her
hair. Now a shriek and a tremendous jerk of her body and
PAUL, falling away --
ANNIE, still making the sounds as she gets to her feet, and
PAUL, trying to crawl away after her.
ANNIE--heading for the door, she takes a step away from Paul,
then another, then
PAUL, suddenly kicking out with his shattered leg, screaming
in pain as it crashes into her ankle and
ANNIE, trying to keep her balance, not doing well, her arms
windmilling as she fights for balance one last moment, fights
and loses, and now, as she topples over--
THE TYPEWRITER as she falls and her head slams into it,
collides with the sharp metal and a great wound opens in her
head. There is one final cry. Blood pours. It's over. All
over. We are looking at a dead body.
PAUL, exhausted, panting, lying there, trying to gather his
energy. He starts to crawl for the door. Just as he reaches
the doorjamb, an arm grabs his leg, and
PAUL, shrieking, and
ANNIE, pulling herself up his body and
PAUL, trying to buck her off, but he can't and
ANNIE, the stronger, relentless, moving up on him, and
PAUL, his grip broken as he turns and
ANNIE, all-powerful, looming over him and
PAUL, hitting up at her and
ANNIE, swelling, and the blood pours down and if she feels
his blows she doesn't show it and
PAUL, whatever energy he has left he uses now, trying to
twist and strike and as his body moves--
METAL BASED FLOOR LAMP and
PAUL, grabbing the thing, suddenly bringing it across his
body, clobbering Annie in the face and
ANNIE, startled by the power of the blow and for a moment
she is stopped and
PAUL, as with everything he has left, he crunches her forehead
with the sharp heavy metal base, just creams her as the air
is forced out of her--
ANNIE. Her eyes roll up into her head. For a moment all we
see are the whites--
--then she collapses on PAUL, a motionless mountain of slack
PAUL, scrambling free, pushing her off him, crawling for the
--outside the door, as PAUL crawls into view, makes it to
the corridor, reaches back, closes the door, locks it.
Safe, he collapses, exhausted against the wall opposite the
PAUL. HOURS LATER. It is dawn. He is awakened by a loud
smashing at the front door. After a couple of heart-stopping
THE FRONT DOOR smashes open, revealing two cops with guns
THE POLICEMEN, hurrying to PAUL. The YOUNGER COP kneels beside
It's the writer--the dead one--
(trying to keep himself
--right! I'm the dead one--
Where's Sheriff McCain?
He's in the cellar. She killed him.
Yeah. She's in there.
The OLDER COP, taking the key to the room, unlocks the door,
throws it open, and as he steps inside--
INSIDE THE BEDROOM
The OLDER COP has his gun ready to fire, but even with it
tight in his hand, he's edgy as hell.
He looks around--
--glass and bloodstains on the floor. The charred remains of
He kneels quickly, glances under the bed--nothing.
He looks at the window--wide open.
PAUL and the YOUNGER COP. Pause. The OLDER COP is in the
Mr. Sheldon? There's no one in there.
PAUL: CLOSE UP. In shock.
PALM COURT, PLAZA HOTEL
This legend appears: ONE YEAR LATER
MARCIA SINDELL is seated at a table. PAUL enters, walking
briskly, and he's never looked this good before. He's gained
his weight back, his color is normal again. He appears to
be, for the first time in the movie, a jaunty, happy figure.
Sorry I'm late. Jenny's basketball
game went into overtime. If anybody
ever told me I'd have a daughter
who'd get a triple double, I'd...
Did they win?
Yeah. They're in the semis.
Here it is.
Very first copy.
And she hands him a wrapped package. PAUL sits, begins
unwrapping it. It's a book. A new one by Paul Sheldon. The
Higher Education of J. Phillip Stone. Paul turns it over
gently in his hands.
The word I'm getting is the Times
review is gonna be a love letter.
That'd be a first.
And my contacts at Time and Newsweek
tell me they're both raves. And don't
laugh--for the first time, I think
you've got a shot at some prizes.
I thought you'd be thrilled. You're
being taken seriously.
I'm delighted the critics are liking
it, and I hope the people like it,
too. But it's not why I wrote the
PAUL: CLOSE UP. There is a genuine sense of peace about him.
He has been through the fire and survived.
I like it. Remember how you once
said I live my whole life as if I'm
in danger of being found out? Well,
I believe I've managed to get that
guy down on paper.
(He touches the book.
Don't think I'm completely nuts, but
in some way, Annie Wilkes, that whole
experience, helped me.
Paul, since you brought her up, I
have to ask you this, or I'd be
drummed out of the agents' union--
what about a non-fiction book? The
truth about what went on in that
Gee, Marcia, if I didn't know you
better, I'd think you were suggesting
I dredge up the worst horror of my
life just so we could make a few
Now you've hurt me, Paul.
As Paul glances around...
PAUL, looking past MARCIA.
DESSERT TROLLEY, some distance away, being pushed by a
waitress. It is ANNIE.
PAUL AND SINDELL
I thought you were over it.
I am. Well, maybe not completely--
He glances toward the trolley.
THE DESSERT TROLLEY, moving inexorably closer to PAUL. ANNIE
reaches down and pulls out a very sharp knife.
PAUL AND SINDELL
I don't know if you can ever be
totally over something like that--I
just don't think about it as much
anymore, and when I do, it's not so
ANNIE, with the knife raised.
PAUL, staring up at ANNIE.
I mean, once they found her body, my
PAUL AND ANNIE--only it isn't Annie, just a WAITRESS. She
stands by the trolley, the knife in her hand, ready to slice
whatever anyone wants.
Would you care for anything?
Cut me something sinful...
PAUL. The smile holds. In the background now, soft music:
someone might be playing "Liberace."
HOLD ON PAUL
FINAL FADE OUT: