Kathy Bates admits she’s ‘grateful for every moment’
Misery, the Stephen King horror flick, airs tonight at 11.25pm on Film4. It stars the likes of Hollywood heavyweights Kathy Bates and James Caan, and follows the tale of a successful novelist, Paul Sheldon, who is injured in a car accident but helped by ex-nurse Annie Wilkes. Wilkes is a huge fan of Sheldon’s, but their encounter takes a sinister turn when the writer allows her to proofread his latest book.
The 1990 film was a huge success for Bates, and it secured her an Oscar for Best Actress.
King himself was so impressed with Misery that he claimed it was in his top ten favourite film adaptations of his books.
Reflecting on the film and book in his 2000 memoir On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, King said: “In the early Eighties, my wife and I went to London on a combined business/pleasure trip.
“I fell asleep on the plane and had a dream about a popular writer (it may or may not have been me, but it sure to God wasn’t James Caan)…”
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Kathy Bates and James Caan in Misery
While the psychological thriller clearly had a major impact on Bates’ career, the 74-year-old once described her frustration with the industry and how she was concerned she would not get a shot at being a star due to her looks.
Despite gaining a first minor role in 1971’s comedy Taking Off, Bates struggled to secure more acting roles, and spoke about the missed chances with the New York Times.
In 1991, she admitted that one casting agent even told her that because of her looks, she would not cut it in the world of Hollywood.
Bates said: “I’m not a stunning woman. I never was an ingenue; I’ve always just been a character actor.
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“When I was younger it was a real problem, because I was never pretty enough for the roles that other young women were being cast in.
“The roles I was lucky enough to get were real stretches for me: usually a character who was older, or a little weird, or whatever.
“And it was hard, not just for the lack of work but because you have to face up to how people are looking at you. And you think, ‘Well, y’know, I’m a real person.'”
However, Bates would soon become one of Hollywood’s most in-demand stars, and since her inaugural Oscar win, has gone on to secure a further three nominations.
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Kathy Bates and James Caan
Among these came in 2002, when she received her third nomination, and a second in the Best Support Actress category, for her performance opposite Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt.
A scene in the film featured Bates becoming completely naked before entering a hot tub, and became a source of shock and inspiration for the public.
America’s National Public Radio described the moment as “the scene everyone is talking about”.
Speaking to Hello! after its release, Bates herself waded in on the shock it caused.
Filming locations in UK
She said: “People either laugh or cheer… I was at the premiere and there were a lot of women who were shouting, ‘You go, girl!’
“I think there are a lot of women in the audience who are thrilled to see a real woman up on the screen in all her glory.”
As well as her battles with sexism in the industry, Bates has also fought a series of health issues, including an ovarian cancer diagnosis in 2003.
Some nine years later, she revealed on Twitter that she had undergone a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer the same year.
As a result, Bates added that she had lymphedema in both arms, and shortly became a chairperson for the Lymphatic Education & Research Network’s (LE&RN) honorary board.
Misery airs tonight from 11.25pm on Film4.
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