Misery script
Misery (1990)
Synopsis: After a serious car crash, novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is rescued by former nurse Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), who claims to be his biggest fan. Annie brings him to her remote cabin to recover, where her obsession takes a dark turn when she discovers Sheldon is killing off her favorite character from his novels. As Sheldon devises plans for escape, Annie grows increasingly controlling, even violent, as she forces the author to shape his writing to suit her twisted fantasies.

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 themed.

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 --

CUT TO:

THE PAPER, as he rolls it out of the machine, puts it on the

table, prints, in almost childlike letters, these words:

THE END:

CUT TO:

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 pages.

CUT TO:

PAUL, as he holds his book to him. He is, just for a brief moment,

moved.

CUT TO:

A SUITCASE across the room. PAUL goes to it, opens it and pulls

something out from inside: a battered 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 --

CUT TO:

LODGE - DAY

PAUL -- exiting his cabin. He stops, makes a snowball, throws it,

hitting a sign.

PAUL:

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 away.

CUT TO:

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 mountains.

CUT TO:

THE SKY. Gun-metal grey. The clouds seem pregnant with snow.

CUT TO:

PAUL, driving the Mustang, the battered briefcase on the seat

beside him.

CUT TO:

THE ROAD AHEAD. Little dainty flakes of snow are suddenly visible.

CUT TO:

THE CAR, going into a curve and

CUT TO:

PAUL, driving, and as he comes out of the curve, a stunned look

hits his face as we

CUT TO:

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

CUT TO:

THE MUSTANG, slowing, driving deeper into the mountains.

CUT TO:

PAUL, squinting ahead, windshield wipers on now.

CUT TO:

THE MUSTANG, rounding another curve, losing traction --

CUT TO:

PAUL, a skilled driver, bringing the car easily under control.

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William Goldman

William Goldman (born August 12, 1931) is an American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter. He came to prominence in the 1950s as a novelist, before turning to writing for film. He has won two Academy Awards for his screenplays, first for the western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and again for All the President's Men (1976), about journalists who broke the Watergate scandal of President Richard Nixon. Both films starred Robert Redford. more…

All William Goldman scripts | William Goldman Books

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