Kathy Bates Reacts to Lizzy Caplan’s ‘Castle Rock’ Portrayal of Her ‘Misery’ Character

Kathy Bates won an Oscar for playing Annie Wilkes in Misery. Based on the Stephen King novel, Misery was a fan’s dream come true and an author’s worst nightmare. Paul Sheldon (James Caan) has an automobile accident. His number one fan Annie rescues him, but holds him prisoner and forces him to write a sequel. The Hulu original series Castle Rock introduced Annie Wilkes in season 2, played by Lizzy Caplan.

Lizzy Caplan on Castle Rock | Dana Starbard/Hulu

Bates has moved on from Stephen King since the ‘90s. After Misery, she played the title character in Dolores Claiborne and appeared in The Stand miniseries, but hasn’t done Stephen King since. She currently plays Bobi Jewell in the film Richard Jewell and spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet about the legacy of Annie Wilkes as Caplan plays her.

Kathy Bates’ one Stephen King regret

Misery was a whirlwind for Kathy Bates. Even before winning the Oscar it made her a movie star. By comparison, the reaction to her second Stephen King film disappointed her. 

“I wish Dolores had gotten more play but there were bigger fish that year at the studio so they didn’t push it,” Bates said. “I’m sorry because I think it’s a really wonderful film. Taylor Hackford directed it and wonderful cast and imaginative shooting and telling of the story. I’m disappointed that one didn’t get seen.”

Judy Parfitt in bed with Kathy Bates | Castle Rock/Getty Images

Dolores Claiborne (Bates) was estranged from her daughter (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who had to return to town when her mother was suspected of yet another murder. The film reveals in flashback the mysterious circumstances of Mr. Claiborne (David Strathairn)’s death. Fortunately, people are discovering Dolores Claiborne thanks to streaming and social media.

“More lately I think, especially with Twitter and that’s helping it some,” Bates said. 

Kathy Bates celebrated Lizzy Caplan bringing ‘Misery’ back

When season 2 of Castle Rock came out, Kathy Bates couldn’t wait. She’s been watching episodes as soon as they’re released, and she reached out to Caplan.

Lizzy Caplan in Castle Rock
L-R: Lizzy Caplan and Elsie Fisher | Dana Starbard/Hulu

“I’ve been binging Lizzy Caplan,” Bates said. “Oh my gosh, I sent her flowers and she sent me a Liberace album, I’ll Be Seeing You. I just think she’s doing a magnificent job. She’s awesome, she really is, and I love the writing. I love the whole story.”

‘American Horror Story‘ keeps one foot in the horror world

Kathy Bates has been part of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story ensemble. She’s not in every season, but got to play the bearded lady in Freak Show, and share scenes with Lady Gaga in Hotel and Roanoke. Roanoke got meta as Bates played a reality TV star, the killer that actor played and the real spirit of the real killer.

“We had a great time working together,” Bates said. “Stefani, Lady Gaga, came over to house and we really planned everything out and she, I think, really created her character, this woman who had been brought over in a ship and in the Barbados and learned her witchcraft and her immortality. It was really fun to work with her.”

Kathy Bates as Bobi Jewell
Kathy Bates in Richard Jewell | Claire Folger/Warner Bros. Entertainment

Bates essentially did three different voices in Roanoke too.

“It was fun to do an accent,” Bates said. “I’ve been given so much sh*t about my accents. Actually, the Baltimore accent was perfection and this one was perfection but people who don’t know those accents, when you meet somebody who’s from Baltimore they say what accent? It’s not easily vindicated but it was a lot of fun.”