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Quendrith Johnson

Quendrith Johnson is Los Angeles Correspondent covering everything happening in film in Hollywood... Well, the most interesting things, anyway.
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MULAN's Rosalind Chao was inspired by MISERY, watch her say so for AFI

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

There’s a certain frequency on a cellular level that Kathy Bates hits among all women, and men too, but especially for anyone under-represented, discounted, or written-off. Bates own story, which is mostly unknown to viewers, is about how a feisty manager named Susan Smith literally forced her from stage to screen. Their tandem is almost a movie in and of itself. KathyBatesMISERYmeme2020

Smith died in 2013, aged 71, from cancer, but her legacy lives on. Client Brian Dennehy said, in a late 80’s interview picked up for Smith’s obit by The Hollywood Reporter the following: “Early on, in what I should laughingly refer to as my career, I made the decision that for me, and my agent Susan Smith, rather than make any kinds of career choices, that what we would do is worry about the acting, worry about the work.”

Although Susan Smith touched the lives of actors Bob Balaban, Graham Greene, and many others - in a way Kathy remains her shining star.

That is a long segue to Rosalind Chao, who can be seen now in the Niki Caro-directed MULAN. 

Chao was so touched by Kathy Bates’ performance in MISERY, from the Stephen King thriller, that she saw a place for herself in perfectly glamorous Hollywood. A place for women who were perfect, but maybe she could fit the part in another way. From an early career start in Amy Tan's "The Joy Luck Club" adapted for screen, Chao has made her own mark in this business as a perfect version of herself. Which is how Kathy Bates remains too: a perfect version of herself, for an imperfect world.

Here’s personal Chao’s take on MISERY for #AFIMOVIECLUB.


WHAT: Rosalind Chao announces today’s AFI Movie Club selection: MISERY. The character of Annie Wilkes in MISERY – chillingly portrayed by Kathy Bates in her Academy Award®-winning performance – is recognized by AFI as one of the great villains in cinematic history.  

DID YOU KNOW? According to screenwriter William Goldman, he wrote the part of Annie Wilkes with Kathy Bates in mind – even though she was, at the time, a stage actress relatively unknown to broader mainstream audiences. In this exclusive clip from the AFI Archive, Bates talks about working on the film.


Rosalind Chao Saw a Little Bit of EveryWoman in Kathy Bates



Another great thing about Kathy Bates? She still cries at Award Shows, which is endearing. This is someone who loves the business the way she did just starting out, off the boards, from the stage. True fact: Kathy Bates is much more delicate and glam for the red carpet, which surprises people when they meet her, because the image of Annie Wilkes in MISERY is indelible.

Enjoy Someone’s Else’s MISERY For Once



Just think, things could be worse, right? Wait. Yeah, they can always be worse, so chin up!

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About Quendrith Johnson

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