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Stephen King’s favorite characters and what movies to find them in

Stephen King’s work is a franchise in its own right, with a shared universe and characters that often appear in multiple works. The scope of its writing often masks one of its best characteristics: the authentic, often heartfelt interpretations of its various leads and supporting characters. As he revealed in On writing and elsewhere, there are often personal connections to the characters in his book: most notably Jack Torrance, who channeled the author’s fears about his very real battle with drugs and alcohol.


During a symposium at Lisner Auditorium in 2014, King was asked about the connection to his characters and those he considered his favorites. His answers were illuminating not only in how they reflected the author’s point of view, but also in how some of them came to embody his worst fears. A brief list of them follows in the order mentioned by King, along with a description of any adaptations involving the character.

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King Listed Annie Wilkes of Misery as his top pick


“Annie Wilkes was fun,” King said dryly when asked to pick just one character. She is certainly among the most legendary of King’s career. Misery was originally intended to be published under his pseudonym Richard Bachman. It tells the story of a famous romance author kidnapped by Wilkes – her unhinged “number one fan” – who holds him hostage and forces him to write a novel just for her. The character is an obvious stand-in for some of King’s most intense fans, which probably makes her cathartic to create and fun. Rob Reiner directed a acclaimed adaptation in 1990 and Kathy Bates won the Oscar for her brilliant portrayal of Wilkes. Lizzy Caplan also played her in Hulu’s second season stone castle miniseries.


King named Lisey Landon as his favorite heroine


To like Misery, Lisey’s story involves a famous author and a disturbed fan. In this case, the title character saves the author from being shot. The couple marry and he dies, only to leave the widow facing dark supernatural secrets he left behind. King’s writing is notable for its strong portrayals of women — for which he cites both his wife and mother as inspiration during the symposium — and Lisey Landon fits the bill. King cited her as a hero in contrast to the monstrosity of Annie Wilkes. An eight-episode miniseries based on the book premiered on Apple+ in 2021, starring Julianne Moore as Lisey.


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The boys from Stand By Me were too adorable to forget


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“The Body” appeared in different seasons, a collection of four short stories that eschewed King’s usual stomping grounds of horror and the supernatural. The four boys were childhood friends in the town of Castle Rock and embarked on a multi-day journey to find the corpse of another boy who was allegedly hit by a train. The story was told from the perspective of one of the quartet, who had become a writer as an adult and reflected on the respective fates of his three friends as he recalled the incident. Reiner made a film adaptation in 1986 — renamed support me – which has since become a classic.


The Dark Tower’s Eddie Dean holds a special place in King’s Heart


The drawing of the three was only the first appearance of Eddie Dean, who played a central role in the dark tower saga. Roland the Gunslinger finds him in New York: addicted to drugs and acting as a mule for the mafia. He frees the young man from his criminal associates and, after breaking his addiction, Eddie joins Roland in his quest for the Dark Tower. His addiction can be seen as a mirror image of King’s, but it’s his sharp tongue and the way it gets him into trouble that King seems to favor. Dean has yet to appear on screen, having been cast out of the poorly received 2017 dark tower film.


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It’s Richie Tozier is a fan favorite among King and fans


Richie “Trashmouth” Tozier belonged to This‘s “Loser’s Club” and, like Eddie Dean, his sarcasm often gets him into trouble. King quickly connected the two characters during the symposium. Richie’s friends berate him with the phrase “Beep beep Richie” whenever his verbal jabs go too far, and it has become common parlance among King fans (the questioner repeats the line at the symposium). Richie has been played by more actors than any other on this list. Seth Green played him as a boy in the 1990 miniseries, with Harry Anderson portraying the adult Richie as a hit comic. Finn Wolfhard played young Richie in the 2017 and 2019 big screen adaptations of Thisand Bill Hader stepped in as adult Richie in 2019 It: Chapter 2.


Stephen King has the perfect cameo in: Chapter Two

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