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Rob Reiner Takes On 'Misery' : The director follows his hit comedy 'When Harry Met Sally . . . ' with a chiller, his second film taken from a Stephen King novel


Back on the set, Reiner is sipping bottled water as Sonnenfeld kids him about wearing yet another Nike shirt. Reiner gestures toward Sonnenfeld's colorful swirl-patterned tie, noting that he has so many ties that he's never been spotted wearing the same one twice. "Come on, Barry," Reiner says, munching on a cookie. "How many ties do you actually have?"

Sonnenfeld thinks it over as he eyes his crew setting up a new shot. "At least 100."

"And you never wear the same one?" Reiner says.

Sonnenfeld nods. "They usually last the whole movie, though when Penny Marshall's last picture went 87 days I was getting a little worried."

Reiner has another cookie. "So if you did a David Lean picture, you'd be in trouble."

Soon it's time to get to work. Reiner is shooting a scene with Caan in bed, writhing in pain as he listens to his captor leave the house and drive away.

Caan is on the bed, taking deep breaths, trying to capture the right blend of agony and resignation. As the crew falls silent, Reiner stands behind the camera, speaking to Caan in a hushed whisper, like a hypnotist putting a patient under a spell.

"You see the door close," he said in a low, soothing voice. "You hear the lock. Then footsteps . . . the sound of the motor outside. You see the car driving by, heading away. It's going . . . going . . . gone. "

Now completely in the mood, Caan lets his eyes dart anxiously around the room. He grimaces in pain. Finally he slides over and tumbles off the bed, crashing to the floor.

Reiner watches with pleasure. "That was real good, Jimmy," he says. "Let's do it again. This time, don't just show me the struggle. Show me the pain. "

Reiner heads toward the hallway to watch the next take on his video monitor. As he lifts himself up off the floor, Caan good-naturedly growls, "Where are you going? I can't work when you're not in the room."

"Don't worry," Reiner says, ducking his head back in the room. "I'll be watching."

Caan turns to a crew member. "Keep an eye on him," he says, flopping back down on the bed. "If I'm gonna kill myself here, someone should at least make sure he hasn't gone home."

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