A successful writer humbled is also at the centre of the Fay Weldon adaptation She-Devil, where romantic novelist Meryl Streep's lovely life gradually unravels (with the viewer expected to cheer each new setback) after she pairs off with Roseanne Barr's husband. Similarly persecuted, though this time seemingly by fate, is Woody Allen's Harry Block in Deconstructing Harry, who begins the film being angrily accused by a suicidal ex-lover of using their affair in his latest book, and ends it arrested for kidnapping and gun and drug possession.
More common are monsters and obnoxious egotists, such as Nicholson's misanthropic author with OCD in As Good As It Gets, Jeff Daniels's nasty, student-shagging novelist in The Squid and the Whale, and Roger Allam's arrogant, wife-exploiting crime writer and pursuer of younger bedmates in Tamara Drewe. And some, such as Sharon Stone's icepick-wielding serial killer in Basic Instinct or Laurence Olivier's mystery writer in Sleuth, are dangerous criminals.
In recent biopics, real writers are portrayed in the grip of mental illness, old age or/and waning powers, from Iris to The Hours to The Last Station. Such sympathetic treatment is rarely extended to invented ones, who are typically objects of ridicule or loathing in comedies of different degrees of blackness. Is this one faction of the writing community (screenwriters) abusing another (novelists), perhaps irritated by their greater prestige? Hard to tell. But it's significant that these movies often close with a suggestion of regret for their punitive plotting, giving the protagonists happy or happy-ish endings. Nicholson's misanthrope and Paul Giammati's thirsty would-be writer in Sideways are awarded girlfriends, and Young Adult finishes ambiguously but with a hint that a chastened Mavis is at last near to adulthood.