Nurse Ratched, the sadistic mental health nurse who torments Jack Nicholson's charmingly cheeky criminal McMurphy in the Oscar winning One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, is one of cinema's greatest villains. Now, Netflix are delving into Ratched's past with the upcoming prequel series, Ratched, which will give audiences some understanding into what made the nurse so shockingly vicious. Several images and a brand-new poster have now been released, giving us our first look at the show, and at American Horror Story star Sarah Paulson as the title character.
The Netflix series has been described as "an origins story, beginning in 1947, which will follow Ratched's journey and evolution from nurse to full-fledged monster. The series will track her murderous progression through the mental health care system." Thanks to the character's haunting portrayal by Louise Fletcher back in 1975, a performance for which she won an Academy Award, not much is known about Nurse Ratched outside the walls of the hospital. So, the series should provide an intriguing insight into what made the mental health nurse so cruel and add a fresh layer to an already iconic character.
Ratched is the creation of Evan Romansky, and stars Sarah Paulson as Nurse Mildred Ratched, Jon Jon Briones as Dr. Richard Hanover, Finn Wittrock as Edmund Tolleson, Charlie Carver as Huck, Judy Davis as Nurse Betsy Bucket, Harriet Sansom Harris, Cynthia Nixon as Gwendolyn Briggs, Hunter Parrish, Amanda Plummer as Louise, Corey Stoll as Charles Wainwright, and Sharon Stone as Lenore Osgood. The show will also feature recurring characters played by Vincent D'Onofrio, Rosanna Arquette, and Don Cheadle. American Horror Story's Ryan Murphy is on board as producer, so expect Ratched to forever feature in your nightmares.
Discussing the idea behind the series, Ryan Murphy said that the initial jumping off point was "that abusers are people who have been abused." Continuing, Murphy said, "I feel like Nurse Ratched is sort of a shorthand for barbarism. She became almost like a catchphrase for any sort of institutional abuse of power. What was interesting was trying to create an emotional character from a reputation that's very cold...trying to figure out every little detail about her childhood, her relationships, her sexuality. Because when people think of Ratched, they think of her as shutoff and cruel and uncaring."
The supremely talented Sarah Paulson recalled hating Ratched "very, very deeply" when she first saw Fletcher's performance in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but the actress eventually managed to find way into the character. "I identified very deeply with her loneliness. I think ultimately at the end of the day, that is sort of what drives Mildred," said Paulson. "A pursuit of survival and of finding some sense of home. Even though the methods that she chooses to achieve that internal security are somewhat questionable, I would argue that she's doing them with a potentially selfish need, but a survival need nevertheless. Sort of an animal need that blinds her to the inappropriateness of some her actions."
Ratched is set to premiere on Netflix on September 18, 2020. This comes to us courtesy of Vanity Fair.