The 1975 film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” garnered five Academy Awards.
Netflix is bringing back one of the iconic characters from that film, nurse Ratched, who was played on the big screen by Louise Fletcher. The Netflix series looks at a young nurse Ratched, this time played by Sarah Paulson.
The cast recently spoke – virtually – with the media to discuss this new venture, which also costars Judy Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Sharon Stone, Jon Jon Briones, Sophie Okonedo and Finn Wittrock.
Right from the beginning, Paulson was asked about taking on a role that had previously been played so famously by another actress.
“The enormous plus is that I had the great good fortune of watching one of, I think, the most masterful performances in cinematic history in Louise Fletcher’s performance (which) is really remarkable, no pressure or anything, not something one really likes to think about following,” she replied. “However, it gave me an opportunity to have a real spine of the character sort of built in, at least in terms of knowing where I was going with it.”
Paulson went on to explain that her role predates the Fletcher character in time.
The show is set in the beautiful surroundings of California’s Big Sur, which is an unusual place for a mental hospital.
“(It’s) so, so rich, almost like an MGM musical," Nixon said. "And to have all of this disturbing/evil stuff happening in this most beautiful, natural setting, with the beautiful clothes and everything (it’s) kind of the disjunct of that.”
Okonedo plays a patient with multiple personalities, and Stone praised her performance. As for her own character, Stone said, “My character is the mother of a patient, though she really could be a patient, herself. She goes to find Jon Jon's character, Dr. Hanover, and successfully gets him to treat her son, and then is perhaps not quite as happy with the results as she could have been. And that becomes a big story point between all of us.”
Since the 1975 film is so well known and has become part of pop culture, the producers had to get the rights from the estate.
“Michael Douglas is a producer on this show,” Paulson said. “He had to get all the rights from the film and the character itself. And I think he was quite concerned that once the script had come in, and he had purchased the script written by Evan (Romansky), and they were starting to develop it, he thought, 'I don’t know if this is ever going to get made, because it might get tied up so quickly and all the red tape that can sometimes happen when you’re trying to get the rights to something.' But, in fact, apparently, they sent them the script and all the people involved were very interested in signing on right away.”
In fact, Douglas is an executive producer on this series and he was a producer on the original film.
So, with murderers, multiple personality disorder, and other mental problems with the patients as well as concerns of the parents and the emotional stability of the staff -- ahem, Ratched this means you -- “Ratched” is a complex and interesting story with a great cast. It is streaming now on Netflix.