Everybody went to Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood this past spring, and now we are going to ease into the fall with another famed Tinseltown tome, but one that is not nearly as well known as the stories of the Hollywood legends told in Murphy’s last outing. While many of us still remember Nurse Ratched as Jack Nicholson’s never-ending torturer in the classic One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Louise Fletcher’s eerie and Academy Award winning portrayal neglected to provide us with one thing (if that is possible); an origin story. We know very little about the polarizing character created by Cuckoo’s Nest writer Ken Kesey, but that is about to change.
A random stumble over a spec script (written by Evan Romansky) that brought the ultimate film villain to life, Ryan Murphy decided to start to peel back the layers. Murphy and Romansky collaborated on Ratched, bringing on frequent Murphy go-to performer Sarah Paulson as both star and producer. The series takes place approximately a decade plus before the Cuckoo’s Nest events take place, and gives viewers a peek at everything that makes this legendarily loathsome character truly tick. Murphy tells Vanity Fair “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.”
As with any Ryan Murphy production, you can expect it filled with Murphy favorites, in addition to a new, but very familiar face or two. Characters in Ratched include Dr. Hanover, an inventive doctor who is subjecting patients to controversial treatments (Jon Jon Briones), the overly rigid Nurse Bucket (Judy Davis), mass murderer Edmund Tolleson (Finn Wittrock), hospital staff members Dolly (Alice Englert) and Huck (Charlie Carver), investigative gumshoe Charles Wainwright (Corey Stoll), motel manager Louise (Amanda Plummer), politician Governor George Wilburn (Vincent D’Onofrio), and his intuitive campaign manager, Gwendolyn Briggs (Cynthia Nixon). The first season of Ratched will open in 1947, introducing Mildred Ratched as a nurse looking pursuing work at a California psych facility that happens to also have experimental mind experiments being conducted at as well.
From Jessica Lange to Kathy Bates to Judith Light, Ryan Murphy is known for plucking strong and accomplished women of note to take on some of the heavy lifting in his productions and Ratched is no exception. Sharon Stone makes a return to the small screen portraying heiress Leonre Osgood, and if the monkey perched on Stone’s shoulder in the trailer is any indication, we are going to get a master class in acting from one of Hollywood’s legendary bombshells.
Ratched premieres on Netflix on September 18th