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Netflix Ratched Trailer, Cast, Release Date
If you were asked to list the all-time greatest screen villains, who would you choose? Likely Hannibal Lecter, Darth Vader, and Annie Wilkes would make the cut, but no list of cinematic villains would be complete without Nurse Ratched, the iconically terrifying tyrant of the psychiatric ward featured in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Nurse Ratched was a memorable character in Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel, but it wasn’t until the 1975 film starring Jack Nicholson that she truly took off in popular culture; in the decades since, her name has come to be synonymous with a scary standard of medical care.
Nurse Ratched will soon enjoy a second life on screen in a big-budget Netflix adaptation of her origin story, titled Ratched, with none other than Ryan Murphy at the helm and his frequent collaborator Sarah Paulson filling her squeaky medical-grade shoes. Tracing the character back fifteen years before we first meet her at a mental institution in Oregon, Murphy promises “an imagining of how this monster was created.” Here’s everything we know about Ratched so far.
What is Ratched About?
With Ratched capturing how Mildred Ratched came to rule her psychiatric ward with an iron fist, the series promises to explore the notion that “abusers are people who have been abused,” Murphy told Vanity Fair. Opening in 1947, we meet Nurse Ratched as a young nurse seeking employment at a California mental hospital, where doctors are performing disturbing and unethical experiments on patients.
Murphy said of bringing Mildred Ratched to life, “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 shut off and cruel and uncaring.”
As for Paulson, she thought long and hard about preparing for the role of a lifetime–particularly one that would demand “some real Walter White-type shit,” according to Murphy, meaning that Paulson would be required to go to a very dark place to understand this character. Owing to her deep commitment to the role, Paulson came to understand the forces driving Mildred Ratched to a place of sadism and emotional remove.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
“I identified very deeply with her loneliness,” Paulson said of the character and her origin story. “I think ultimately at the end of the day, that is sort of what drives Mildred. 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 of her actions.”
Who’s In the Cast?
Paulson, Murphy’s frequent collaborator, will star in the titular role, while the cast is rounded out with a number of other Murphy stalwarts. Other cast members include Jon Jon Briones as Dr. Hanover, the physician behind the disturbing, experimental treatments; Judy Davis as matter-of-fact Nurse Bucket; Finn Wittrock as mass murderer Edmund Tolleson; Sharon Stone as heiress Lenore Osgood; Corey Stoll as private eye Charles Wainwright; Amanda Plummer as motel manager Louise; Vincent D’Onofrio as Governor George Wllburn; and Cynthia Nixon as Gwendolyn Briggs, Wilburn’s campaign manager.
When Will Ratched Air?
Ratched’s eight episodes will hit Netflix on September 18. Paulson teases an explosive first season, saying, “By the time you get to the end of the first season, you will not wonder how and why Mildred became the way she did. You may question her actions, you may have judgment about it—but you will understand it. It will make sense to you.”
Watch this space for continued updates.
Adrienne Westenfeld is a writer and editor at Esquire, where she covers books and culture.
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