Ratched: Will this origin story fly over the cuckoo’s nest?

Nurse Ratched is one of the most noteworthy villains in literature and film. An upcoming series will delve into the character’s origins.

When the remake machine overheats, studios investigate other ways to wring more money out of existing properties. And to do that, you have to go back…to where it all started. In recent years, prequels and origin stories have become the standard, and now Ryan Murphy is bringing one to the small screen, with Ratched.

That’s right: the cold-mannered, soft-spoken nurse from Ken Kesey’s novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, will finally have her side of the story told.

Perhaps more so than Kesey’s novel, Milos Forman’s 1975 film has woven itself into the fabric of pop culture. It swept the Oscars, taking Best Picture, along with statues for star Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher, for her depiction of Ratched.

Deadline provided the following synopsis:

…set in mid-20th century Northern California, Mildred Ratched (Sarah Paulson) lands a job at a psychiatric hospital as a nurse. The series will follow the nurse’s first days navigating the mental healthcare system and her journey to head nurse in Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel.

Ratched has the unenviable task of following in the footsteps of a novel and film that have existed as standalone creations for decades. And the argument for great art is that it need not be adjusted for the sensibilities of a particular era (perhaps why the original Twilight Zone has aged like fine wine, despite three subsequent incarnations).



That said, the lynchpin of my curiosity is in the casting. The ensemble is a crowded house of noteworthy character actors, including Sharon Stone, Cynthia Nixon, Judy Davis, Amanda Plummer, Corey Stoll, Sophie Okonedo and Vincent D’Onofrio.

And who better to play Nurse Ratched than Paulson? In addition to being a longtime veteran of the Murphyverse (she’s frequently the best thing in any given season of American Horror Story), she’s also not one to be typecast. She has shown definite range in her career, proving a consistently exciting and unpredictable presence.

So…if there must be an origin story for that iconic nurse we love to hate, I’m glad Paulson will be front and center to give us all the cringy feels.

Next: American Horror Story: 15 most horrifying AHS episodes

Ratched premieres on Netflix September 18.

Have you seen One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest? Are you looking forward to Ratched? Let us know in the comments. 

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