'Ratched': Sarah Paulson channels iconic movie villain in first look at Netflix series

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·2-min read
Sarah Paulson plays the title role in Netflix series 'Ratched'. (Credit: Netflix)
Sarah Paulson plays the title role in Netflix series 'Ratched'. (Credit: Netflix)

One of cinema’s most memorable baddies is set to star in her own origin story on Netflix, with Sarah Paulson taking on Nurse Ratched.

The Golden Globe and Emmy winner will portray the villainous nurse from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in a new series from American Horror Story showrunner Ryan Murphy.

Read more: Sarah Paulson still keen for Ocean’s 8 sequel

A first look at the 1940s-set series has now debuted, including new images of Paulson in character as Mildred Ratched.

The trove of new photos also introduce supporting cast members, including Finn Wittrock as a mass murderer and Sharon Stone as a wealthy heiress.

Finn Wittrock as mass murderer Edmund Tolleson in 'Ratched'. (Credit: Saeed Adyani/Netflix)
Finn Wittrock as mass murderer Edmund Tolleson in 'Ratched'. (Credit: Saeed Adyani/Netflix)

Murphy became fascinated by telling Nurse Ratched’s origin tale when he came across Evan Romansky’s spec script, set just over a decade before the events of Miloš Forman’s 1975 classic.

The role won Louise Fletcher an Oscar, which leaves Paulson with huge shoes to fill.

Read more: Gareth Evans discusses villain origin stories

Murphy, who now has a big money bond with Netflix, told Vanity Fair he was “kind of scared” to delve into Nurse Ratched, given how significant the character is in the cultural canon.

Paulson, meanwhile, said she believes that the show manages to get to the heart of the character.

Sarah Paulson as Mildred Ratched in 'Ratched'. (Credit: Saeed Adyani/Netflix)
Sarah Paulson as Mildred Ratched in 'Ratched'. (Credit: Saeed Adyani/Netflix)

The 45-year-old actor added: “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 judgement about it — but you will understand it. It will make sense to you.”

Read more: Movie villains to cheer for

The series finds Mildred Ratched looking for work in 1947 and joining the staff of a psychiatric hospital in California, at which Dr Hanover (Jon Jon Briones) is subjecting patients to controversial treatments.

Other supporting cast members include Judy Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Vincent D’Onofrio and Corey Stoll.

Sharon Stone as Lenore Osgood in 'Ratched'. (Credit: Netflix)
Sharon Stone as Lenore Osgood in 'Ratched'. (Credit: Netflix)

Paulson’s working relationship with Murphy has been cemented over years of American Horror Story, with the star delivering acclaimed performances as various characters in the first eight seasons of the show.

She did not appear in the slasher-inspired ninth season 1984, but will return for the 10th season once production can start after the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more: Macaulay Culkin set for American Horror Story role

Paulson won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for playing O.J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark in the first season of Murphy’s American Crime Story.

Ratched is due to arrive on Netflix from 18 September.