'Ratched': Netflix's 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' Prequel Coming in September

Netflix finally set a release date for Ratched, a new series based on Ken Kensey's novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, serving as an origin story for the book's monstrous Nurse Ratched. The series, executive produced by Ryan Murphy, stars Sarah Paulson in the title role, alongside Cynthia Nixon, Judy Davis, and Sharon Stone. Murphy described the show as "an imagining of how this monster was created" in an interview with Vanity Fair.

Ratched will debut on Friday, Sept. 18, Netflix said. The streaming giant also released the first teaser posters, promising blood. The posters also highlight the 1940s aesthetic for the show, which is set a decade before the events in both the novel and Milos Foreman's Oscar-winning 1975 film adaptation of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. In the film, Louise Fletcher won an Oscar for playing Ratched, alongside Jack Nicholson's Oscar-winning performance as Randle McMurphy.

The project started as a spec script by Evan Romansky, which Murphy felt he could develop into a television series. Murphy told Vanity Fair he felt a desire to look deeper into Ratched's origins, to show how she became the uncaring nurse seen in Cuckoo's Nest. "She became almost like a catchphrase for any sort of institutional abuse of power," the American Horror Story co-creator explained. "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."

Ratched begins with Ratched hoping to get a job at a Northern California psychiatric hospital. Jon Jon Briones co-stars as Dr. Hanover, a controversial physician, Davis plays Nurse Buckett and Finn Whitrock stars as a mass murderer at the hospital. Alice Englert and Charlie Carver play staff members, and Stone stars as an heiress. Corey Stoll plays a private investigator and Amanda Plummer is a motel manager. Politics also comes into play, as Nixon plays a campaign manager for a governor, played by Vincent D'Onofrio.

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Paulson has appeared in so many of Murphy's projects that it seems almost inconceivable to think of one without her. He called Paulson a "very good connect-the-dots actor" and told her she would have to do "some real Walter White type s—" in the part. Paulson said she identified with Ratched and Fletcher's performance when she saw Cuckoo's Nest for the first time. "I identified very deeply with her loneliness," she said, later adding it was exciting to add depth to the villain.

"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," she told Vanity Fair. "You may question her actions, you may have judgment about it — but you will understand it. It will make sense to you." The project is also not going to be a limited series. Back in September 2017, Netflix ordered two seasons of the show, totaling 18 episodes.