Sarah Paulson was queen of the virtual press tour scene Tuesday, helping to promote the upcoming Netflix drama Ratched. The Emmy-winning actress will put a chill in bedpans everywhere next month as the nurse from Hell in a prequel to 1975’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

The role won an Oscar for Louise Fletcher, who played the flinty psych ward nurse who torments Jack Nicholson’s rebellious character.

The new drama begins in 1947 and traces Ratched’s career in the mental health care system. It was written by Evan Romansky, who, according to Paulson on today’s CTAM press session, sent the agent of TV uber producer Ryan Murphy — who has a $300 million production deal at Netflix — the idea as a spec script. Michael Douglas, who bought the rights to Ken Kessey’s original “Cuckoo Nest” novel nearly 50 years ago, also acts as an executive producer on this new prequel.

As does Paulson, who told TCA reporters covering the video call that she was promoted on Day One of the shoot. Murphy told her he wanted everyone else on the set to know that the actress was in charge.

Fletcher from 1975’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

This was already appearent to her cast mates, including Sharon Stone, who, along with Cynthia Nixon, Sophie Okonedo (“Hotel Rwanda”), Jon Jon Briones and Finn Whittrock, were in on the virtual CTAM session.

Stone says she plays the mother of a patient “who could be a patient herself.” Describing herself as a newbe to the “Ryan Murphy universe,” she asked Paulson for pointers on how to keep in character despite cues from different directors shooting different episodes in rapid succession.


“Stay in the day that you’re in,” was Paulson’s advice, which Stone saw as “very Zen.”

Stone showered praise on Okonedo, saying the British actress gives a “seamless performance.” Nixon, who says she’s played “a lot of twisted people since Sex and the City,” sees her calmer Ratched character as “a beacon of light.” She’d also heard that her unsucessful 2018 bid to oust New York governor Andrew Cuomo apparently put her in Murphy’s mind for this part.

Paulson says she and others were set to start work on the “Impeachment” season of Americn Horror Story when production was shut down last March due to COVID-19. She still has no idea as to when that series will ramp back up.

Ratched is set to launch September 18 on Netfix.

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