The eight-episode horror series, from producer Ryan Murphy and writer Ian Brennan, tells the origin story of the asylum nurse created by Ken Kesey in his 1962 novel.
The TV show, set in 1947, follows Ratched as she arrives in Northern California to work at a psychiatric hospital where doctors have been conducting experiments on the human mind.
Sarah Paulson, the show’s lead, said she felt “nervous and a bit incapable” taking on the character, a role for which Louise Fletcher won a lead actress Oscar.
“The only way I could try to approach it was to think about holding her performance as closely as I could in my mind, and then just try to remind myself that we were inventing her beginnings,” Paulson told Reuters.
“I had a little bit of latitude there to explore with some freedom, but knowing what the backbone of the character was because of Louise’s wonderful, wonderful performance. But it was scary,” she added.
Finn Wittrock, who plays mass murderer Edmund Tolleson, said the show explored how Nurse Ratched ended up becoming one of the great cinematic villains.
“She went head-to-head with the patriarchy in her own way and ultimately became the person that we later know as Nurse Ratched in the movie. But she wasn’t always that way,” said Wittrock.
The series also stars Sharon Stone as an eccentric millionaire and Cynthia Nixon, who plays Nurse Ratched’s love interest. “Ratched” will be available for streaming on Netflix starting on Friday. Reporting by Reuters Television; Editing by Peter Cooney