Ryan Murphy Is Making a 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' Prequel for Netflix

The Nurse Ratched origin story starring Sarah Paulson just got a two-season order.
September 7, 2017, 4:53pm
Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy's new series has found a home at Netflix, according to the Hollywood Reporter—and it's a One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest prequel, apparently.

Ken Kesey's 1962 breakout novel about a guy named Randle McMurphy who lies his way into a mental institution and a mute Native American patient nicknamed Chief Broom is full of characters with rich backstories waiting to be fleshed out. But Murphy's new series won't follow a young Chief Broom fighting for his tribal lands on the Columbia River or McMurphy's time as a Korean War hero or whatever. Instead, the series is set to explore the origin of arguably the blandest character in Cuckoo's Nest: the evil asylum head, Nurse Ratched.

Ratched is a pretty standard Big Bad in Kesey's novel, and even more so in the 1975 Jack Nicholson movie adaptation. But Murphy apparently loves spooky-ass mental institutions, and everyone is racing to develop villain origin stories these days, so now his Ratched backstory is headed to Netflix on a two-season, straight-to-series order.

According to Deadline, the appropriately titled Ratched will begin in 1947 and follow Big Nurse's "murderous progression through the mental health care system" as she evolves from "nurse to full-fledged monster."

The series is penned by newcomer Evan Romansky—who managed to get a spec script into Murphy's hands through his agent—and will star frequent Murphy collaborator Sarah Paulson in the titular role. Michael Douglas, whose father starred in the Broadway adaptation of the book and who produced the original Cuckoo's Nest film, is onboard as an executive producer. Ratched will go into production in 2018.