Producer Ryan Murphy continues to heat up interest in his new Netflix series, Ratched, every time he makes another casting announcement. For starters, Sarah Paulson, from his various American Horror Story anthology storylines and the new M. Night Shyamalan superhero thriller Glass, was announced for the title role. Now comes word that she will be joined by, among others, Sharon Stone and Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon. Together, Ryan refers to them and the rest of the cast as a “murderer’s row of talent.” Given his track record, the man knows from whence he speaks.

Ratched is designed to serve as a prequel to Milo Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which took home the 1975 Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor (Jack Nicholson), Best Actress (Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched), Best Director for Forman, and Best Screenplay for Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman. In it, Nicholson’s Patrick McMurphy is transferred from a prison farm to a mental institution, thinking he’s clever enough to essentially have his way at the place. But then he meets Ratched, who uses all means at her disposal to keep the patients in line. A battle of wills ensues between them that McMurphy is not likely to win.

Last year, while speaking at GQ Live, Ryan expressed his feeling that the show will represent a “gorgeous story championing feminism.” Of the character of Ratched, he mused, “She’s one of the great villains. She’s like a female Hannibal Lecter. She’s a great, great villain who is very misunderstood. How did she get that way? What made her do that? How do you become a sociopath? Most people are not born that way.”


(Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

For her part, Louise Fletcher reflected to the UK’s Independent that back in early 1975, only a short time after Nixon’s resignation from the presidency following the Watergate scandal, she began to see Nurse Ratched as an embodiment of the idea that power corrupts. “She was convinced that she had her world in order and that for it to work properly it had to be in that order,” she explained. “The minute McMurphy arrived, things began to fall apart for her, and she couldn’t have that. She had enough power that her conviction would have consequences — and that’s where I felt we were in the world at the time, too. The film was all about who has the power and how they use it, and how absolute power absolutely corrupts.”

An air date for Ratched has yet to be announced by Netflix.