Ryan Murphy's Ratched has captivated audiences since it landed on Netflix earlier this month. The new series, which stars Sarah Paulson as the lead role, is based on the character nurse Mildred Ratched from the seminal novel and film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, who enters a new psychiatric hospital in California in the hope of seeking employment.
But while the eight-part series has had viewers both hooked and disturbed, many are wondering the origins of the story and main character. So is there any truth behind the show, and was nurse Mildred Ratched a real person? Find out all the facts on the drama below…
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Is Ratched based on a true story and was Ratched a real person?
The series Ratched is based on the origin story of nurse Mildred, who was a central character in Ken Kesey's 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest – so Mildred as a character is fictional. However, it is known that the novelist wrote the book based on his own experiences while working the graveyard shift at a mental health facility in California.
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Sarah Paulson as Nurse Ratched
It is also known that Ken based the character of Ratched on a real head nurse he worked alongside at the hospital and described her as a "cold, heartless tyrant" in the book.
Therefore, while Ratched is fictional, she's based on a real person and elements of the book and show are based on real experiences. In the 1972 film, starring Jack Nicholson, nurse Mildred was portrayed by Louise Fletcher and the role won her the Academy Award for Best Actress.
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What is Ratched about?
The synopsis for the thrilling drama reads: "In 1947, Mildred arrives in Northern California to seek employment at a leading psychiatric hospital where new and unsettling experiments have begun on the human mind.
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"On a clandestine mission, Mildred presents herself as the perfect image of what a dedicated nurse should be, but the wheels are always turning and as she begins to infiltrate the mental health care system and those within it, Mildred's stylish exterior belies a growing darkness that has long been smoldering within, revealing that true monsters are made, not born."
Who stars in Ratched?
Sarah Paulson takes on the central character of Ratched and has been hailed for her performance. Alongside Sarah, many other big names appear throughout including Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon as Ratched's love-interest Gwendolyn Briggs.
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Famed actress Judy Davis (Romeo and Juliet, Husbands and Wives) takes on the role of Ratched's rival Betsy Bucket Basic Instinct star Sharon Stone plays the role of Lenore Osgood, while 13 Reasons Why actor Brandon Flyn plays Henry Osgood, her son. British actress Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda, Christopher Robin) stars as Charlotte Wells, a patient at the psychiatric hospital.
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