“To me the supervillain of the story isn’t the person committing the violence, it’s the organization that allows it to exist, turns a blind eye to it, and medicine for profit,” says Oscar winner Jessica Chastain, who plays real-life ICU nurse Amy Loughren in The Good Nurse.
The Netflix film in part holds the American hospital system accountable for the murder of 400-plus victims at the hands of serial killer nurse Charlie Cullen, played by fellow Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne. Chastain, Redmayne and director Tobias Lindholm appeared to discuss the project at Deadline’s Contenders Film: Los Angeles awards-season event.
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Lindholm shared Chastain’s viewpoint. “The question we are interested in is why wasn’t [Cullen] stopped? he said. “What was it in the American hospital system that made this go on for years and allowed him to go above 400 victim’s without being stopped? Why was it a single mom, with heart disease, an ICU nurse, that is responsible for stopping him? Why wasn’t the system able to?”
Redmayne did not get to discuss motive with the real-life Cullen, who is currently serving 11 consecutive life sentences. When asked how he could get into the head of a character very different from any he has played before, he credits the real-life Loughren with helping him find Cullen’s truth.
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“Amy talked about her love for this man and how kind and gentle and self-deprecating and the fact that he saves her life,” he said. “She met this other human being twice. She describes how his eyes glazed over and he was a different human being. She describes it as dissociative. That was a revelation for us because it meant that we could tell this story truthfully. It was about a friendship, and I suppose in some ways a love story.”
The Good Nurse premiered to rave reviews at the Toronto Film Festival and was released on Netflix on October 19.
Check back Monday for the panel video.