Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne say The Good Nurse will not “fetishize” the true story.

The good nurse does not approach the real-life story of Amy Loughren and Charles Cullen with “fetishist intent,” unlike other films and television shows of its kind, say Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne news week.

The actors were unaware of the real story behind the true crime thriller before signing on to the project, but when they did they appreciated how director Tobias Lindholm chose not to dramatize the truth or glorify the crimes committed, by concentrating heavily on the act itself.

Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne say The Good Nurse will not “fetishize” the true story.

Eddie Redmayne and Jessica Chastain
Left to right: Eddie Redmayne as Charlie Cullen and Jessica Chastain as Amy Loughren in The Good Nurse. The actors spoke to Newsweek about the film’s making process and how director Tobias Lindholm approached the story without “fetish intent.”
JoJo Whilden/Netflix

The good nurse follows Chastains Loughren, a nurse who befriends fellow nurse Cullen (Redmayne). He is helpful and kind to her, but she later learns that he is suspected of being behind the deaths of hundreds of patients at multiple hospitals and she works with the police to try to catch him after the system had failed to do so.

Cullen is currently serving 18 consecutive life sentences for killing 29 patients by injecting IV bags with drugs like digoxin and insulin, but authorities believe he is responsible for 400 deaths from 1988 to 2003.

Lindholm’s drama retells the true story, with the real Loughren helping to create the film, and places great emphasis on not showing Cullen in action or placing the killer at the center of the story.

This was something that appealed to the cast, as Chastain said news week on the director’s approach to the story: “I found it different from how the media often portrays true crimes.

“We usually see violence defeating violence and I really love that this is a film that shows compassion and empathy to stop this violent act and that I don’t want to give too much away but want to treat someone as a human being and seeing them as people instead of treating them as monsters and ‘the others’ who are separate from you reminds someone that they are people.

“It’s not, I don’t want to say that word because I know it’s going to get me in trouble, but sexualized, sometimes I see real crime and you see the close-ups of the act, the murder. Fetishized, that’s a more appropriate word, that eliminates any kind of fetishistic intent with it,” she added.

Redmayne agreed with Chastain, saying, “There was something to it, I mean, that was the truth. At the end [Cullen] injected these things in the storeroom and they were duds that just went out into the world.

“It was interesting we had this amazing nurse teaching us and he described that on a ward you very occasionally meet someone who is labeled a code freak, like a nurse who just wants the thrill or adrenaline of the moment enjoys when [an emergency alert] happens. But a lot of times Charlie wasn’t the one, there wasn’t a fetishized need, and that was what was so complex about it.”

Redmayne said the film “felt to me less like a true crime story and more a hero’s journey on the one hand and an exposure of crumbling systems or systems that couldn’t support such extremes on the other.”

“Oddly enough, I never considered it a true crime story,” the actor added.

Lindholm also spoke news week, and he explained his reasoning for the film not taking Cullen’s center stage: “We are in a time when this darkness that we seem to be obsessively looking into is becoming more and more hollow.

“I think part of human life is looking into the dark, our fears are part of the way we navigate life. Life is basically about what we hope and what we fear and then we try to find our way through and this story was exactly what we hoped mankind could come from rather than a story about Being violence that puts down violence, it’s a story about how charity and kindness and humanity stopped something a whole system couldn’t do.

“And that was a story that I hadn’t seen before, and it took something that’s a well-worn genre, serial killer movies, and it gave us an opportunity to tell a very different story, which was inspiring.”

About working with the real Amy Loughren

Loughren was involved in the making of the film from the beginning, assisting Lindholm and writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns throughout the pre-production process and advising Chastain and Redmayne early in filming.

For Chastain, this helped her portrayal of her real-life counterpart, especially because it helped her understand her life outside of the hospital.

“She’s been a huge help to me, especially in terms of the importance of her children and the physical ailments she was having,” Chastain said, referring to Loughren’s cardiomyopathy. “Because when I first read the script, I thought none of it could be true the way it was played out for Hollywood.

“The last scene of the film, one of the last scenes of the film that I don’t want to spoil, you think, ‘This has to be fake?’ [But it’s] Absolutely true. This is insane, this is absolutely true. I don’t know how to talk about this without giving it away, but [I was] talk to her about all these things.

“But I remember her saying something to me and I was like, ‘Oh, this is such an interesting character thing and I want to build the character around it,'” she said, she decided to work as a night nurse so that her Children would think they had a housewife.

“It’s extraordinary, this idea, because it means you don’t sleep all night and then when your kids are with you during the day, you don’t sleep. So when do you take care of yourself? Especially someone who has cardiomyopathy, and I thought that was such an interesting insight into her.”

Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne spoke to Newsweek about working with Amy Loughren on the shoot of the true crime thriller.

Redmayne relied mostly on non-fiction by Charles Graeber The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder to understand Cullen and get into the dark headspace required for the role.

“Probably only the last quarter of the book is our story [in the film]and the rest of it is almost Charlie’s bio, and it’s kind of a bible for an actor to have a lot of that research done for you and all the different resources,” Redmayne said.

“So that was a great starting point, but what really struck me was that Charlie as a character is very much woven from trauma, extraordinary trauma that he went through in his youth.

“But really, the sense of anonymity and the power of anonymity was important to me, and he described it [in the book as being] in one of the hospitals he had worked in before that he was always filling the coffee pots, being the person who was filtering it and he was so angry no one else would do it but he would do it silently. And then he watched people drink the coffee that no one knew he made [it] gave him a sense of power and accomplishment.

“There was a time when he sent a card to this girl, an equivalent of Amy, that he was working with on a ward that he got on very well with and he sent this anonymous valentine’s card and everyone on the ward was talking about it and who it was from Then he finally said it was him and the woman found it very disturbing and severed all ties and that’s how I think he learned the power of that anonymity, that power in silence.

“And that’s when I found this darkness, that you could play the whole truth […] and the other thing was that Amy Loughren told me it was [about] two people, it was a dissociative thing, and she only saw that killer twice. Once was at the diner and once was at the [interrogation] Space, and that meant that when Jess and I acted out our scenes, our friendship, all that empathy is real and all that kindness is real, it’s just a different thing.”

Feel safe even in the most intense scenes of the film

The diner Redmayne is referring to was where Loughren first called Cullen about his crimes and tried to get him to confess, a scene that is reenacted in the film and is incredibly intense because it depicts the shows the real danger that Loughren was putting himself in.

Although Redmayne had to show a darker side as Cullen in the scene, Chastain said she never felt “unsafe” or “vulnerable” during filming because they understood the importance of looking out for one another in moments like this.

“I think it was for us as it was probably for the people in the scenes because that’s our job to try to put ourselves in those positions, of course without people’s lives being at stake,” Chastain said. “But really, it’s our job to get as close as we can to that, but at the same time look out for each other.

“I mean, the wonderful thing about it [how] I’ve found that when we work together, we never put the other in a position where they feel insecure and vulnerable, for which I’m very grateful.”

Redmayne added, “One of the joys of this movie is that when you meet someone whose process is similar and you look at the world and our work and what we do in a similar way, that’s not always what happens in movies, quite.” often in films, when actors come into play, it is up to the director to make the change to accommodate the actor.

“We had a wonderful director and we both had similar processes, so it meant we would actually all do our research and then try to throw it all away and play, and it felt like jazz to me and there was an intimacy to it , and you could dance with it [Chastain] that way was an extraordinary thing, a really extraordinary thing.”

The Good Nurse is in theaters now and will be released on Netflix on Wednesday October 26th. Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne say The Good Nurse will not “fetishize” the true story.

Rick Schindler

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