The Good Nurse interview with Eddie Redmayne and Jessica Chastain
A private screening of “The Good Nurse” took place at the Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles on Friday, October 14 with stars Eddie Redmayne, Jessica Chastain and Nnamdi Asomugha as well as director Tobias Lindholmwriter Krysty Wilson – Cairns and one of the subjects of the film, Amy Loughren. The event was hosted by the Oscar nominee Andrew Garfield and included a Q&A panel after the Netflix movie.
“I did not know [of the story]“, admitted Chastain. “I live in New York and it happened in New Jersey. I was shocked when I read the script and thought a lot of things must have been made up. It was too strange to be real, and surprising that the most prolific serial killer in US history, which I knew nothing about. He probably killed around 400 people. It was wonderful to research, to meet Amy, and very inspiring to work on.
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Redmayne was also in the dark about the subject of the film. “I had no conscience,” he revealed. “When I read Krysty’s script completely blind, I was kind of amazed to see it unfold. It felt like this story was unboxed in some ways. On the one hand, it was the true story of a superhero. On the other hand, it was about a broken system. Systems often stem from good. But as they become machines and they become more extreme , losing the sense of individuality and the power of the individual is what happens. This, for me, was the story of what an individual can do to retain humanity at a time when the system is broken. It challenged the genre for me. That’s what I found fascinating.
Wilson-Cairns based much of her script on the book “The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder” by Charles Graber. “I think it’s pretty rare to find a story that is often incredibly dark, but also contains this beacon of humanity,” she said. “For me, the combination of what Amy did and the idea of mixing violence and compassion was really new. I had never seen anything like this before and it sold me and a healthcare system. villainous American.
“It’s such a huge and varied story. Graeber’s book takes place over the whole life of Charlie Cullen and it took a lot of time to narrow it down and focus it. And then also finding Tobias, and we spent a lot of time refining and trying to get it to a place where it could be really truthful and it could be exciting, and it took time to find it and for us to work together.
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Lindolm first read the script seven years ago, but it took years to get it all in motion. “The stones that Krysty had already laid out were a path that told the story not fascinated by a serial killer, but fascinated by the humanity of a nurse, Amy Loughren. I was actually on a plane en route to do ‘Mindhunter’ with David Fincher. It was fitting to see a different take on the serial killer genre. This one added something I hadn’t seen before. Who would have ever thought that I would make a serial killer movie that would remind me of my mother? But this one did it because of the compassion, hard work, and loyalty to her children that we saw from Amy. It became my gateway. I feel like in the times we live in now, true crime being a big thing, it feels like empty darkness and we have to find a reason to go there. That reason in this case was Amy. When I first spoke to Amy, I realized it was even harder than I thought and it was an even bigger story to tell.
When Loughren realized how the story would be told, she was shocked to be the center of attention. “I was very confused because this incredible book that Charles Graeber wrote is very much about a serial killer and the life of my friend Charlie,” she said. “I thought it would be a movie about Charlie Cullen. About a serial killer. Most people like true crime. When I met Tobias I was still very worried. Tobias told me that “He wanted to make it basically a story of love and friendship. I started to really listen and, I have to say, he managed to do that. It’s a beautiful work of art.
“You never know what’s going to be key when prepping something,” Chastain explained of stepping into the real-life character, Amy. “I read the book and watched everything I could find on YouTube and talked to everyone. I talked to Amy on Zoom and there’s something she said that stuck with me. was really interested. I asked him, ‘Why did you work as a night nurse?’ and she said being a single mom she wanted her daughters to think they had a stay-at-home mom. That blew it all up. All the other research was so dry. This whole idea that you work all night in taking care of people, you come home and get some sleep while your kids are at school, you do the laundry, you clean the house, you do your shopping and then when they’re back you’re awake with them. When do you take care of yourself? That was really my path in character.
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Loughren also unlocked the key for Redmayne. “It was Amy who gave me the insight,” he explained. “In our previous conversations, she made it clear that Charlie Cullen was two different human beings. There was the Charlie who was her friend, the person who saved her life, who was sweet, kind, self-deprecating. Then there’s had this serial killer. It was about playing the truth of friendship. Tobias was wonderful giving us a month to rehearse and that’s so rare. Jess and I went to nursing school. I had a wonderful dialect coach and worked with a dancer on some of the physical elements, and we did all of that prep beforehand so that when we were actually playing together, we were really just playing friendship.
“When you’re playing real people, you kind of have to accept that this isn’t a documentary and you’ll never be successful,” Redmayne continued. “Often it’s other artists’ interpretations of people or their insight into people that can be telling. Charles Graeber, who wrote the book, is a poetic writer. He described Charlie as a question mark. He talked about it in physical terms because he had this very unique posture, but there was also an anonymity to him. There was a void and an invisibility for him. There was a lot of amazing footage that we watched and we had access to information from Charles Graeber. This wonderful woman, Alexandra Reynolds, the dancer I first worked with on “The Theory of Everything,” I spent a day with her and we were looking at these images and thinking about this question mark. There’s a silence to Charlie when you look at him, but if you look closely he’s actually self-soothing. Touching the back of the neck, connecting to himself. It’s almost as if he’s being restrained by the neck. It’s like all the tension and trauma is there. It was a really interesting insight rather than playing a question mark.
Chastains’ character, Amy, also had physical demands, as she suffered from a heart condition that required a transplant. “I underestimated that when I read the script,” she admitted. “I knew it was something I always had to think about, but I didn’t understand the physical stamina I needed for it. I had read about it and asked Amy, ‘What would that feel like? What would you do?’ I spoke to our nurse educator about what you do when patients need to slow down their BPM. And I actually came up with the idea of having an ear wig with my heartbeat. I spoke to Tobias and said, ‘Would it be possible to have it really low when I’m playing and then you can be in charge of the dial. So anytime you want to poke my heart, you can do it and I’ll react to it and try to slow it down. It was super interesting to be in the middle of a scene and play something and then all of a sudden I have to calm down. And there were a lot of turns. I hate exercise, but I was running and running and running and running before the scenes. It’s my action movie. I had no idea.”
Loughren’s thoughts when she first watched the film: “It was so intensely moving,” she revealed. “Mostly because Eddie is really becoming Charles Cullen. Just a testimony of his art. I actually met Eddie in person after the screening, although we were able to zoom in before that. I couldn’t believe how charming he was. On screen, he became Charlie. Charlie Cullen was shy and very soft spoken and certainly didn’t command the room. That’s what Eddie does. He brings everyone. It wasn’t Charlie at all. So watching it on screen was absolutely amazing. But I also watched it because my mother was next to me. My daughters were next to me. I was able to see this person 20 years ago. Jessica was 20 years my junior and she was resilient. This woman that Jessica showed me was someone I didn’t really understand at the time. Here I am 20 years wiser. I looked at her, looking at Jessica and realizing that I was fine. Looking at Jessica, I could say, ‘You know what? I was really brave.
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