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Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne's serial killer movie 'Good Nurse' examines the US healthcare system

Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne’s new Netflix movie “Good Nurse” tells the true story of serial killer Charles Cullen, an intensive care nurse who admitted to killing 29 of his patients but may have killed more than 300.

Adapted from Charles Graeber’s 2013 book “The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness and Murder,” the film focuses on Cullen’s fellow nurse and friend Amy Loughren (Chastain), who exposes his crimes and ends his killing spree. .

Director Tobias Lindholm and screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns told the Associated Press that they made a conscious choice to focus the story on Loughren and the failures in the US healthcare system that have led Cullen to kill his victims over the course of 16 years.

Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne's new Netflix movie

Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne’s new Netflix movie “Good Nurse” tells the true story of serial killer Charles Cullen.
((Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

“I saw the potential to become a serial killer in a way we’ve never seen before, where we can’t be fooled why he did it or how hurt he was as a human being, but take a step back and look. “Why and how are we going to let this continue,” Lindholm said. .


“In my mind, he’s not Hannibal Lecter. That’s not brilliant. He’s a pretty simple guy doing something pretty simple, but it’s a system that allows it.

Cullen used her nursing position to kill her patients by injecting lethal doses of drugs into IV bags. He escaped detection by being transferred to a hospital from a hospital in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Both the book and the movie suggest that for-profit hospitals cover up Cullen to avoid potential liability.

“This case asks us if it’s a good idea for people to monetize the health of others,” Lindholm said. Said. “Is it a good idea for hospitals to be businesses?”

Wilson-Cairns began writing an adaptation of Graeber’s book 10 years ago. She told AP that she started her research by visiting Loughren at her home.

“I went to the real Amy’s house in New York,” Wilson-Cairns recalled. “I think I was 23 or 24. ‘I’ve never done this before. This is really important to me. This is your life story. Can you help me?’ I said.”

He also outshined nurses for two weeks at a hospital in Wilson-Cairns, Connecticut. “What I’ve found is that real healthcare providers – doctors, nurses, radiologists, anesthetists – all these people are incredible and heroic,” he said.

“They put their lives in a box to save other people. I don’t think any of them get paid enough. I don’t think even 10 times those nurses are paid enough. I learned that they are the system. forcing them to work inside is not the best for patient care.”

  Cullen was sentenced to 11 life sentences in 2006.

Cullen was sentenced to 11 life sentences in 2006.
(John Wheeler/Getty Images)

Chastain was inspired by the conversations she had with the real nurse while portraying Loughren. To realistically portray Loughren’s arrhythmia on screen, Chastain ran around to get his heart rate up before shooting. He also wore a headset that could make his heart beat faster while filming a scene.

“She worked nights, so her daughters felt like a stay-at-home mom. She went on to say that her children saw her when they were awake,” Chastain said.

“The idea that this woman would risk her health to care for her children and jeopardize her well-being by not getting the sleep she needs told me a lot about who she is and what she’s capable of.”

Playing Cullen, Redmayne watched real-life footage of Cullen in court and his 2013 “60 Minutes” interview. Cullen was sentenced to 11 life sentences in 2006.

“There was something about his physique that was interesting to me,” Redmayne said. Said. “He’s a very sedentary man. But if you look closely, you’ll find that he always soothes himself. I don’t know if soothing is the right word, but touching the fabrics.

“The Good Nurse” premiered on September 11 at the Toronto International Film Festival.
(photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

“There’s always something moving. The man was a terribly damaged person, and this idea of ​​seeking comfort was interesting to me.”


“Good Nurse” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11 and received a standing ovation when Loughren took the stage. Wilson-Cairns said he was particularly impressed to see Loughren celebrate his heroism.

“This woman was not known for what she did,” Wilson-Cairn said. “People don’t see ordinary women as such heroes. They’re not on screen, they’re not in the media, they’re not featured enough in books.

To see the real Amy finally get little recognition for what she’s done—which saves countless lives—I thought: This isn’t a bad way to spend ten years. I would do this again.”

“Good Nurse” will premiere on Netflix on October 26.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.