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The Most Difficult Scenes The Ratched Cast Had To Film

Contains spoilers for Ratched

Netflix's new series Ratched made a splash when it debuted on September 18, 2020, quickly rising to the coveted number-one spot on the streaming service. The series tackles the life of Nurse Mildred Ratched (Sarah Paulson) before she was tormenting Randle Patrick McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) and his ward mates in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The "angel of mercy" nurse has quite a few needles up her sleeve as she blackmails her way into a ranking position at Lucia State Hospital in Northern California. And while the characters of Ratched have their own hurdles to overcome, filming was no easy task for the actors.

Looper recently participated in a press conference for the titillating series. Finn Wittrock, who plays Edmund Tolleson, and Jon Jon Briones, the actor behind Dr. Richard Hanover, dished on the most challenging scenes — and just how terrifying it was to film a show with a main character as haunting as Nurse Ratched.

Finn Wittrock talks Edmund's killer layers

"The big scene I had with Jon Jon in episode 2 was probably the most challenging scene I had," Wittrock began. (Those who have seen the show know exactly what the actor is talking about here.) He then teased for new viewers, "Well, I don't know how much I should explain right now, but suffice to say, it's a lot to chew."

Since Wittrock plays one of the most layered characters on the series (alongside Sharon Stone's fascinating Lenore Osgood), he had to find a balance between Edmund's darker side along with the compassion he occasionally displays. The actor shared, "I would say, as [Edmund] learns his history and his history with Mildred and her history, I really approached him as someone who had never really grown up in any kind of nurturing environment and was so traumatized by the violence inflicted upon him throughout his childhood that he was kind of still always coming from that place of a battered kid."

That nuance is apparent throughout the series, with some of Edmund's childlike ways of acting out. His need for attention and acceptance, plus his casual murder spree at the start of the show, are all just a tad problematic as well. 

"Where his path and Mildred's path diverge, even though it was many years ago, that's still where, I think, he and Mildred's relationship is still at," Wittrock explained. "[It's] kind of that raw place that [they] never really got to resolve. And so she went this direction, and he went this direction, and a lot of violence ensued. But I guess you can't really think of yourself as playing a sociopath. I guess some people could, but I never thought of him that way."

He continued, noting that Edmund "does have his won sort of moral compass," though it's "kind of a warped one." Wittrock explained, "There is a level of innocence that he really, really believes in, and then he would never harm." 

Taking a page from the usual killer handbook, Edmund loves animals and could never hurt them. Wittrock mirrored that sentiment, saying, "You'll see that he's got this affinity for animals that might come as something of a surprise, but reveals the actual little kid still inside of him."

Jon Jon Briones says Nurse Ratched needs a hug

During the presser, Looper wanted to know if there was a moment on set where the cast was truly terrified of Nurse Ratched's nefarious antics. Briones took the answer in an unexpected direction, assuring us that no one who actually knows Sarah Paulson could ever be frightened of her. 

"There was nothing creepy about Nurse Ratched [on set] — because even though, as an actor, you go, 'Okay, get in the moment,' the thing is, you know the person right in front of you," Briones explained. "I got to know Sarah so well that sometimes I just want to hug her." 

Briones certainly wins the award for the most heartwarming moment in the presser, and honestly, Ratched could probably use a few more hugs in her life.

"Even though she's being mean to me, I just want to kiss her," Briones joked of his character and Paulson's. "If anything, I'm in awe because she's well-prepared — and, at the same time, it's so easy for her to drop everything. Then, once the camera is on, she's on you, and she's so giving when it's just to you, on you, and she's giving you everything."

Ratched may not have given Briones the creeps, but everyone watching the show at home certainly got their fair share of Netflix and chills. That said, the most challenging scene for Briones to film wasn't difficult because of the creep factor or even the blood and guts. The difficulty was down to achieving the steady hand that doctors need to operate.

"Probably the most difficult for me was with stitching up somebody with blood and everything," said Briones. "I was shaking and the camera was on [the crew and me], waiting around, and I'm messing up."

Season 1 of Ratched is available to stream on Netflix now.