Sarah Paulson has weighed in on the challenges that she and the projects she’s working on are facing in re-starting production.
Speaking at a video press conference for her new Netflix and Ryan Murphy series “Ratched,” which premieres Sept. 18, Paulson said that she’s “going back to work soon” on a project, and expressed what she thinks needs to change before the engines of production are fully fired up once more.
“I want it to be safe and before that happens, I would like the world to have some sort of massive rectifying of the way this has all been handled, and have some forward motion in terms of coming up with something to help us deal with this,” Paulson said, referencing COVID-19. “I think I am going back to work soon, not on ‘Ratched,’ but I have to say the conversations that we’ve been having about beginning again all exclude the part of this that is the most delicious part, which is being together.”
The project Paulson mentioned could conceivably be either “American Horror Story,” which Murphy recently confirmed is returning to production in October, or “American Crime Story,” which sources say is slated to shoot this fall.
Paulson said she’s worried that shooting projects under the current restrictions might mean not having the same “camaraderie and community” that she found with “Ratched.”
“The collaborative excitement and that feeling that you’re really making something with all of these people and they are just as invested as you are, feeling that vibrational thing that happens, I don’t know how we’re going to access that with shields, masks and gloves and pods,” she said. “The camaraderie and the community is a thing to really consider what that’s going to be and how we’re going to do that.”
In this new series, Paulson plays a younger version of the titular nurse from “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.” It begins in 1947, when Mildred arrives in Northern California to seek employment at a psychiatric hospital. On the surface, Mildred presents as a dedicated nurse, but her stylish exterior belies a growing darkness, and Paulson said she was interested in exploring how the “villain” that viewers recognize from the original film came to be.
“I think it wouldn’t have been interesting to me to explore the parts of Mildred Ratched that aren’t porous. In the movie, she is calcified, there’s a hardness, nothing ekes out, and I remember when I first saw the movie thinking that she was absolutely a villain and evil and all this stuff,” she said. “And then when I rewatched it before we started, I thought, you know this is a woman who is a victim of a patriarchal infrastructure in this hospital, and could it be considered that she didn’t have any choice about whether or not she can access her heart in her way, if she could bring her femininity and her womanhood to the job.”
Later in the press conference, which also featured Cynthia Nixon, Sharon Stone, Sophie Okonedo, Jon Jon Briones and Finn Wittrock, Paulson shared a harrowing story about production on “Ratched” season 1.
The cast and crew were shooting in downtown Los Angeles one day, when they learned of an active shooter situation nearby. Paulson said that she, Cynthia Nixon and Vincent D’Onofrio, among others, were trapped in the bar where they were shooting.
“There was a horrible event that happened in downtown L.A. so we were all forced to stay in this bar where we were shooting. There was an active shooter and we were all together and everybody checking on each other every five minutes. As horrible as it was, I did go to the bar and Vincent D’oNofrio made a delicious group of drinks for people,” Paulson said. “There are these horrible moment, yet there’s this real family that I for one really love about doing things like this, so that’s going to be really hard.”
Even though “Ratched” is still over two weeks from premiering, Paulson and the cast were asked what they are most excited for going into season 2, which they found rather difficult to answer given the current COVID-19 situation.
“Nobody knows anything about season 2 because Ryan, with the number of things he has going on, who’s to know when when that’s all going to begin, and you throw in the pandemic and then we think well who knows,” said Paulson. “I look forward to actually just being Mildred Ratched again and looking at some of these faces.”