Jessica Chastain isn’t a big fan of true crime dramas, especially those about serial killers.
“I’ve always felt a little dirty watching that stuff,” Chastain, who plays a hospital nurse who suspects her friend and colleague is intentionally killing patients in Tobias Lindholm’s The Good Nurse, told a press conference at the Toronto Film Festival on Monday.
The Oscar-winning actress said true crime dramas often sensationalize serial killers and how they commit their murders, including in hospital settings. “We see often times a serial killer or a story that’s fetishized. You see him injecting the bags,” Chastain insisted.
“I don’t want the media to glorify what happened to another human being and I want to celebrate the humanity,” she added as Chastain and her fellow cast, including Eddie Redmayne in the role of the true-life serial killer Charles Cullen, discuss, where possible, avoiding emotional manipulation of the Netflix pic’s audience.
Chastain plays the role of Amy Loughren, a trauma nurse who cracked the case about who was killing hospital patients. “Of course, it was terrifying going through it. But watching Jessica, I was finally able to be proud. I didn’t realize how gentle I was, because I’m such a badass,” Loughren told the presser.
The Good Nurse is based on the true-life murders of Cullen, to whom Loughren risked her life to reveal the truth and put a serial killer who was also her friend and work colleague behind bars. The screenplay was written by Krysty Wilson-Cairns and adapted from Charles Graeber’s book The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness and Murder.
Redmayne recounted at one point when preparing to play Cullen attempting to allow one of his eyes to appear detached and adrift as happened to the true-life serial killer when he was murdering a patient. “I spent around ten minutes trying that in the mirror and realized it wasn’t going to happen,” Redmayne added.
Netflix is releasing The Good Nurse on Oct. 19. The Toronto Film Festival continues through Sept. 18.