Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne’s serial killer movie ‘Good Nurse’ examines U.S. health care system

Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne’s serial killer movie ‘Good Nurse’ examines U.S. health care system

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

Based on Charles Graeber’s 2013 book, “The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness and Murder,” the movie centers on Cullen’s fellow nurse and friend Amy Loughren (Chastain), who exposes his crimes and brings an end to his killing spree.

Director Tobias Lindholm and screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns told the Associated Press that they made a deliberate choice to focus the story on Loughren and the failures within the U.S. healthcare system that enabled Cullen to murder his victims for 16 years.

Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne's new Netflix film

The true story of Charles Cullen, a serial killer, is told in the new Netflix movie “Good Nurse”.
((Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

“I saw the potential of doing a serial killer in a way that we had never seen it before, where we wouldn’t be seduced by why is he doing this or how damaged is he as a person, but take a step back and look at why and how would we allow for this to go on,” Lindholm said.


“He’s not, in my mind, Hannibal Lecter. It’s not like this brilliant mind. It’s a simple man doing a simple thing, but the system allows it.

Cullen used his position as a nurse to kill his patients by injecting their IV bags with lethal doses of medications. Cullen was able to avoid detection by moving from one hospital to another in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Both the film and the book suggest that Cullen was covered up by for-profit hospitals in order to avoid liability.

“This case questions us if it’s a good thing that people make money from the health of other people,” Lindholm stated. Is it a good idea for hospitals to be businesses? “

Wilson-Cairns starting writing her adaptation of Graeber’s book 10 years ago. According to the AP, she visited Loughren’s home to begin her research.

” I found Amy’s house upstate New York. Wilson-Cairns said that she remembered this. “I think I was 23 or 24. I was like, “I’ve never done that before.” It’s very important to me. It’s your life story. Can you help me ? Wilson-Cairns also shadowed nurses at a Connecticut hospital for two weeks. She said, “What I discovered was that the actual health care providers — doctors, nurses, radiologists, anesthesiologists — all of these people are incredible, and are heroic.” They put their lives on the line to save others. I don’t believe any of them are being paid enough. I think even at 10 times, those nurses aren’t paid enough. I discovered that the system they have to work within is not optimal for patient care. “

 Cullen was sentenced to 11 consecutive life sentences in 2006.

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

Chastain took inspiration for her portrayal of Loughren from her conversations with the real-life nurse. Chastain exercised to increase her heart rate before filming to accurately portray Loughren’s arrhythmia. Chastain also wore an earpiece with a heart beat accelerometer that she could use to accelerate her heartbeat while filming a scene.

“She worked at night so that her daughters felt like she was a mom who stays home. Chastain stated that she kept repeating the same thing, that her children saw her when she was awake.

” The idea that this woman would put her health at risk to provide for her children, and also risk her comfort by not getting enough sleep, told me so much about her character and her abilities. “

Redmayne, who played Cullen, watched footage of the real-life Cullen from his court appearances and his 2013 interview on “60 Minutes”. Cullen was sentenced to 11 consecutive life sentences in 2006. Redmayne stated that there was something about Cullen’s physicality that was “interesting to me.” He’s a very quiet man. If you look closely, you’ll notice that he is always soothing himself. I don’t know what soothing means, but I think it is touching fabrics.

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

“There’s always something moving. I found the idea of seeking comfort interesting because the man was severely damaged. “


“Good Nurse” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 11 and Loughren received a standing ovation when she took the stage. Wilson-Cairns stated that Loughren was particularly touched by her heroism.

” This woman was not recognized for what her actions were,” Wilson-Cairn stated. People don’t see ordinary women as heroes. They aren’t on TV, in the media, or in books enough.

To see Amy, the real Amy, finally being recognized for what she did – saving countless lives – I thought: That’s a good way to spend a decade. I would do it again. “

“Good nurse” will be available on Netflix starting Oct. 26.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Ashley Hume is an entertainment writer for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to and on Twitter: @ashleyhume

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