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    Chastain and Redmayne on teaming up for ‘The Good Nurse’

    TORONTO (AP) – Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne’s careers were, perhaps, always on a collision course. Their similar red-haired, fair-skinned appearances have long been compared. At the 2017 Golden Globes when they presented together, host Jimmy Fallon introduced them by rapping Chastain and the Redmayne to the beat of Cypress Hill’s Insane in the Membrane.

    Since meeting at a children’s film festival in Italy years ago, they’ve been friends, too. Even if they’ve occasionally verged on being rivals.

    “I think we needed The Danish Girl, because everyone always talks about how we look alike,” Chastain said. “I took a picture of him in costume in character and I emailed Eddie and I said, ‘Stop taking my roles’.”

    The Good Nurse, which premiered over the weekend at the Toronto International Film Festival, brings Chastain and Redmayne together on screen for the first time. It’s a deft, chilling true-life drama that revolves around the case of Charles Cullen, a nurse at East Coast hospitals who murdered at least 29 patients. The film is directed by Tobias Lindholm and adapted by screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns (1917, Last Night in Soho) from Charles Graeber’s 2013 book, The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness and Murder.

    Chastain plays Amy Loughren, a New Jersey single-mother nurse who befriends Cullen (Redmayne), after he’s newly hired. In an interview together at a Toronto hotel ahead of the film’s premiere, their easily apparent chemistry in the film was even more effusive in person.

    Eddie Redmayne and Jessica Chastain, cast members in ‘The Good Nurse’, during the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival. PHOTO: AP

    “We play friends,” Chastain said, over-emphasising “play”. “That was hard.”

    “It was a joy,” beamed Redmayne, causing Chastain to laugh and sigh: “He can’t even pretend.”

    The film, which Netflix will release in theatres on October 19 and stream on October 26, deals with not just with a stealthy serial killer but the for-profit healthcare system that allowed him to go undetected for so long. Nnamdi Asomugha and Noah Emmerich co-star as police detectives.

    “For me, the script was a complex story, a mixture of this very intimate friendship, a story of heroism by Jessica’s character, Amy,” said Redmayne. “But in some ways, it was a questioning of a system, and how that system worked or failed.”

    The Good Nurse was initially set up several years ago, but Lindholm, the Danish writer of several Thomas Vinterberg films including the Oscar-winning Another Round and The Hunt, committed to making a sprawling Danish miniseries, The Investigation, about the death of 30-year-old Swedish journalist Kim Wall. The actors discussed their options and elected to wait for Lindholm.

    “We had so many conversations before we even started. So we knew what we wanted with the film, and we were looking forward to it,” Lindholm said. “We came in with an extremely caring and loving energy. The three of us would be the core. My idea was that the three of us would create this film together.

    “They’re a dream, the two of them,” he added. “They look alike. They have the same humour. They have the same energy. And yet they’re so different.”

    For Chastain, 45, and Redmayne, 40, making The Good Nurse came with some trepidation.

    Working with friends, they note, can mean seeing a different side of someone. Redmayne’s character, too, is a deeply damaged person who puts up a gentle and warm facade.

    Redmayne’s slightly hangdog physicality in The Good Nurse is different than anything he’s done.

    “I respect that he doesn’t need to torture other people around him to believe his performance,” said Chastain, who added she respects any actor’s process.

    “I’d be talking to Eddie just as easily as this, and then ‘We gotta roll,’ and here comes Charlie. It wasn’t like we were having to work with Charlie. I was like, ‘Phew. I still like you, thank God!’”

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