As we’ve seen over the years, Ryan Murphy likes to establish longstanding collaborations with his actors, Finn Wittrock and Jon Jon Briones included. Wittrock has appeared in a number of seasons of American Horror Story as well as American Crime Story and The Normal Heart, while Briones scored roles in American Crime Story and American Horror Story: Apocalypse. Now, they both move on to Ratched.
Briones steps in as Dr. Richard Hanover, the head doctor at Lucia State Hospital who’s eager to test out new treatments on the human mind. Wittrock plays Edmund Tolleson, a man who winds up in Dr. Hanover’s facility after committing a horrific crime. And then, of course, we have Sarah Paulson’s title character, Mildred Ratchet, a nurse who convinces Dr. Hanover to hire her so that she can take care of personal matters at his hospital.
Everyone’s got their work cut out for them in this series, but some of the heaviest material of the show involves Mildred and Edmund. Thanks to Murphy’s growing network of frequent collaborators though, it was like Wittrock and Paulson had a head start of sorts. Here’s how Wittrock put it:
“I think that there was a level of not having to break the ice with her, that we kind of could just dive right into the red meat of the relationship. I just always admire her work, but it feels very cool that I get to say that I know her. Like I literally know her. [Laughs] It just makes it so much easier. It could make things harder, you know? There are other actors that you’d be like, ‘Oh, god.’ That’s terrifying. But she’s such an exact and such a detailed actor. And this part, she’s not always this way. If you’ve seen Mrs. America, it’s like a whole other side, which I thought was incredible. But this is a much more kind of reined in, tight fisted character, that she’s holding a lot back. And Edmund was kind of a more caged animal that was more impulsive. I didn’t always know where he was gonna go. So I thought that was a really fun dynamic between the two of us to play with, this sort of restraint and the sort of feral quality of his. It was like we were dancing.”
If you’d like to hear more about Briones’ experience working with Sophie Okonedo, find out which Ratched cast member they’d most like to see appear in American Horror Story, and more, you can give the full chat a watch at the top of this article! Ratched hits Netflix on Friday, October 18th.
Jon Jon Briones and Finn Wittrock
- Briones talks about being a series regular for the first time.
- If they could take someone from the Ratched cast and bring them over to American Horror Story, who would they pick and why?
- Of everyone in the ensemble, who challenged them the most and for the better?
- Wittrock on how his rapport with Paulson came in handy while playing Edmund and Mildred.