“I was quite amazed that I had never heard of Charles Cullen because I’m the kind of weirdo that Googles serial killers at 3:00 a.m.,” says writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns about “The Good Nurse,” which tells the story of one of the most prolific serial killers in American history. We talked to Wilson-Cairns as part of our “Meet the Experts” film writers panel. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
“The Good Nurse” is about Cullen (played by Eddie Redmayne), who went from hospital to hospital killing patients but flying under the radar. Wilson-Cairns initially intended to pass on the project because “I didn’t really want to do a serial killer story,” but that changed when she learned of Amy Loughren (played by Jessica Chastain), a fellow nurse who befriended Cullen before discovering his secret and ultimately bringing him to justice. “I was really struck by this woman,” Wilson-Cairns shares. “I kind of couldn’t believe she existed. I couldn’t believe that we hadn’t built a statue of her.” So she told the story from Loughren’s point of view.
But responsibility for these murders didn’t end with Cullen. The for-profit hospitals he worked for swept him under the rug for years to limit their own liability. “The thing that really drew me to this story apart from Amy was the fact that it was a movie about a serial killer where the serial killer wasn’t the only villain,” Wilson-Cairns explains. That villain – profit-driven health care – is still on the loose, of course, and it posed the question that really intrigued her. Why Cullen committed his crimes is “unknowable” since he has never explained his motives, but how he was able to commit them for so long without consequence “is only answered by the feelings of the American health care system, which puts profits ahead of patients.”
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