Cuckoo’s Nest scripted Danny DeVito and Christopher Lloyd for the parts of Martini and Max as unknowns. Together, they would hit it big with “Taxi” in 1978. They worked together once again on “Man on the Moon” (1999), another film directed by Miloš Forman.
When you come across such chemistry between two actors, it only makes sense to team them up again for future productions. Success is guaranteed.
A Rigid Writer
Author Ken Kesey was a stubborn guy. He absolutely refused to view the film after the producers decided against using Chief Bromden as the narrator. He was so angry he sued. He won just over 2% of the proceeds. Kesey’s novel was inspired by spending time working as an attendant at a VA hospital mental ward in Palo Alto. It was also inspired by his experiences as a graduate student when he participated as a paid lab rat to take illegal medication for a study by the U.S. Army.
As a nonconformist, he was part of the counterculture and frequented gigs like the Trips Festival. Kesey believed psychedelic substitutes are the gateway to individual liberation.
The Producers Got Scared
Sydney Lassick was a cast member who succumbed to the stress of staying in character at a mental ward. Lassick, who played Charlie Cheswick, dove into his part so deeply that the producers feared for his sanity.
They were told not to worry about his erratic behavior; medications were on hand. During one scene, Lassick, viewing from the sidelines, flipped out so uncontrollably that he had to be removed from the set.
It Made Bank
"One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest" opened as the second-highest-grossing film in November of 1975 at the Sutton and Paramount Theatres in NYC. It went on to be the seventh-highest-grossing film of all time.
In Sweden, it played continuously for 12 years, from 1975 to 1987, a standing record. It is United Artists’ biggest success. Until today, no one has reproduced the feelings and overall impact the movie had on viewers.
The late Louise Fletcher made Oscar history when she thanked her deaf parents. She signed, “I want to say thank you for teaching me to have a dream. You are seeing my dream come true.”
Afterward, she heard from countless adoring deaf fans from around the country who expressed overwhelming affinity with her gesture. She won the Best Actress Award for her unsurpassable role as the nasty Nurse Ratchet.