Chastain and Redmayne team up for “The Good Nurse”

TORONTO (AP) — The careers of Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne were, perhaps, still on a collision course. Their similar red-haired and fair-skinned appearances have long been compared.

TORONTO (AP) — The careers of Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne were, perhaps, still on a collision course. Their similar red-haired and 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 rhythm of “Insane in the Membrane” by Cypress Hill.

Ever since they met at a children’s film festival in Italy years ago, they’ve been friends too. Even if they sometimes came close to rivalry.

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

“The Good Nurse,” which premiered over the weekend at the Toronto International Film Festival, reunites Chastain and Redmayne on screen for the first time. It’s a slick and chilling real-life drama that revolves around the case of Charles Cullen, an East Coast hospital orderly 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 single mother nurse from New Jersey who befriends Cullen (Redmayne), after he’s 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.

“We play with friends,” Chastain says, putting too much emphasis on “playing.” “It was hard.”

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

The film, which Netflix hits theaters on October 19 and airs on October 26, is not only about a stealthy serial killer, but also about the for-profit healthcare system that allowed him to go unnoticed 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 of Jessica’s character, Amy,” says Redmayne. “But in some ways it was a questioning of a system and how that system worked or failed.”

“The Good Nurse” was created several years ago, but Lindholm, the Danish writer of several Thomas Vinterberg films, including “Another Round” and Oscar-winning “The Hunt”, has committed to directing a sprawling Danish mini-series, “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 movie and we were looking forward to it,” Lindholm said. “We came in with an extremely caring and loving energy. We three would be the nucleus. My idea was for the three of us to create this film.

“It’s a dream, both of you,” he adds. “They look alike. They have the same humor. They have the same energy. And yet they are so different.

For Chastain, 45, and Redmayne, 40, doing “The Good Nurse” came with some trepidation. Working with friends, they note, can mean seeing another side of someone. Redmayne’s character is also a deeply damaged person who displays a soft and warm facade. Redmayne’s slightly gruff physique in “The Good Nurse” is unlike anything he’s done.

“I respect that he doesn’t have to torture other people around him to believe his performance,” says Chastain, who adds that she respects any actor’s process. “I’d talk to Eddie that easy, and then ‘We gotta roll,’ and here’s Charlie. It wasn’t like we had to work with Charlie. I was like, ‘Whew. I still love you, thank God!'”

‘The Good Nurse’ is Chastain’s first film since winning Best Actress at the Oscars earlier this year for ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’. Promotions pointed out that the film’s two leads are Academy Award winners; Redmayne won Best Actor for his Stephen Hawking in 2014’s “The Theory of Everything.”

“I have to say, when I saw the trailer for our movie and it was like we both had it, I was like, ‘Yeah,'” Chastain says.

“It’s almost the best feeling,” Redmayne replies. “Because you don’t really believe it when it happens.”

Chastain had previously had a superstition about holding an Oscar and once refused to touch Redmayne’s award.

“But now,” she laughed, “I’ll hold your Oscar and you can hold mine.”

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Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

Jake Coyle, The Associated Press