We filmed it at a real mental hospital and some of individual patients joined the crew. We had an arsonist in the art department
Michael Douglas, producer
My father, Kirk, had acquired the rights to Ken Keseys novel in the early 1960 s and developed it into a Broadway play, with him playing the lead character, RP McMurphy. He tried for years to turn it into a movie, but it never got any momentum. Meanwhile, I was at university in Santa Barbara and was very politically active, what with the Vietnam war going on. I adored the book: it was a brilliantly conceived tale of one humankind against the system. I had never was just thinking about creating, but told my father: Let me run with this.
Our first screenwriter, Lawrence Hauben, introduced me to the work of Milo Forman. His 1967 movie The Firemens Ball had the kind of qualities we were looking for: it took place in one enclosed situation, with a multitude of unique characters he had the ability to juggle. At the time, Milo was living in the Chelsea Hotel in New York. He had clearly had a dislocation and never left the building rumors were he would confide in a Czech friend while lying in bed, and then the friend would go out and read a psychiatrist on his behalf. But he piloted to California to realise us. Unlike the other heads we ensure, who stopped their cards close to their chest, he went through the script page by page and told us what he would do.