We filmed it at a real mental institution 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 grow it into a cinema, 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 story of one man against the system. I had never thought about inducing, but told my father: Let me run with this.
Our firstly screenwriter, Lawrence Hauben, introduced me to the work of Milo Forman. His 1967 cinema The Firemens Ball had the kind of qualities we were looking for: it took place in one enclosed situation, with a plethora of unique characteristics he had capacities necessary to juggle. At the time, Milo was living in the Chelsea Hotel in New York. He had apparently had a breakdown and never left the building gossips were he would confide in a Czech friend while lying in bed, and then my best friend would go out and envision a analyst on his behalf. But he hovered to California to envision us. Unlike the other administrators we understood, who retained their cards close to their chest, he went through the script page by page and told us what he would do.