The new thriller, which premieres Friday, Sept. 18, tells the story of wicked Nurse Ratched, originally played by Louise Fletcher in 1975's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (and the novel of the same name). For this eight-episode run, Sarah Paulson steps into the titular role stylishly and, because it's Paulson, with bravado.
But it's not the jump-out-of-your seat carnage that has her apprehensive about the series. Instead, she's nervous for fan reactions since she took a risk and slipped on her executive producer shoes.
"I feel terrified," she tells E! News in an exclusive interview. "Any time you are a creative person or endeavoring to do something creative, you are vulnerable to people and their keyboards and their opinions. And we live in a world now of people really liking to liter the internet with their thoughts and opinions."
To combat that fear, Paulson said she's reflecting on the experience of bringing the show to life, rather than audience response.
"The real issue for me is, how will I calibrate what I felt about making it? And what mattered to me was working with these extraordinary actors and getting to play this character that I really loved playing. I have to let that be the predominant thing I'm focused on because otherwise I'm letting other people I don't even know sort of take something from me and I don't want to let that happen," she says. "But there's always the trepidation of feeling like you've given birth to something and thinking, like, do you think it's pretty? Is it good? It's scary, but it's part of the gig."
It would presumably make Paulson feel better to know that her co-stars really loved watching her step into the EP role. Jon Jon Briones, who plays Dr. Hanover, sung her praises. "It's so amazing to watch her. It's like being in an acting class. You just open your eyes and your heart to her," he says. "She's so detailed and precise with everything she does. You know that you are in good hands with a scene partner like that and she can play anything."
Finn Wittrock, who plays Edmund Tolleson, adds, "The precision and the exactness of her performance was definitely an incredibly admirable thing. It was cool to see her take on this mantle and be the captain of the ship in a new way."
Watch that ship set sail when Ratched hits Netflix on Friday, Sept. 18.