My mistake! Milos Forman didn’t get a phone call asking him to direct One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. The offer came in the mail.
Michael Douglas, Milos Forman, Louise Fletcher, Jack Nicholson and Saul Zaentz celebrate their 1975 Oscar sweep for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.
“I holed up in the Chelsea Hotel in Greenwich Village, he recalls, sleeping 23 hours a day. My close friend Ivan Passer, another Czech filmmaker, would visit a psychiatrist, tell him my symptoms, and then come back to my hotel to relate what the doctor had said.”
Forman was close to a nervous collapse in 1973 when he got a package from Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz containing a copy of Ken Kesey’s hit novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
This apparently jinxed project had been turned down by all major Hollywood studios: “Who wants to go see a film about a bunch of loonies?” Douglas and Zaentz asked Forman if he would be interested in making a film of the book. “Of course I said yes. I loved the novel from the start and thought it would make a wonderful movie. This showed me that it’s much more comfortable to slip into a state of acute depression here than back home. In Prague, if the government says, ‘no-you can’t make this film,’ that’s it. But in America, if one studio tells you ‘no,’ the next day comes along Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz who say, ‘yes-we want you to make this film.”