It's a list of names that isn't short of star power: Sarah Paulson, Sharon Stone, Cynthia Nixon, Sophie Okonedo, Judy Davis... and more.

In fact, the cast of Ryan Murphy's latest Netflix series, Ratched, bursts at the seams with impressive female talent.

But such is the power and pull of writer and director Murphy, whose other TV shows include Glee, American Horror Story, Scream Queens, Pose and the American Crime Series anthology - so far comprising 2016's The People v. O. J. Simpson and 2018's The Assassination of Gianni Versace.

In fact, it was the latter that caught the attention of Hollywood's big-screen royalty, Sharon Stone.

The 62-year-old explains, via a Zoom video call, that after seeing the Versace series, her interest in working with Murphy had been peaked.

"Because I knew Gianni Versace and I'm friends with Donatella, and I had stayed in the homes and when I saw the opening sequence of Versace I had to stop it and start over.

"And after I stopped it and started over, I had to call mutual friends and say 'Have you seen this first episode?' and they had and I said 'Let's watch it again and talk'. And it was so compelling and the performances were so extraordinary... The OJ series was unbelievable, I really have to work with him (Murphy), he's really got my attention."

Ratched tells the origin story of asylum nurse Mildred Ratched, the character made famous in Milos Forman's 1975 Oscar-winning film, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

The lead character is played by Paulson, with Stone playing the twice-widowed but excessively wealthy Lenore Osgood, who is rarely seen without her sidekick, a Capuchin monkey perched on her shoulder.

Sex And The City star Nixon plays Gwendolyn Briggs, the press secretary for the Governor of California, while Okonedo plays Charlotte Wells, an asylum patient with multiple personalities.

Australian actress Davis, lauded for her theatre, film and TV roles across her career, is Betsy Bucket, the head nurse at Lucia State Hospital, where nurse Ratched seeks employment.

For Stone, working with this star-studded cast of women was a highlight.

She explains: "I haven't had a lot of opportunities to work with women because for the majority of my film career, I was put against big male actors, big male movie stars.

"It was only recently when (director) Steven Soderbergh put me with Meryl Streep in The Laundromat, that I was like 'Oh, I get to work with Meryl', it's so new for me that I got to work with all of these women, it was just wonderful.

"It's like a dream come true for me, to get to work with some of my favourite actors of all time."

For Paulson, a long-time collaborator with Murphy, it was, in her own words, 'a rich opportunity'.

She said: "I think there's no fun nor is there much value in re-treading territory that's been executed so brilliantly by Louise Fletcher (the original Nurse Ratched) and there was nothing to improve upon and there was no story to dive deeper into in terms of ways to crack that performance and go deeper there, that wasn't interesting to me to.

"I think watching someone become something is inherently interesting and I think Mildred is becoming herself over the course of this series and this first instalment is just the beginning of that story... I think it was a very rich opportunity filled with, I mean the playing field was completely open to us, there was nothing we couldn't do or explore because it was all invented, there was no story about her so it could be up to us and that was a pretty thrilling, enticing prospect".

Asked about the impressive cast list and its female-led focus, Paulson, who was an executive producer on the series, said all credit goes to Murphy.

She added: "I think the truth of the matter is that Ryan is always so interested in telling the stories of people who live more on the fringes of society and more often than not, in terms of, and less so lately, and let's give credit where credit is due, the stories of women have sometimes been more on the periphery.

"I can feel it moving closer to the centre but it's not there yet so when you have a story like this with so many diverse stories about very diverse women all in one place, it's a real world to inhabit and I think a delicious one and one that feels very empowering to watch as a woman and there's something you can identify with in all of the characters, and I think that's a really rich place to spend some time."

For Nixon, it was the chance to step into the shoes of a different character that was attractive.

"It was such a departure for me because I've been, at least in the last 10 years, been playing a variety of characters particularly on film that are complicated or twisted or sometimes malevolent and that make some really fascinating characters, so to be offered something like Gwendolyn, who is just kind of a ray of light in this very dark show, I was really surprised by it, but I was also delighted because it's so different to what I usually play," she says.

British star Okonedo likens navigating her multi-faceted character to a fast car.

"I loved the challenge of seeing if I could turn those sharp corners, like you're going in a really fast car and you've got to turn the corner really fast without crashing into a wall," she explains, adding: "And that's what it was like sort of switching very quickly into each character. And for me it was just a complete buzz, you know, I love that sort of thing..."

However, one thing the star isn't a huge fan of, is watching herself on screen.

"I don't like to watch myself, so I've only watched the first four episodes," she says. "I stopped when I come on... so I watched the first four episodes and thought it was absolutely fantastic, I've never seen anything like it and then my husband watched the rest for me and so did my daughter..."

Ratched is available on Netflix from Friday.