Stan's terrifying new drama Dr. Death is all the harder to watch once you know it's based on a true story.
The eight-part series is based on Wondery's hit podcast of the same name and tells the true story of former American neurosurgeon Dr. Christopher Duntsch, who became known as 'Dr. Death' after it was discovered that he left a trail of severely injured and maimed patients across various hospitals in Texas.
Dr. Death stars Joshua Jackson as the charismatic but dangerous Christopher Duntsch, who attempts to cover up his terrifying medical practices after Dr. Robert Henderson (Alec Baldwin) and Dr. Randall Kirby (Christian Slater) discover just how many patients he had left injured or dead.
The two doctors team up with Dallas ADA Michelle Shughart (AnnaSophia Robb) and begin working towards an unprecedented goal: convicting a negligent doctor in criminal court.
It's a troubling story, but one very much worth telling. So here are four interesting facts you didn't know about Stan's chilling crime drama Dr. Death.
Listen to The Spill's WATCH CLUB: The Terrifying True Story Of Dr. Death.
1. Joshua Jackson didn’t rely on special effects to transform into Christopher Duntsch at different times in his life.
Before filming started, 43-year-old Joshua Jackson was a little concerned about playing Duntsch in the show's flash-back scenes, which show him in his early twenties and even in his college years. At the same time, he didn't want the character to be picked up by a younger actor, because he had a very nuanced understanding of how the doctor should be portrayed on the show.
While VFX did a "digital wipe" on his face to make him look younger, Jackson told Variety that most of the transformation to play Duntsch was done practically and through his own methods.
To film the young Duntsch scenes, Jackson trained himself to walk in a different way and altered the register of his voice.
If you look closely at Dr. Death, you'll see that Jackson has cultivated a slightly different walk for each phase of Duntsch's life, to make it more believable that he was aging.
According to the actor, eventually, prosthetics began to take over his look.
"We spent a lot of time getting the gradations of the prosthetic so that you don’t really notice it through the first couple of steps and then and then at the very end it’s quite a significant leap that’s happened because he’s internalised all of this angst and chaos and he’s literally, physically wearing it on his body," Jackson told Variety.
2. The series sticks pretty close to the events highlighted in the podcast, but one important scene never happened in real life.
Dr. Death showrunner Patrick Macmanus set out to keep the events in the series very close to what happened in real life, as chronicled on the Wondery podcast, with the exception of changing small things like patient names for the sake of confidentially.
However, there was one crucial moment that was written into the script that never took place in the real world and it plays out in Dr. Death's fourth episode entitled An Occurrence at Randall Kirby’s Sink.