Masterston, who last year directed an acclaimed production of Twelve Angry Men, cited personal reasons for his withdrawal. Over the weekend however, the Observer reported that there was friction during rehearsals between the show's star performer, Hollywood actor Christian Slater, and other members of the cast. Slater plays the role of McMurphy, immortalized by Jack Nicholson in the Oscar-winning 1975 movie version of Ken Kesey's novel about a small-time crook who is sent to a psychiatric hospital. Frances Barber, who plays the role of the matriarchal Nurse Ratched, was quoted as saying, "I have never been involved in any rehearsal process quite like this. And, being diplomatic, that is all I am going to say!"
Johnson, who directed the West End adaptation of another iconic movie, "The Graduate," takes over just ten days before the show opens at the Edinburgh Festival. The production then transfers to London's Gielgud Theatre in September.