The new Apple TV+ series Five days at the memorial chronicles the impact and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina at a local hospital. For 5 days, a New Orleans hospital endured devastating flooding, power outages and scorching heat as exhausted caregivers tried to keep their patients alive. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Julie Ann Emerywho plays Diane Robichaux, on what she wants viewers to take away from the show.
“My big hope is that the show will be a conversation piece,” Julie said. HollywoodLife. “We are seeing natural disasters with more frequency and more ferocity. We’re going to continue to see these moments of collective crises as the global pandemic, and we’re not handling them much better than we did during Katrina. So I would really like to see a social conversation start, and it will take a demand from us to demand that our leaders and demand that our communities handle these things differently.
The actress noted that doctors, nurses, caregivers and patients were “let down at every level of institution and government, from local to state to federal.” They were completely abandoned because I think nobody wanted to take responsibility for what happened, so nobody stepped in. And that’s not right. I hope we will have a bigger conversation about how we want to be together in these times of collective crisis.
Despite the heaviness of the subject, Julie pointed out that Five days at the memorial was a “really warm and welcoming environment of kindness and respect on all levels, and it’s just easier to dive into deep work in a good work environment than in a toxic one.”
As everyone at Memorial Medical Center waited for help after Hurricane Katrina, conditions inside the hospital walls continued to worsen. The actors turned into people trying to survive amid the grueling heat and severe dehydration.
“Everyone really went all-in,” Julie said. “The actors went all-in. No one cared about their appearance. We were truly dedicated to the character of the moment and the reality of the moment and the humanity of the moment in a way that exceeded any amount of visible ego that could possibly happen.
Five days at the memorial will premiere August 12 on Apple TV+ with the first three episodes. The remaining episodes will air weekly every Friday.