The new Apple TV+ series Five Days At Memorial chronicles the impact and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina at a local hospital. Over the course of 5 days, a New Orleans hospital endured devastating flooding, power outages, and blistering heat as exhausted caregivers tried to keep their patients alive. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Julie Ann Emery, who plays Diane Robichaux, about what she wants viewers to take away from the series.
“My great hope is that the show is a conversation starter,” Julie told HollywoodLife. “We’re seeing natural disasters with more frequency and more ferocity. We’re going to continue to see these moments of collective crises like the global pandemic, and we’re not handling them much better than we did during Katrina. So I’d really like to see a social conversation started, and it’s going to take a demand on our part to demand that our leaders and demand that our communities handle these things differently.”
The actress noted that the doctors, nurses, caregivers, and patients were “abandoned at every level of institution and government, from the local to the state to the federal. They were completely abandoned because I think no one wanted to take responsibility for what happened so, therefore, no one stepped in. And that’s not okay. I hope we have a bigger conversation about how we want to be together in these collective crisis moments.”
Despite the heavy subject matter, Julie pointed out that Five Days At Memorial was a “really warm, welcome environment of kindness and respect across the board, 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 awaited help after Hurricane Katrina, the conditions inside the walls of the hospital continued to worsen. The actors transformed into people trying to survive amid the grueling heat and severe dehydration.
“Everyone really went all-in,” Julie said. “The actors went all-in. Nobody cared how they looked. We really were dedicated to the character in the moment and to the reality of the moment and the humanity of the moment in ways that surpassed any amount of visible ego that could possibly happen.”
Five Days At Memorial will premiere globally on August 12 on Apple TV+ with the first three episodes. The remaining episodes will air weekly every Friday.