Way back in February, we reported that Annette Bening was attached to star in FX’s American Crime Story: Katrina as Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, but a few months later the production “stalled” and series mastermind Ryan Murphy decided to delay Katrina in favor of The Assassination Of Gianni Versace. In August, Murphy came back and announced that the show had been retooled, with the story now being adapted from Sheri Fink’s Five Days At Memorial instead of being a more general story of how the government screwed up its Hurricane Katrina response.
Speaking with Vanity Fair, Bening explained that the new version of the show no longer had a place for her, since the story now concerns a hospital that was forced to euthanize a number of critical patients when it was left without power for days and Governor Blanco doesn’t have much of a role there. She says the original Five Days At Memorial book is one of the “completely brilliant and thorough and thoughtful” books about Katrina, so she seems to agree that Murphy made the right choice by focusing on that story. “It was a great, great tragedy,” she says of Katrina, adding that there was a lot of “unnecessary suffering and death because of racism and poverty,” so it was important that Murphy tell the story “in the way that he thinks is right.”
Sarah Paulson is now set to star in Katrina, and Murphy is still hoping to find new roles for Dennis Quaid and Matthew Broderick, who were supposed to star in the original incarnation with Bening.