Five Days at Memorial cast and creator on show’s real-life story

Vera Farmiga in “Five Days at Memorial,” premiering globally August 12, 2022 on Apple TV+.
Vera Farmiga in “Five Days at Memorial,” premiering globally August 12, 2022 on Apple TV+. /

A brand new series from Apple TV+ begins on Friday in Five Days at Memorial. We sat down with stars Adepero Oduye, Cornelius Smith Jr. and one of the show’s creators, Carlton Cuse to talk about this emotional true story they brought to life.

Five Days at Memorial is based on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and how one hospital in New Orleans was forced to make tough decisions about the doctors, nurses and most importantly the patients.

Having already watched this entire series, I will admit that Apple TV+ strikes gold. The show’s creators did a great job putting us smack dab in each individual’s shoes to feel everything they felt. In addition, the entire cast, from top to bottom, also embodies these performances that make the story feel much more authentic. I can’t recommend this show enough.

Hidden Remote sat down with Adepero Oduye and Cornelius Smith Jr. to talk about their roles on the show as well as with show creator, Carlton Cuse about the creation of Five Days at Memorial.

Check out the video version of the interview here.

Five Days at Memorial cast and crew tinterview

Hidden Remote: Carlton, what about this story made you want to create it into a series? 

Carlton Cuse: I thought I understood what had happened during Hurricane Katrina and I read Sheri Fink’s book and realized I didn’t at all. Sheri did a deep dive on the subject matter and worked on this book for six years. She won a Pultizer Prize for her original reporting that preceded this book—so telling the story of what happened at Memorial Hospital of these two thousand souls trapped in this building for five days during the hurricane and flooding that followed. It was also a story about challenges that health care workers face in times of crisis and the story got stuck in my head and I was desperate to get it on the screen.

Hidden Remote: What attracted you to the role of Dr. Bryant King?

Cornelius Smith Jr.: Essentially I had no knowledge of the story or the role. So when I initially got the audition, it was the scene that I got that attracted me to the role. I had not read the script or the book, so I had read two scenes from the script that were layered and juicy, and I could tell there was a lot more going on that I wasn’t aware of. So just the circumstances, from what I could tell from the audition, made it an attractive role. Once I booked the role, I became educated on what went down at Memorial.

Hidden Remote: You play Karen Wynn, who was a real Nurse Manager of the ICU, what kind of background work did you do to prepare for the role?

Adepero Oduyo: The main thing was reading the book that the series was based on. There was so much information about the hospital, its history, and the background of all the people that worked there—also talking with the writer of the book Sheri. She made herself available because she put everything together. Getting first-hand accounts, and talking to family members who are health care professionals, was the main crux of the preparation.

Five Days at Memorial hits Apple TV+ on Friday, August 12, 2022.