Thursday, October 6, 2022

Cornelius Smith Jr. Talks Apple TV’s New Hurricane Katrina Series | EUR Exclusive

*The new Apple TV+ series “Five Days at Memorial” chronicles the impact of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath on a local hospital. 

Per press release, “When the floodwaters rose, power failed, and heat soared, exhausted caregivers at a New Orleans hospital were forced to make decisions that would follow them for years to come. 

“Five Days at Memorial” hails from Academy Award winner John Ridley and Emmy Award winner Carlton Cuse. Based on actual events and adapted from the book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sheri Fink, the series chronicles the impact of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath on a local hospital. When the floodwaters  rose, power failed, and heat soared, exhausted caregivers at a New Orleans hospital were forced to make  decisions that would follow them for years to come.  

Watch the trailer above.

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hurricane katrina series
Credit: Apple TV+

The limited series stars an award-winning ensemble cast that includes Vera Farmiga, Cornelius Smith Jr. and Emmy-Award winner Cherry Jones, Robert Pine (“CHiPs”), Julie Ann Emery (“Better Call Saul,” “Preacher”), Adepero Oduye (“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,”“Pariah”), Molly Hager (“Happyish,” “It’s Kind of a Funny Story”), Michael Gaston (“Blindspot,” “The Leftovers”) and W. Earl Brown (“Deadwood,” “Preacher”).

We caught up with Cornelius to dish about his character Dr. Bryant King, a young internist who had only been at Memorial Hospital for a short time when Katrina hit.

“He was one of the few Black doctors on staff and he wasn’t sure whether he had a voice in the decisions that were being made,” explained Cuse in a statement provided by the studio. “I think that he felt that he was the subject of racial discrimination. And certainly Katrina, in a larger sense, was an event in which racism played a huge part in how things unfolded. Most of the people who were displaced by Katrina were the poor, the disadvantaged, and they were overwhelmingly Black. They lost their houses and they lost their property. They were forced out of the city and a lot of them never came back. It was a seismic event in reshaping the city of New Orleans in many ways.”

 Cornelius Smith Jr.
Cornelius Smith Jr. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Of playing Dr. King, Cornelius said: “He’s trying to help as many people as possible. What I found interesting is that King is seeing pretty much only African Americans shunned from the hospital. He hears radio reports of the police shooting first and not even bothering to ask questions later. There are reports of looting and raping – all to dredge up fear in the people of New Orleans and at various hospitals, including Memorial.“

Check out our conversation via the clip below.

“Five Days at Memorial” will premiere globally on Apple TV+ with the first three episodes on August 12, 2022, followed by one new episode every Friday through September 16.  

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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